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Student residences at the Sorbonne

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Is anyone familiar with the student residences at the Sorbonne? My husband and I (mid-40's) are thinking of studying French at the Sorbonne for the month of July. Student residences are available or we could make alternative arrangements. I usually like the "homestay" programs offered by language schools, but for a month-long program (as opposed to a one or two week program), I'm thinking the residences might offer us greater independence. Of course, we'd lose out in other ways; it's always a compromise. Any opinions would be welcome.

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    If I were going for a month to study, I'd like the privacy and kitchen facilities that an apt would offer. Just returned from a trip to Paris and rented a great apt from I was very pleased with the apt and their service. They have some very reasonably priced studios if you are on a tight budget.

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    yes, I'm familar with them and stayed in one once which was somewhat disgusting (noisy, ugly, dark and dirty). The student residences at Cite Universitaire (I assume that's where you are talking about) vary greatly depending on the one you are in. It's sort of interesting, but the foreign dorms are partially or wholly built by the country so the rich countries have much nicer dorms than the poor ones. Norway, Japan, etc, have nice ones. I was in the House of India which was not very nice at all. The Spanish one is pretty nice, I've been in there, but the rooms vary a lot--the larger ones for couples are nicer. I like that dorm a lot, it even has a cafeteria whereas most do not. So it really depends where you are. If you are put in the US dorm (as most American students are if you sign up on your own with Sorbonne), that one is ok but not terrific. It's a very convenient location as it's about the closest to the RER stop, on the other hand, the RER actually runs right under it so if you are on a lower floor it can be noisy I've heard, which is why I didn't move there. They have a web site but you can't really tell what the rooms are like. Are you doing this yourself or going through some intermediary? I wasn't aware the Sorbonne had homestays, that's why I asked. If you go thru some program, they will be renting some dorm for use of their students so you should find out which one it is as it may not be the nicest (that's how I got stuck in House of India). I wouldn't ever do a homestay because I wouldn't want to stay with strangers and I would want my privacy and independence. Also, people who do that do it for the money, obviously, and often are out in the suburbs, not even in central Paris. They may be nice but probably you are regarded just as a boarder, don't expect a cozy family experience necessarily and it may involve long commutes. If you can afford it, I would also rent an apt but they will be expensive, otherwise I'd do the student residence thing. I've also studied at the Catholic University in Paris (L'institut Catholique de Paris on rue d'Assas) and their student residences are wonderful, much nicer than the Sorbonne (but I don't think they allow couples, not sure).

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    I have studied the very good "Cours de civilisation et langue francaise) at the Sorbonne. You find good advice directly in a special office at the Sorbonne. I stayed for a while at the "Foyer des Etudiantes" at Boulevard St.Michel. It was a very nice place to live,near to the Sorbonne,Metro and Quartier Latin-certainly not the Hilton but pleasant. Later I moved to tthe Cité universitaire.As the previous statement I can agree that quality of the houses differs widely.I lived at Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe which is a pretty group of tudorian houses with a kitchen in every floor. The Cité is quite near to the city . Only disadvantage: if you live in the Cité you might speak to much english,since you will find plenty of non-french people. If you really want to dive into french life and want to be forced to speak french you should find something else. Some friends lived in flats and enjoyed this a lot-the prices vary depending by area but were still ok.

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    Thank you for the excellent advice. The organization I usually use to book my language adventures is NRCSA (National Registration Center for Study Abroad). The information they provide for the Sorbonne program is as follows:

    "This program is organized by A.C.T.E.-International in collaboration with the Centre Experimental d'Etude de la Civilization Francaise associated with the Sorbonne University of Paris . . . [and] has been funning for more than 60 years . . ."

    The summer accommodations are in one of the two CISP (Centre International de Sjour de Paris" Halls of Residence: Kellerman or Ravel (located in southern Paris); or at the CIUP (Cite International Universitaire de Paris).

    I believe Christina and Reinhard's comments refer to th CIUP residences. I will definitely ask questions of NRCSA if I decide to take the Sorbonne program. Is anyone familiar with the Kellerman or Ravel residences?

