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24 Hours as an English Student in Paris: A Survival Guide

Kit Sinclair

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Kit gives us a tongue-in-cheek account of the typical day in the life of an Erasmus student in Paris. Read on to follow her day around the French capital!

“‘Paris syndrome’ (n.) - a sense of disappointment exhibited by some individuals when visiting Paris, who feel that the city was not what they had expected.” To help you avoid this unfortunate affliction, our writer clues you in to some of the realities of Parisian living.

10:00 Wake up to the dulcet tones of your alarm. Luckily, class doesn’t start until noon.

10:30 Croissant for breakfast! You thought ahead yesterday and grabbed a pastry on your way home: not quite as soft and tasty as if you’d bought it on the same day, but still excellent. Next, it’s time for a shower - try not to flood your entire apartment this time.

11:30 You’ve established through trial and error that the commute to university takes half an hour. This is not quite as cushy as some of your fellow students who live a 10 minute walk away, but better than those who live on the wrong side of the périphérique (the ring road that encircles the city).

11:40 Time to battle your way through the métro station. Tap your Navigo card on the turnstiles and look disparagingly at the tourists using their paper tickets - you’re a proper Parisian. This sense of superiority is the only highlight of your commute.

12:00 Made it on time to class! Today you’re studying Hamlet (en français, of course). French university classes are 3 hours long, so get as comfortable as you can at your desk.

13:30 Halfway through and you get a 10 minute break, hallelujah! The entire class, including the lecturer, swarms to the coffee machines and picks up an espresso for 50 cents. This is the best deal you have found in the entire city, so follow their lead and grab one for yourself.

15:00 Class is over! Your French classmates invite you to hang out with them afterwards. Everyone smokes here, so expect them to offer you a cigarette. Next follows a spirited debate about the ethics of capitalism. This is a conversation you’d have difficulty with in English, let alone French, so just nod along politely. Ah, la France.

16:00 You want to fit in some culture before dinner, so you brave Châtelet (one of the biggest underground stations in the world) and make a quick visit to the Pompidou. As a visa holder, you can still benefit from the free entry for 16-25 year olds. Take the escalators to the top floor and admire the view over the city - you have yet to get tired of staring at the Sacre Coeur or the Eiffel Tower.

19:00 Meet a friend for dinner at a nearby crêperie. You both opt for the very affordable set menu, which offers a galette, a crêpe and a glass of cidre for €12. Unfortunately, there’s glass in your salad. Try not to swallow it.

20:00 Move on to the popular nearby bar Café Vigouroux for some drinks. The ubiquitous happy hour lasts from 4pm-midnight, and you wonder if anyone has ever bought a full price drink. Cocktails here come in pints, and at such reasonable prices, how could you refuse?

00:30 Realise you should probably get home before the métro closes for the night. In your tipsy haze you have forgotten that there are 7 flights of spiral stairs back up to your flat, and no lift. Merde.


About the Author

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average rating is 3 out of 5, based on 150 votes, Article ratings

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Barbara Dawson

average rating is 3 out of 5

Lovely tasty dish. Try it you won’t be disappointed.

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Aunty Liz

average rating is 3 out of 5

Very tasty and cheap. I often have this for tea!

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average rating is 3 out of 5

Being a bilingual family (French mother and British father,) living in France I thought your article was extremely interesting . Have you research on bilingualism ? It seems that when the mother is British and the father French and they both live in France their children seem to be more bilingual than when the mother is French and the father is British . This is what we called mother tongue , isn't it ?

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average rating is 3 out of 5

Such an interesting article!

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