Best university experience in France is likely to be outside of Paris

by Ray Clancy on September 16, 2016

The offspring of expats in France often end up going to a French university and now new research shows that if they want the best experience they should look outside of Paris.

Indeed, Grenoble is the top city in France to study, followed by Rennes in Brittany and then Toulouse, which is down from last year’s top spot.

Grenoble-FranceThe rankings put together annually by L’Etudiant magazine are based on 15 categories and include votes from students. Grenoble came out top for transport links, local initiatives and good employment opportunities.

Grenoble has now been in the top three of these rankings for 10 years and in 2013 was described by Forbes magazine as the fifth most inventive city in the world, was second place last year and third the year before.

Grenoble is also regarded as a top university city for overseas students as it is a large enough city to offer variety but not overwhelming like Paris can be for newcomers. The city is famous for its beautiful location in the French Alps and is regarded as having a great cultural and artistic scene as well as an exciting nightlife while there is also a wide range of winter sports activities.

Famous people who have studied in Grenoble include physicist Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli, who helped discover the Higgs Boson, and Charles Elachi, who directs NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Grenoble is also in the French top 10 in the annual Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings, with the city’s Joseph Fourier University equal sixth with the École Normale Supérieure in Lyon and Paris Descartes University.

In this ranking the best university in France is École Normale Supérieure in Paris, which is regarded as one of the country’s most elite institutions and part of the grandes écoles system which admits only high achieving students, in contrast to France’s other public universities. Some do not regard the grandes écoles as universities as they are highly selective.

France is known for providing affordable higher education. Everyone who passes their high school exam called the Baccalauréat can apply to university in France and many are now teaching degree programme in English and keen to attract foreign students. There are also a number of scholarships available.

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