    One of the things that appealed to be about the residences was the idea that I would be living with students from all over the world. As much as I like my fellow Americans/Canadians, I'm looking for a more diverse cultural experience. If they separate students by nationality and stick them in separate residences, I think I'll choose another program!

    The other alternative I am considering is the E.L.F.E. program (Ecole de Langue Francaise pour Etrangers), which does arrange homestays. I have done several homestays in Mexico so I have an idea of what to expect. I wouldn't want to commute an hour each way though, so a 2-star hotel or an apartment might be another good alternative.

    I realize I'm being long-winded, but I figure the more detail I provide, the more likely someone is to have just the information that makes my trip go as planned.

    Thanks again for the valuable insights!

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    I attended the program at E.L.F.E. for 2 weeks several years ago. They do arrange homestays, but will also arrange hotel accommodations for you in nearby 2 and 3 star hotels if you prefer. I opted for the hotel accommodations because I prefer the privacy, as Christina mentioned. Some of my classmates did stay with local families arranged by the school. The locations seemed to vary quite a bit. One student was living with an older woman in a Paris apartment, while another was living with a family in Versaille. I don't know how much flexibility you have in requesting to be placed in a residence in the city since I didn't go for this option, but if this is your preference, you should make it clear when you register so that you don't end up with a long commute every morning from somewhere outside the city like Versaille.

    In addition, two of my other classmates who were college students from Milan, opted for student housing on Bld. Raspail. I assume they arranged this on their own rather than through E.L.F.E.

    If I had it to do over again, knowing a little more about Paris now than I did then, I would probably opt for an apartment-hotel type accommodation for a stay of several weeks, so that I would have my own kitchen facilities at my disposal.

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    Thanks, Jayelle and previous posters. From your comments, I'm leaning toward the apartment idea. Before I finalize my decision, is anyone familiar with the Kellerman or Ravel Halls of Residence (CISP, Centre International de Sjour de Paris?"

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    Yes, I was referring to CIUP. I have never heard of that program name ACTE-International but I gather it's a middleman between Sorbonne and you, so they are adding on their own fees I'm sure. I did that kind of thing once, nothing wrong with it, but you do pay more than if you just signed up with the Sorbonne on your own. Generally, they put students in their home country dorm at CIUP if you have signed up with the Sorbonne on your own. As I said, if you go through some program as intermediary, that program will probably be renting part or all of a dorm for their program so the dorm could consist of only students in that program (which may be international, of course--the program I signed up through (AIFS)had various nationalities but most were American and Canadian). You'll be around a variety of students in your classes, of course--but that was one reason I preferred the other school I went to (Institut Catholique) as the residence halls did not segregate you by nationality, and I did meet a wider variety of people from various nationalities there--the students in general were more diverse than at the Sorbonne, also. Regardless, I think you will meet a wider variety of people than you would doing a homestay which would make it more difficult to meet others, I would think. One nice thing about the dorms was because there was some variety of students, French could be the only common language so you had to converse in that with some others. There are a lot of language programs in Paris; one good one is by Institut Parisien and they have a variety of housing options ( They have some residence hotels which do include kitchenettes. I think Accord is supposed to be ok but the residences you mention belong to them, I think (Kellerman and Ravel)--I don't know anything about them except from the web, they are functional modern buildings without kitchenettes, it appears, really on the outer edges of Paris. I would not want to stay in one, I think you can get something similar if you want but closer in (ie, has a good location in Montparnasse). Those Ravel/Kellerman buildings are not in as good a location as Cite Universitaire IMO; if you got a decent dorum at CIUP, it could be nicer. Mine did have sort of kitchen facilities on the floor, but not very nice ones, I only used the hot plate in morning to make coffee (don't think they had frig). If you can afford an apt, I would go with that; it will be a lot more expensive than those residence halls, that's for sure, but since there are two of you, maybe only $40-$60 more per day, depends on your budget (I'm guessing those residence halls are costing you about $30 each per day). If you try to get an apartment from a private owner, that could be very doable at a reasonable rate, but the agencies charge a lot (even in outer arrondisements, I'd guess $100-125/day minimum). If money isn't a problem, I would find an apt.

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