Monthly Archives: October 2010

Gîtes: A Friendly Twist to Your French Vacation

You have to admit:  you always have a better experience travelling when you get to interact with the locals.  How to do that in France where people value their privacy?  Pass on the hotel and make reservations at a gîte.   A what?  Gîtes are typically found in rural areas and smaller towns:  they can be bed and breakfasts, holiday homes, or even working farms, accommodating 2 to 10 guests.  You may sit down to breakfast with other families or even share dinner with your hosts.    What’s more, even if your French isn’t the greatest, for the most part, gîte owners want their guests to enjoy and value their region, its special sights and treasures, as much as they do, and in my experience, they’ll go the extra mile when it comes to communication.   There’s a gîte for everyone whether your tastes are rustic or deluxe.

To get started, go to the English language reservation site.  I’d recommend clicking on the button that reads “Criteria” that will allow you to be specific about your needs (number of rooms, distance to recreational activities, dinner with your hosts.)   All accommodations are rated according to ears of corn (as opposed to stars) with 5 ears being the highest quality, often in manor houses or chateaux with all kinds of fancy amenities.   Be aware that if you are renting a complete dwelling in the fall and winter months, you will be asked to pay heating charges in addition to the regular rental.  Also most expect payment in cash so be sure to stop by the ATM before you leave Paris.

Moving In

Ksam, who blogs at Totally Frenched Out, previously took us through the steps of finding your perfect Parisian apartment.   Today’s post takes the next step.  Fair warning: this post is not for folks moving from abroad into their first Parisian apartment.  But stick around.  You might learn something.

by Ksam

Step One:  Moving Your Stuff

There are a multitude of moving companies in Paris and across France.  Some of the more well-known ones are Demeco, Les Déménageurs Bretons, and LeDéménageur.com.   Most offer several service packages, going from only moving the boxes from place to place to them doing all of the work (packing, moving and unpacking).   Prices vary widely, so you should shop around and get several different estimates (devis) before making your decision.

There are also several companies, such as demenagerseul.com and  Je-déménage-seul, that cater to those planning on doing everything themselves (or with the help of a few willing friends!).  These firms sell boxes and packing materials and also usually rent moving trucks.

If you’re only in need of a truck (véhicule utilitaire) for the moving portion, here are a few suggestions:

ADA
Avis
Europcar
National/Citer
Rent and Drop

Step Two:  Getting Connected to Your Lifelines

Now let’s talk about are the hook-ups.  You know – electricity, water, Internet, etc.   Those of you already living in France have two options – you can either transfer your account directly if you are moving out of the old place and into the new place on the same day, or you can open an entirely new account and then close the previous one later.

For electricity, contact EDF.  There is an English speaking helpline: 05 62 16 49 08 or you can reach them by e-mail at simpleenergywithedf@edf.fr

For gas, contact GDF.

Water hookups and charges are typically included in your rent.

If you’re like most expats, you are probably concerned with getting Internet set up ASAP in your apartment.  If you don’t have an Internet provider, check out the previous Posted in Paris article on Connecting to the Internet.  But if you already have Internet access and would like to keep the same provider, I strongly recommend seeing if they will keep your current account open all the while opening the new one.  SFR, Bouygues, Free and Numericable all offer this service.

You can help this process along by giving them as much information as possible about your new apartment, including the previous renter’s phone number.  This can be found by plugging any landline phone into the outlet and then dialing any French phone number.  An electronic operator will then give you the previous phone number.  (Tip: review your French numbers before you do this!)  If it turns out there isn’t a phone line set up at your new place, doing it this way will also save you 50 percent of the cost of opening up a new France Telecom line.

Step Three:  Filing Your Change of Address

As far as the French administration is concerned, those of you with a carte de séjour have eight days to inform the préfecture of your new address.  Given that you often need an EDF or France Telecom bill to provide proof of address, it’s not always possible to do so, but make a note to go in as soon as you can.  If you have a French-registered car, you have one month do complete the change of address on your carte grise.

