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Paris Overview

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Academic Objective

The academic objective of the Paris program is to offer students an essential tool for understanding the underpinnings of French culture, language, politics and society. Participants in the program will be able to come to terms with both the myth and the reality of France today, through participation in courses offered in French, in internships, and through ongoing research in French centers of higher learning. During their stay, students will be expected to explore and make good use of all the exceptionally rich resources Paris has to offer.

Academic Prerequisites

Please see the Language Prerequisite page for more detailed information.

Related On-Campus Courses

Please see the list of related on-campus courses for more detailed information.

Directed Readings

Students studying in Paris can arrange a directed reading supervised and evaluated either by a Stanford faculty member who is on the home campus, or by the Stanford Faculty-in-Residence for that quarter. A directed reading may be taken only in addition to twelve units of regular coursework offered directly by the program. A Directed Reading Proposal (PDF) must be submitted to the Bing Overseas Studies Program office at least one month prior to the quarter of intended study.

Course Credit

The Paris Program offers courses that provide credit toward Stanford graduation and most classes also count toward an undergraduate major. Students must enroll in a minimum of twelve units from the courses offered through the program. For a list of all BOSP courses offered in the current academic year and planned for the next, and for information on which courses earn departmental credit or fulfill General Education Requirements, please refer to the BOSP course database. For information on courses scheduled for the current academic year and for enrollment, please refer to Axess.

Coursework at Local Institutions

A number of possibilities exist to attend courses, lectures and seminars outside the Stanford program, as listed below. The scope of these arrangements is limited and you should not rely on this as part of your regular academic program in Paris.

For most arrangements with a local institution, the Director of the Paris program should be informed at least a month before the quarter you are attending if you are interested in this option.

Host Institution

Our host institution, the ISEP, is one of the highest ranking engineering schools in France, best known for its research in digital technologies, and serves as a strong gateway to the international engineering community. In France, it is accredited by the National Engineering Committee (CTI) and the “Conférence des Grandes Écoles”. The school is located in the heart of the left bank of Paris, and its labs, built in the beautiful park of Issy les Moulineaux, not far from the center, are open to our students as well. Every quarter, our students are welcome to participate in exciting ongoing research with students in the fields of Micro and Nanoelectronics & Radio Communications; Signal, Image and Telecommunications; and Research and Development in Information sciences.

For students who are not necessarily engineers, many other means of interaction are encouraged as well: language exchanges with French students within the French classes (but open to everyone) play a major role at the Stanford in Paris Center, and cultural events are offered onsite in the ISEP..

Cultural Events and Trips

You will encounter French culture through field trips, classes and on-site studies that make use of the rich resources of Paris and the surrounding area. Art History classes often meet on-site in churches and museums, and visits include some of the city's most famed monuments: the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame de Paris, Sainte-Chapelle or Versailles.

The Bing cultural enrichment program offered by the Stanford Center in Paris and made possible thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Bing’s generosity, also represents a unique opportunity to discover the French culture. The theater and opera outings permit the students to get to know the most famous Parisian artistic scenes. As per the Bing trip, it is intended both as a cultural enrichment occasion and as a common social gathering for all the students. It represents a unique way to go beyond Paris, and discover the cultural and heritage richness of the various French regions. Destinations change every quarter and in the past have included well-known regions such as Normandy, Provence, or the Loire Valley, as well as key cities such as Bordeaux or Marseille.


Housing options at Stanford in Paris include student residences and homestays. Housing has a significant impact on your experience abroad, and each option has its benefits and drawbacks. While we make every effort to accommodate students' ranked housing preferences, assignments are made based on a variety of factors including documented needs and space availability.  While we cannot guarantee a specific housing choice, we do guarantee placement in program housing.


Students who want to have a unique cultural experience and full immersion in French life should rank the homestays as their first choice. The majority of students will live in homestays.

 Some things to consider:

  • Homestays are a wonderful opportunity to dramatically improve your French and to discover the French and France from the inside out. 
  • There are all forms of host families and in Paris, it's common not only for active individuals with or without children but also for retired couples, single retirees, or single individuals to serve as host families. 
  • Students who live in homestays will live in neighborhoods in all twenty arrondissements of Paris and the immediate suburbs of Neuilly and Boulogne. Commute time from homestays to the Stanford Center range from 20-40 minutes.
  • Students will always be placed in individual rooms but with private bathrooms only when available (otherwise the bathroom may be shared with family members). 
  • The host family will provide 7 breakfast and 5 dinners per week. 
  • Students will receive a 15 euros stipend per day of the quarter to cover for their lunch and 30 euros per weekend to cover for the two dinners not provided by the host family. 
  • Naturally, all students must accept the constraints and responsibilities that such arrangements entail but the experience is well worthwhile.

The student residence may be a good fit for students with special diets and needs (priority will be given to them) and for students who need more independence, and who are willing to work harder to integrate themselves into local communities. There are a limited number of rooms available.

The student residence provides opportunities for students to experience dormitory life in France. 

  • The residence is situated in a safe and quiet residential area of Ivry  (35 min commute), it offers all the conveniences of independent living.
  • Students will have access to an individual studio room with a private bathroom, and a private kitchenette. Students will also have access to common lounging space and kitchen.
  • Students will receive a 35 euros stipend per day of quarter to cover food expenses (5 euros breakfast, 15 euros lunch and 15 euros dinner) 
  • The residence provides more autonomy to students, especially in regards to eating habits however it must be noted that the cultural and linguistic  immersions are not as meaningful as in a host family and that progress in French are also less obvious. 
  • The Residence accepts students based on the availability of their rooms. When there is high demand, the program cannot guarantee this option. 
  • Priority will be given to students whose needs cannot be accommodated in the homestays.