Education and Schools in Paris
Paris is home to many of the world’s top-rated schools and educational facilities. Expats placing their children in schools in Paris will find a high-quality and demanding level of education. Public schooling in France is free for expats who can provide proof of residence, and private schools and universities are often subsidised. Non-residents may have to pay tuition fees as the schools are financed through tax.
Schooling in Paris is an official requirement from age six but many parents send their children to school much earlier. The collèges cater for children 11 to 15 years old, with lycées for the 15- to 18-year-olds. The baccalaureate, or le bac, is the finishing diploma for schooling in Paris, and performance in this exam determines access to higher education.
The schooling culture in Paris emphasises academic excellence and usually allows the teacher to preside over their domain with little input from parents. This may be difficult for expats to adjust to, and parents would do well to discuss these differences with their child before they enter into the schooling system.
Private schools in Paris
Private schools can be a good option for expats, especially as many of these provide classes taught in English as well as in French. There are two types of private schools in France; those that have contracts with the government and those that don't. A private school may ease a child's transition into French culture, especially for those from substantially different backgrounds.
Paris is also home to a number of international schools.
Tertiary education in Paris
The French tertiary education system is divided into the grandes écoles and the universities, with the former being more prestigious.
Unlike many other countries, universities in France are specialised rather than general. This means that students choose to attend universities based on their subject choice. For example, the École Polytechnique is an engineering school, while HEC Paris is a business school. The University of Paris is a world-leading tertiary education institution specialising in the humanities.
Public institutions like the Polytechnique have set fees and receive subsidies from the government, so costs are kept low. For private universities in Paris, such as HEC Paris, costs can be significantly higher.