And it doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while the French government actually comes up with an idea to simplify its citizens’ lives.  And this time around, it’s in the form of a Web site: http://www.changement-adresse.gouv.fr/

Once you sign up for this site, you will be able to inform all of the following government organizations of your move with just a few simple clicks:

  • EDF
  • GDF
  • Pôle Emploi (unemployment services)
  • Tax authority
  • CAF (benefits service)
  • L’assurance santé (health benefits)

At the end, you will also have the option of signing up for mail-forwarding with La Poste.  If you choose not to do it here, you can also do it in person at your nearest post office, or online at http://reexpedition.laposte.fr/.  Expect to pay 23€ for six months, or 41€ for one year of forwarding.

La Poste also offers something called “Le Pack Ma Nouvelle Adresse”.  This special package offers several pre-stamped envelopes so that you can inform businesses of your move, as well as pre-written letters you can use to inform various agencies (EDF, insurance, etc) of your new address.  (These could be particularly useful for those with a low level of French).  In addition, you’ll get 10 “I moved – take note!” post-cards, as well as a  moving guide with moving tips and timelines.  Lastly, they also include coupons with special offers from their partner companies offering discounts on moving boxes or moving quotes, etc.  The cost for this service is 34€ for six months or 52€ for one year.

Here is a brief list of other companies you may also want inform:

  • bank branch
  • mobile phone company
  • mutuelle (health insurance)
  • insurance company
  • your employer
  • magazines/newspapers subscriptions
  • any stores where you have loyalty cards
  • any businesses in your home country using your French address

And the very last thing to do:  send out the invitations for your pendaison de crémaillère  (housewarming party)!

Paris Supermarket Souvenirs

Ellise Pierce, otherwise known to foodies as the Cowgirl Chef , is a Texan transplanted in Paris.  Although she hasn’t given up her love for cowboy boots and Tex-Mex cooking, she also writes lovingly about the cuisine and quirks of her adopted home town. 

Her recent post, Paris Supermarket Souvenirs, unearthes the culinary treasures that can be found in a typical Parisian supermarket.  (She refers to her own neighborhood store as “the stinky stinky Franprix.”  And yes, she still shops there.)  No Fauchon, Hediard or La Grande Epicerie for this gal.  Just eleven must buy items that a) make great gifts for folks back home and b) you should try out yourself, that is, if you haven’t already discovered these classics.

Ellise’s list includes:

  1. Mousse-worthy chocolate
  2. Drinking and baking chocolate
  3. Sea salt
  4. Piment d’Espelette
  5. Nut oils
  6.  Tuna in olive oil
  7.  Sugar
  8. Real French mustard
  9. Lentilles du Puy
  10. Powdered veal stock
  11. Speculoos paste

For all the details (including pictures with brand names), go to Ellise’s blog.   Bon shopping y’all.

Friend or Foe? How to Cope when the French Get Feisty

Today’s post and photos originally appeared on the HIP Paris Blog and is reposted here with permission.  The author is Tory Hoen.  An avid traveler and writer, Tory is relentless in her search for Paris’ hippest (and most delicious) secrets. Late night, she can be found lounging in various Right Bank hotspots, and by day, you’ll find her doing deals with the green grocers on the rue Mouffetard. Tory splits her time between Paris, New York, and Montreal, but when not in Paris, she’s always scheming about ways to go back.

by Tory Hoen

Paris Cafe Waiter B&W

French café and waiter … unfortunately not always famous for their friendliness. Dolarz

We’ve all heard something to the effect of, “Paris would be perfect, if it weren’t for the French.” I usually laugh these comments off as clichés that hark back to an earlier age, when France was more culturally closed than it is now. We all know that today’s French are as affable as kittens… or are they?

During my days in Paris, my opinion of Parisians vacillated constantly. One moment, I was pleasantly surprised by the (maybe too) friendly feedback I would get from taxi drivers, “Your accent is so charming, you should stay in France forever”; and the next, I was smarting from the evil looks cast by super-stylish French salesgirls, whose foreigner radar always seemed to seek me out.

