General Accommodation Questions
Stanford students have the opportunity to live in either a homestay or in one of the International Student dorms in Paris (called the Fondation des Etats-Unis).
There are advantages and drawbacks regarding both options. The description below should help you make an informed choice:
Homestays: The Center strongly encourages this option. Living with a carefully selected French family is a privileged form of housing that provides the student with the opportunity to establish personal relationships, to use French regularly and to immerse oneself in French culture and tradition on a daily basis. The family is a valuable resource allowing for true integration into a neighborhood, life in France. Naturally, all students must accept the constraints and responsibilities that such arrangements entail but the experience is well worthwhile. Whenever possible, the housing coordinator will accommodate students' stated housing preferences in the online orientation form. Note that in rare cases, the Center cannot always guarantee the family homestay option.
Fondation des Etats-Unis (International dorms): If you are looking for a more independent lifestyle, the Fondation provides opportunities for students to experience French dormitory life. The Fondation provides more autonomy to students, especially in regards to eating habits. Note that most French students in Paris live at home, so the international dorms are primarily intended for French students from out of Paris and for foreign students. Students should be aware of the fact that the Fondation accepts students based on the availability of their rooms. When they are in high demand, the program cannot guarantee this option.
No. Stanford does not arrange for your stay prior to your scheduled arrival date nor can host families accommodate you before or after the official program dates. Your room will not be ready and available if you arrive at your host family’s home before the program begins. The rooms in the Fondation are also not available before that date. The Paris Center can suggest a list of cheap hotels in Paris, should you be arriving early or leaving late. Please note as well that you cannot arrive late for orientation and must arrive on the scheduled arrival date (no later). In case of an emergency before the beginning of the program, please contact the Center.
The Center asks each host to provide Internet access to the student. The type of connection and the availability of the network however may vary. Students will have to work out with their family members or with the Fondation staff how to connect to the Internet in their residence. Families and the Fondation are responsible for contacting their provider to troubleshoot any malfunction (servicing may take up to 7 days in France).
Living with a French Family
We maintain a network of French hosts carefully selected with the students’ profiles in mind. Hosts come from a cross-‐section of society; they belong to no particular professional or social milieu, but all are carefully chosen and many have hosted American students for several years. Most homestays consist of a two-‐parent household, but some may be single or retired women whose children have grown up and moved out. Students are seldom housed with families with young children, simply because most families with young children live in the suburbs due to the lack of space inside the city limits.
All our hosts live within Paris city limits. The commute one way from your homestay to the Stanford Center should not exceed 45 min from door to door when taking the metro during peak hours, which is considered reasonable by Parisian standards. Our criteria in selecting hosts is not foremost based geography, but above all on their ability to provide a positive atmosphere in the home.
No. While we do need to know the kind of environment most suitable for you (for example, are you sensitive to noise and would you prefer living on a quiet street?), we do not place students according to their preferred neighborhoods. We do, however, insure that students live close to metro stations, to facilitate commuting to and from the Stanford Center.
This is a difficult question to answer. While personality and lifestyle are taken into account when matching students and hosts, the quality and extent of the relationship is unpredictable and will depend on the effort made by each party. No matter what the configuration of the homestay, all enjoy having students live with them and sharing their culture. All families are welcoming but participants are expected to adapt to the traditions and rules of their host family.
Yes. All students are provided with their own bedroom whether in a homestay or at the Fondation. In rare instances, students have their own bathrooms, but in no case will the student have access to cooking equipment. Please note that there may be other international students in the home.
Some of our families have two rooms available. If you clearly state that this is your first priority on the online orientation form, the housing coordinator will take your request into consideration. Please make sure you and your friend both agree on (and that you have the same diet), and desire this arrangement before submitting your online orientation form. On the other hand, if you do not wish to be placed with someone in particular, please mention this as well. Your request will remain confidential.
Bed sheets and towels are provided for. The family is responsible for providing laundry facilities, but it may be up to the student to wash their clothing themselves. In all cases, the student should use dry-‐ cleaning services for any delicate items to prevent damage. The norms are one load of personal laundry per week and change of linen every 2 weeks.
