France is one of the most inspiring and popular destinations for studying abroad as it allows international students to obtain unique cultural perspectives and experiences as well as master their academic subjects during their studies at the world’s oldest and most recognized universities.

Many international students prefer studying in France for various purposes: to learn the French language, study arts, history, and architecture with the rich history and culture of the country, pursue science and technology at the most innovative institutions, study economy and business in Europe’s most economical power, and so on.

Depending on what you want to study or what kind of study-abroad experience you desire, you can find many student-friendly cities in France. If you’re curious about the ideal city to study, considering your preferences, this article will be of good use. Read more to learn about the five best cities in France for a degree program.

Top Cities to Study in France for International Students

1. Paris

The top of our list is, without a doubt, Paris, the capital and heart of France. Paris is not only a popular tourist destination but also one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Students from all over the world choose Paris for short-term or long-term study to experience the global center of science, arts, culture, and academia. Hence, opening one’s horizon by visiting countless museums and exhibitions while pursuing world-class education sounds great to many international students.

Several other reasons why international students choose Paris to study are the high number of English-taught programs at some of the oldest universities in the world with fairly affordable tuition fees. Many recognized public universities like Paris Sciences et Lettres University or Sorbonne University require €10,000 per academic year on average for international students from outside EU/EA countries or Switzerland. As for the monthly cost of living in Paris, it’s important to acknowledge that Paris is a cosmopolitan city and has a strong presence in the world, so your expenses can be higher compared to other cities in France.

To indicate the average cost, we think it’s fair to say €1,150 to €1,720 per month, depending on your type of accommodation. The rent is around €400 for shared apartments and €800 for single-bedroom apartments. A monthly pass for transportation costs €73, and food can cost about €10 for fast-food meals and €30 for mid-range restaurants.

2. Lyon

Following Paris, Lyon is considered the second-largest student city in France. Lyon is recognized as the best student city for many reasons: students can enjoy their stay in the capital of gastronomy and vivid nightlife while pursuing their degree programs in various disciplines. Lyon is also a great city for its diverse student population, making it easy for international students to get in touch with people from various cultures and nationalities with the fusion of French culture, language, and history.

There are more than 15,000 foreign students in the city of Lyon. International students considering Lyon to study abroad can expect an average spending of €900, and accommodation costs about €400 to €700, depending on the type of residence you choose. Other essential expenses depend on how the student wishes to live in Lyon, yet the average costs include €120/month for food, €25 for student monthly pass, and leisure activities can take €50 to €100 per month.

3. Toulouse

Located in Southwest France, Toulouse is one of the most popular cities for international students, mainly for its affordability and multicultural student community. About 16% of the university students in Toulouse are international students, and the tuition fees at its public universities are less than other popular student destinations in France.

Toulouse has a unique university system called The Université de Toulouse system, which is the assembly of the three top and oldest universities in the city, named Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III, University Toulouse 1, Capitole, and University Toulouse II – Le Mirail.

The average tuition fee for international students is €400 per semester, yet for private universities, the fees can be remarkably higher. The cost of living in Toulouse is €600 to €900 per month, depending on the student’s budget. Single-room apartments cost around €350/month, and monthly food expenses cost €150 on average.

4. Montpellier

The fourth best city in France on our list is Montpellier, the capital of education. Montpellier hosts the University of Montpellier, one of the oldest universities in the world, with an establishment in 1289. Hosting several other significant universities and being one of the largest cities in France, Montpellier has a large student population.

Living in Montpellier as an international student is exciting and convenient since one-third of the total population encompasses university students, making the city vibrant and colorful. Moreover, Montpellier is a good city to study medicine and related health sciences; the University of Montpellier has the oldest medicine school in the world, and it is still in operation. However, it’s important to note that the majority of programs at the universities in Montpellier are taught in French. Monthly living costs are €700 to €1,000 on average, and accommodation ranges from €300 to €500.

5. Strasbourg

Strasbourg is one of the unique cities in Europe since it is a French city with a strong influence on German culture, history, and language. Hence, the main languages spoken in the city are French, German, and English, which is a great opportunity for international students speaking in any of these languages or needing practice. Strasbourg is also distinguished by its unique local culture, making your stay remarkable in many ways.

While many universities in Strasbourg can have high tuition fees, the average monthly cost of living for international students is €950, including accommodation, which is €400 to €500 per month.


Where you study in France has a significant role in the kind of student life you will experience. You should always consider your desires, expectations, and budget to decide which city in France is ideal for you.


We hope that this article on the Best Cities to Study in France was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe to explore your study options.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.