Paris Accommodations FAQ

General Accommodation Questions


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. 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 how to connect to the Internet in their residence. Families 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 make the commute easier 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 may be, 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. As with any relationship, it is a two-way street. Students are expected to put forth effort to interact with the family. This living situation is not akin to a hotel or restaurant.

Yes. All students are provided with their own bedroom. In rare instances, students have their own bathrooms.

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! The French do not always 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. If they cannot be accommodated, you will be placed in a homestay where you will be allowed to cook for yourself.

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. If this is the case, remember to ask permission beforehand from your hosts, and to introduce the student to the host family members when he/she comes over.