Study Abroad Paris
5 Things to Know About Studying in Paris
So, you’ve arrived in Paris to study French. Oui? And while there’s plenty of sightseeing to do and cafés to hang out in between classes, you’ll also be amused or annoyed by the city’s quirks. Here are 5 things you should know about your study abroad Paris experience.
1. Sidewalk Vibe
Did you know it’s common for French people to bump into you when you’re walking along the sidewalk? Parisians would rather look around at something fascinating than watch who’s coming towards them, especially if they sense you’re paying actually attention to where you’re going and will move to avoid them. The advice is to play them at their own game. Give the impression you’re not paying attention, they’ll get the vibe and be more alert. It doesn’t mean you won’t collide, but at least you’ll know it’s not about you, it’s about them.
2. Bicycles are only allowed on the metro on line 1 on Sundays
With Paris so flat, thanks to Napoleon, cycling is a popular way to get around. But you’ll have a hard time taking your bike on board the metro unless it’s Sunday or a public holiday and you’re using line 1. Some suburban RER lines allow bikes at certain times (ie: not peak hour commute times) but check first or you could be hauling your two wheels all the way up those stairs again.
3. Rooftop Shop
Forget the shopping and head straight to the roof. Printemps department store on Boulevard Haussmann has amazing views across Paris. Being able to see the restored, historic Printemps building is worth the trip alone with stunning gold detailing across its domes. If you don’t like history, architecture, or panoramic views, check out the shopping but bring your best Gallic attitude with you.
4. Tricky Travelators
If you were hoping to try out Paris’ high-speed travelator at Montparnasse-Bienvenue Metro, there’s bad news. It’s been shut down and replaced with a conventional walkway. Introduced in 2002, the walkway had a speed of 7 mph that was quickly reduced to 6 mph because walkers kept falling over as they adjusted to the speedier pace. Then the travelator kept breaking down. In 2011, a conventional walkway was put in its place. If moving walkways are your thing, take at look at Charles de Gaulle International Airport that has walkways inside a series of suspended tubes.
5. Meeting Spot
If you’re in the Latin quarter and need to meet someone, the hot meeting spot is Fontaine St Michel. And if your friend is running late, there are plenty of people watching opportunities available to keep you occupied. Other popular Parisian meeting spots include the Opera Bastille stairs or Victor Hugo’s old home, Place des Vosges.