French waiter, smiling and ready for your order! Flequi

There’s really no point in generalizing about whether the French are “nice” or “mean.” It’s like asking whether clowns are funny or terrifying. The answer? Both.

Grumy French Man Snow

Nice or Mean?  Alex E. Proimos

It’s a nuanced world, especially in Paris. During my last visit, I was in a bakery when an obviously non-French girl was attempting to order a flan. The woman behind the counter asked what kind.

Nature (plain),” said the girl.
Il n’y a plus. Que d’abricot (There’s no more, only apricot),” said the saleswoman.
Nature,” repeated the girl, not understanding.
Abricot,” insisted the saleswoman.
Nature.”
Abricot.”
This went on for a full minute, with the French saleswoman refusing to budge, despite knowing that the poor flan-craving girl in front of her had no idea what was going on. Finally, she basically flung an apricot flan at the girl and sent her packing.

Sometimes, the French are just like that; they make things difficult just for the sake of being difficult. (Because when it’s not difficult, it’s boring).

Therefore, your happiness in Paris may come down to your ability to “manage” the French. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when things (or individuals) get prickly:

Paris Child Boy Smiling Birds

Smiling in Paris – if a child can do it, so can you. Alexandre Duret-Lutz

  1. Speak French. Even if you don’t speak French, learn some basic phrases and always lead with them. A little effort (no matter how poorly accented) can make all the difference between charming a Parisian and alienating one.
  2. Try smiling. This may catch your average Parisian off-guard, which can work to your advantage.
  3. If the smile backfires, try scowling. (A well-executed scowl is tantamount to speaking French, anyway).
  4. Look like you know what you’re doing. If you’re in a store or a market, browse and buy with confidence. Appearing to have discerning tastes and conviction will earn you respect.
  5. Don’t take “no” for an answer. The French person’s default answer is usually “no,” even when they could just as easily say “yes.” Whether you’re requesting a restaurant reservation, a smaller (or, um, bigger) size, or the last table on the terrasse, don’t let an initial negative answer put you off. Persist (with polite assertiveness) and doors may just open.
  6. And above all, don’t take anything personally. Sometimes you’ll end up feeling like an idiot without knowing why, simply because some French person is in a pissy mood. Take it with a grain of salt (good French sea salt).

And remember that, fundamentally, the French kind of like you—even if they act like they hate you. There’s an age-old tradition of loving to hate-to-love-to-hate-to-love-to-hate foreigners, especially Americans. But now that I’m in New York and hearing French on every other street corner, I realize they can’t hate us that much (try as they might to pretend they do).

Paris Pas Cher

Paris may not be the most expensive place to live as an expat (I think the honors go to Moscow) but it sure ain’t cheap.  But if you are clever and patient, there are bargains to be had.  Here are just a few ideas for enjoying the Parisian lifestyle when you’re counting your centimes.

Vente-Privee.com:  If you’ve got a hankering for designer clothes but not the budget, sign up for e-mail notifications from this on-line site.  You will get e-mails when a promotion is on.  Move quickly to make your purchase before stocks are depleted.   The offers are frequent (sometimes more than one a day) and the range is wide.  For example, this week, you can take advantage of sales on Longchamp bags and Hector & Lola cashmere sweaters.  In addition to clothes, the site also offers deals on shoes, wine, household items, beauty products, and even toys.

La Fourchette:  You can use La Fourchette to make restaurant reservations but the real reason to use it is to take advantage of the special promotions:  up to 50 percent off the bill, a glass of champagne, dessert, etc.   You can sign up to receive the offers in your e-mail or opt out of the e-mails and just use the site when it suits you.    You won’t find the hottest new restaurants here (as they can fill up tables without the extra promotion) but if you cross reference the good buys with restaurant reviews, you can enjoy a good meal at sharply reduced prices.