Food is a fundamental aspect of French culture and the idea of sharing a communal meal is strongly valued in France. In France, it is awkward when adults dining together at home do not eat the same food as one another. This is a part of what it means to be a good host to French people.
During your stay, you may encounter foods that you have never previously tried. It is important to sample new foods as a courtesy to your hosts. Indicate that this is your first time trying the food that is being offered, and be respectful if you find it is not to your taste. Who knows, you may be surprised by what you will like! Remember that for most aspects of French life, assimilation is expected. The French find it odd to cater to individual needs. While some restaurants in Paris have become more Americanized as an effect of tourism, you may encounter difficulties when asking for substitutions or changes on menu items.
Please be sure to communicate clearly to both the program (on your application and upon arrival in Paris) and to your host family any food allergies AND their severity (Will eating seafood give you a slight stomachache or will it send you to the hospital?). We take food allergies very seriously.
If you are a vegetarian or if you have any other special dietary needs, we will do our best to place you in homestays where such needs are more readily accommodated. However, most of our host families do not know how to cook vegetarian meals. You need to remember that in France, special diets are uncommon and it may be difficult to stick to a vegetarian or vegan diet. The key to living life to the fullest during your time in France is to stay flexible and adaptable.
No. You will be able to come and go as you wish if this does not interfere with the family’s schedule. (For example, families should not be woken up in the middle of the night, due to doors frequently unlocked and locked in a small apartment). Remember that living in a French family means not only sharing their language, their culture and their food, but also adapting to a new lifestyle and rhythm that are sometimes very different from what you are accustomed to. In any case, you should be courteous and let the family know in advance if you are going to be out late.
No. Overnight guests, including family members, are not permitted.
Yes, under certain circumstances. For example, you can invite a fellow student over at reasonable hours to work on a class assignment together. Remember, if this is the case, to ask permission beforehand from your hosts, and to introduce the student to the host family members when they come over.
Living at the Fondation des Etats-Unis (Unavailable Winter and Spring Quarter 2018-19)
The Fondation des Etats-Unis is one of the 37 residences that make up the International Dorm for Paris University students which is called the Cité Internationale Universitaire. This is a large campus-like area in the 14th arrondissement of Paris, about 20 minutes from the Stanford Center.
No. The Fondation houses some 300 students with a mix of approximately 40% Americans, 50 % French, mostly graduate students, and 10% of other nationalities. As the majority of the students are graduate students, the atmosphere is different from a Stanford dorm; no curfews apply, and students live quite independent lives.
The house offers students 267 individual rooms entirely equipped (bed, desk, chair, armchair and wardrobe). Each student has an independent room. Sheets and blankets are provided for. You will be responsible for providing your own towels. The rooms dedicated annually to Stanford students are all equipped with a mini-fridge, a shower and toilets.
Internet access is provided at the Fondation des Etats-Unis. The Fondation has two equipped computer rooms as well as wifi from your room. Also available for the residents are a library, a reading room, a large lounge, a practice studio, a photographic laboratory, a television room and a game room. The Cité offers cultural activities, student lounges, a swimming pool, and other recreation facilities that will offer you opportunities to meet French people and other visiting students from all parts of the world.
On each floor, there are showers, toilets and entirely equipped kitchens. You should either bring or buy your own utensils if you want to cook. A student cafeteria and a restaurant for all residences are right next door to the Fondation but you will be able to choose whether you eat in these facilities or not.
All the residence halls have coin-operated laundry facilities. Washing costs 3 euros and drying 2 euros. The Stanford program will pay 5 euros per week to cover costs of your laundry.
Yes. Residents may host ONE guest overnight for a maximum of 10 days. All guests must be registered at least 48 hours before the date of arrival of the guest. It is possible to request an extra bed in the room (10€ per night, 3 nights minimum). For guests not requiring an extra bed, the charge is 5€ per night.