Groupon:  I haven’t used this site but here’s the information as reported by Ksam, author of Totally Frenched Out

The way it works is they negotiate some pretty great deals with companies all over France and then they publish them on their Web site (or you can choose to receive their daily e-mails). If enough people decide to participate, the “deal” is validated and they e-mail you your gift certificate. There are several ways to pay – I usually use PayPal.  FYI: The payment is only taken from your account if the deal is validated.

Here are a few that I’ve chosen – a massage + foot reflexology for 18€ instead of 50€, a 36€ gift certificate for the Happy Days Diner for 18€, a 15€ gift certificate for Jeff de Bruges chocolate for 7€, etc. Plus a surprise for C for our anniversary, but more about that later….

Groupon is available all over France, not just in Paris, so feel free to check out their site.  And if you do decide to sign up, it’d be great if you could do it through my parrainage link here.

And don’t forget the Web site of the guide book Paris Pas Cher.   While it’s not as extensive as the guide itself (which is available in pretty much every book store in town), it is free!

What are your favorite Paris deals?

Finding an Apartment in Paris

by Ksam

Congratulations!  You’re ready to start apartment hunting in Paris. It may seem obvious, but before you start looking, you need to figure out what exactly it is you’re looking for.  

Location, location, location.  Most people usually have a general idea about where they want to live,  choosing, for example, the chic quality  of the 5th or the 6th arrondissement, the bohemian 20th, the up-and-coming 10th or the low budget 18th and 19th?  It is a good idea to visit your target quartier at different times of the day, in order to get a feel for the neighborhood and whether or not you think you’d feel comfortable and safe living there. 

Apartment essentials.  Make a list of what you are looking for in an apartment.  With competition for apartments high, the chances that you will find THE perfect apartment are slim.  So make sure you know which items on your list are absolute must-haves and which you might be willing to give up  Would you take a 6th floor walk-up if it had everything else on your list?  Or would you be willing to consider a smaller apartment if it was exactly where you wanted to live?  Items to consider include overall size, number of bedrooms, storage space, access to sunlight, modernity of bathrooms, and the amount of work needed to get the apartment up to your standards. 

Pay attention to the calendar.  August is generally the most difficult time to look for an apartment because many agencies shut down for the month and  the owners are typically on vacation.  That said, September and October are often the most competitive because of all the students looking for housing.  May and June are usually good months because the school year is almost over and a lot of people are moving out. 

Assemble your dossier. While there is no standard list of items to include in a dossier, plan on pulling together these items: 

  • a copy of your ID card or your passport;
  • a copy of your work contract specifying type and length as well as date of hire;
  • a letter from your employer stating you are currently employed there;
  • your last three pay slips (as a general rule, they like you to earn at least three times your rent);
  • your last two tax returns;
  • your last electricity bill which provides proof of address;
  • proof you’ve paid your rent for the last three months; and
  • relevé d’identité bancaire (RIB) which provides your banking details.

Finally, French law requires that you show proof of housing insurance.  Common events covered by this insurance includes: a percentage of capital and valuables; legal costs incurred when personally liable or when claiming against a third party; civil liability; fire; explosion and related risks; weather-related risks (water damage); attacks on the building and acts of God; theft and vandalism to set amounts; broken windows. 

If you’re just moving to France and you have a package of benefits provided by your employer that includes housing, a letter of attestation from your employer that your salary and benefits are sufficient to cover the rent may take the place of some of these documents. 

Why so many documents?  French law makes it extremely difficult for owners to remove tenants thus the owner is almost always going to pick the safest bet.   As a foreigner, you are probably not considered the safest bet.  Thus you will want to do everything in your power to show that they will not be taking a risk by renting to you.  This could include writing a letter as to why you think you are the perfect locataire for this apartment. Or if you have already rented in France, you could ask your previous landlord if they would write a letter vouching for you.  

And what’s this garant I keep hearing about?  Because it’s so hard to kick someone out of an apartment, many landlords will ask you for a garant, or a co-signor, that is, someone in France who will agree to pay your rent in the case you don’t.  This can also be called a caution solidaire.   If you have a salary at least three times the monthly rent, a garant may not be required.  Given astronomically high rents in Paris, this can be tough.  In that case, there are a few options to secure a garant even if you know next to no one.  One is to ask your bank to be your garant.  This usually involves you putting at least one year’s rent into an account.  (Yikes, I know).  Second, if you are employed by a French company, check with your comité d’entreprise.  Many have lending schemes to help their employees with this exact problem.   Finally, you may want to consider using something called Garantie Loca-Pass, in which this particular company will act as your garant.  Be warned though that not all agencies or owners accept this method.    

Starting the search.  There are several ways to go about finding an apartment.  You can go through a rental agency, find something online, or try the word-of-mouth method.  

Rental agencies (see below) have the advantage of having someone else do the hunting for you.  Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still have to go from agency to agency (and maybe on several occasions), but at least a lot of the legwork will have been done for you.  While the charges are high (usually the equivalent of one month’s rent), you may find it to be worth it if your phone French isn’t that great or you don’t have a ton of time to find a place. Keep in mind that a rental agent who has taken a liking to you can also put in a good word for you with the owner. 

Given the high cost of going through a rental agency, the market for online rentals (see list below) is quite competitive.  You may have heard horror stories of people calling 10 minutes after an ad was posted only to find out it had already been rented. Or showing up to visit an apartment only to find out there are 40 other people there, all with dossiers a million times better than yours.  

So what can you do?  My best advice is to look early and look often.  Most Web sites offer an alerte email service that allows you to enter your criteria and receive an e-mail whenever a corresponding ad is posted.   Take note that  some of these sites send out e-mails once per day or once per week, which means the good apartments will be long gone by the time you come across them. 

The word-of-mouth method is probably the cheapest method, but also the hardest, especially for new arrivals who don’t have a network in France.  There are a few ways to go about it though – you could consider posting ads on the various expat forums, contacting some of the more well-known expat groups (such as Message), or stopping by the American Church in Paris on a regular basis.  It may not be the easiest place to get to, but the ACP has a bilingual bulletin board that is updated daily around 2pm with new housing offers.  Along the same vein, you can also try the American Cathedral in Paris

Another tip is to take a look in the local bakery or supermarket when you’re buying that fresh baguette.  The people who work in these places are often aware of available apartments in the area, or will at least allow owners to put up an ad near the door. 

Okay, my dossier is finally ready.  Bring on the visits!   Here are some questions to ask the agent or owner, either before or during the visit. 

  • How much is the deposit?
  • How much is the rent?
  • Are there any monthly building charges on top of the rent?
  • What kind of heating does the apartment have?
  • Do you have an idea of how much the last renter paid for electricity? Gas? Water?
  • How much is the taxe d’habitation (an annual housing tax)?
  • Will I be reimbursed for any improvements made? (paint, etc.)
  • Do you accept pets?
  • What floor is it on?  Is there an elevator? 
  • Does it include any appliances?
  • What kind of storage does it have?
  • Is there are parking spot or a cave (a basement storage space, typically with a dirt floor)?
  • Does the apartment appear to be clean and well-maintained?
  • If there is a hot water heater, are you expected to pay for annual maintenance?
  • What is the water pressure like?  (Test this one yourself!)
  • What kind of light does it get?
  • How secure is the building?  Is there a concierge?
  • What are the nearby methods of transportation?
  • Where is the closest grocery store/post office/pharmacy?
  • If you have children, what are the neighborhood schools like?

Signing the lease:  The first thing to do is to celebrate!  (Actually, maybe you shouldn’t celebrate until you have the keys in your hand…).  So go in and sign that contract but first check the fine print. The lease agreement must include the following: 

  • the owner’s name and address and that of their agent (if using an agency);
  • a description of the property (number of rooms, garage, garden, cellar);
  • the date on which the contract starts;
  • the duration of the contract;
  • amount of the deposit;
  • rental amount and terms of revision/increase; and
  • declaration of common areas. 

The owners are also required to provide you with a copy of the DPE (diagnostic de performance énergétique), the building’s energy performance report.  This report details the energy efficiency of the building, as well as the risk of exposure to lead poisoning. 

Note that the average contract length for an unfurnished rental is three years.  You don’t necessarily need to stay for the entire three years, but if you leave early, you must give at least three months’ notice by registered mail.  The three month period is reduced to one month if you lose your job and can no longer afford the apartment, or if you have to move to another region or country for your job. 

As for how to pay, most places will give you the choice between paying by check every month or paying by direct withdrawal.  If you prefer the latter, make sure you have either already given them your RIB or that you come equipped with one to the meeting. 

L’état des lieux:  The next step is the état des lieux, literally meaning “the state of the place”.  And what an important step this is.  During the état des lieux, you will go over the apartment with a fine toothed comb.  It is in your best interest to point out even the smallest defects because if they’re not noted when you move in, they might be when you move out and you will be held responsible.  So go ahead and point out every single hole in the wall, cracks in the paint or scratches on the floor or windows. Prepared renters will come armed with a camera in order to have physical proof of the apartment’s condition when they moved in.  You may also want to bring your phone charger so that you can test all of the outlets. And don’t forget to make sure the water faucets and the shower work, as well as the heaters if possible. 

One thing to note is that the état des lieux can be amended after you move in if you happen to notice other things not initially noted.  This must be sent by registered mail however, and the sooner the better! 

Once that’s accomplished, you’re finally ready to move in.  Stay tuned for Part II in which we provide tips on moving and all the additional steps involved in making your rental your home. 

RESOURCES
 
Rental Agencies 

Century 21
FNAIM 
La Fôret 
Orpi 
Foncia  
Guy Hoquet 

English Language Sources for Rental Ads

AngloInfo:  Mostly short-term rentals, although you can sometimes find longer term rentals on this site
Craig’s List:   A word of caution about Craig’s List.  There are some legitimate deals to be had here, but also scams a plenty.   Be wary of any ad offering to mail you the keys after you send them a wire transfer.
FUSAC:  Not all of the ads are listed online, so pick-up a hard copy if you want access to all of the housing offers.
Paris Voice

Other Sites with Real Estate Announcements

Appartager: For people looking for roommates
De Particulier a Particulier : Rentals by owner
Seloger

For Students and Interns in Paris

Campus France 
Centre d’Information et de Documentation Jeunesse
Centre Régional des Oeuvres Universitaires et Scolaires  de Paris (CROUS)
Centres Internationaux de Séjour de Paris
 
FIAP

Rental Vocabulary

Abbreviation French English
F1, F2, T1, T2   F stands for houses, T stands for apartments. The number equates to a living room PLUS the number of bedrooms (that is, the kitchen and bathrooms are not counted).  For example, T3 would be a two bedroom apartment
  A Louer; Location offre For rent
Appt. Appartement Apartment
Part. Particulier For rent by owner
Prop. Propriétaire Owner
Loc. Locataire Renter / lessee
  Depôt de garantie Deposit
  Loyer Rent
C.C Charges comprises Includes building charges (and sometimes garbage removal fees or water) 
  Honoraires d’agence Agency fees
  Logement vide Unfurnished apartment
  Logement meublé Furnished apartment
G.S. Grand standing Luxury apartment or home
Séj Séjour Living room
Ch. Chambre Bedroom
Sdb. Salle de bain   Bathroom, usually with a tub
  Salle d’eau Bathroom with shower only
WC Toilettes Small room with just a toilet, sometimes a sink
Chem. Cheminée  Fireplace
  Cuisine intégrée   Kitchen has cupboards and countertops
  Cuisine équipée  Kitchen has some appliances, such as stove or refrigerator
  Cuisine américaine  Kitchen opens out onto the living area
  Cave  Wine cellar area in basement, typically with dirt floor
  Chambre de bonne Maid’s room (typically on a separate floor)
RDC Rez-de-chaussée  First floor (USA), Ground floor (UK)
  1er étage  Second floor (USA), First floor (UK)
  2eme étage   Third floor (USA), Second floor (UK)

 

Ksam never really had any desire to live in France, but seven years on and she’s still here. If you catch her on a good day, she may even admit she likes it. (Moving from Brittany to Paris helped).  She splits her time between traveling around France for her very-random-yet-enjoyable job and her apartment in the 15th. You can follow her adventures at Totally Frenched Out.

Parlez Vous? Formal Instruction in French Language

While you can get by in Paris without speaking French (particularly if you speak English), it’s not a strategy I’d recommend.  You will be constantly frustrated, both by your inability to fully understand what is going on around you and your inability to say what needs to be said.   And the people with whom you are trying to communicate will get crabby too.  So do yourself a favor, even if you think you have no talent for languages, and make an effort. 

In the city of Paris, every mairie (town hall for the arrondissement) offers some kind of instruction for French language learners.  These vary in their intensity and quality; what they do have in common is they tend to be close to your home and the fees are quite reasonable.  The downside is that the instruction is variable and the classes often quite large. These sessions fill up quickly so don’t mess around once you figure out when registration will take place. 

There are dozens of options in Paris for language learners.  Here are a few that seem to pop up on everyone’s list. As always, leave a comment if you have information to share about these or other programs.

Alliance Francaise
101, boulevard Raspail
75006 Paris
Rolling enrollment; options range from 4 to 20 hours per week.

Ecole PERL
6, rue Spinoza
75011 Paris
Standard and intensive courses with class size limited to 15 students; rolling enrollment with courses starting throughout the year.

French As You Like It
Private French lessons focused on learning grammar and vocabulary for practical everyday purposes.  Learn the French you need for business or to go to the market.  Private and semiprivate (up to 4 students) offered for children as well. 

Institut Catholique de Paris
21, rue d’Assas
75006 Paris
A wide range of French language programs are offered on a traditional academic calendar, although there are also intensive short courses.

Institut de Langue Française (ILF)
3, avenue Bertie-Albrecht
75008 Paris
A variety of courses offered at all levels including private instruction and special courses for kids.  Standard courses are 10 or 20 hours per week with courses beginning the first of each month; classes limited to 15 students.

Institut Parisien
27, boulevard des Italiens
75002 Paris
General courses are for 15 or 20 hours per week with workshops also offered in conversation, phonetics, and written French.  One on one instruction is also available as is a special program for au pairs.

Lutece Langue
23, boulevard Sebastopol
75001 Paris
Intensive and standard courses with start dates every Monday.   This school also offers short courses for those whose schedules do not permit them to attend regular classes as well as private and semi-private tutoring. 

Paris Langues
30, rue Cabanis
75014 Paris
Small group instruction at range of levels with new courses starting each month; courses range from 2 weeks to 9 months.

Sorbonne
16 bis rue de l’Estrapade
75005 Paris
The Sorbonne’s courses in French language and civilization are suitable for levels from beginner to advanced.  There are a lot of options in terms of intensity, time of day, and focus.

Verlaine Langue
18, rue Martin Bernard
75013 Paris
Small group (no more than 6 students) with instruction daily (1.5 hours per day) and the expectation that you will complete 1.5 hours of homework daily.  Courses start every Monday.  No advanced courses.

Deciphering Acronyms Used by French Language Programs

CECR : Cadre Européen Commun de Référence
CERT: Certification
CFTJ : Club Français du Tourisme des Jeunes
CIDJ : Centre d’Information et de Documentation Jeunesse
CIJP : Centre International des Jeunes à Paris
CIEP : Centre International d’étude Pédagogique
DALF : Diplôme d’Approfondissement de la Langue Française
DELF : Diplôme d’étude en Langue Française
ECTS: European Credit Transfer System
FLE : Français Langue Étrangère
TCF : Test de Connaissance du Français
TEF : Test d’Évaluation du Français

Special thanks to Maureen Bartee for collecting much of this information.