Living in Paris




Daily interaction with French culture and the people who make Paris such a dynamic city is an essential part of the study abroad experience.

The Sarah Lawrence College in Paris headquarters at Reid Hall is located between the Luxembourg Gardens and the Montparnasse district, where many artists, writers, and painters have lived and worked. Nearby, students can visit the Latin Quarter, with its beloved Sorbonne and renowned jazz clubs. Experiences with the variety of social and cultural activities Paris has to offer complements students’ academic programs and gives them a deeper understanding of life in France.


The program provides multiple options for housing, depending upon the program in which a student is enrolled.

French Cultural Studies Program

Students are required to live in homestays. Living in a French household offers study abroad students a unique opportunity to engage with the French language and culture. 

Sarah Lawrence College works with the organization Host Families in Paris to provide homestay options.

  • All homestay families live in Paris and have been carefully selected and screened.
  • A housing coordinator matches students and hosts based on compatibility and makes sure privileges and/or conditions of stay (visitors, telephone access, shared meals, laundry, etc.) are agreed upon in advance.
  • The extent and quality of the relationship between the student and host varies depending on personalities, lifestyles, and personal investment into the relationship. 

Students are provided with a single room furnished with a desk and storage space. In most cases, the bathroom is shared with the host family. All students receive a European breakfast each morning and up to five dinners per week.

Advanced Studies Program

Students can choose to live in homestays, secure their own housing, or, if they are full-year students, can live at the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris (Cité U).

Cité U is an international university residence located 15 minutes from Reid Hall by metro. It includes 38 dormitories.

  • Sarah Lawrence students reside in the American House, a multi-national dormitory offering single rooms with communal bathrooms and kitchens on each floor.
  • Rooms include landlines, voicemail, and wireless Internet access.
  • The American House includes a library, computer lab, reading room, and music room.
  • Amenities located on the grounds of Cité U include libraries, cafes, sports facilities, and a restaurant, theater, concert hall, and post office.
  • Cité U also hosts many student clubs, conferences, and cultural activities.

Students are strongly encouraged to choose a Sarah Lawrence-sponsored housing option. The program provides advice about finding apartments in Paris, but students who choose independent living arrangements are solely responsible for their housing and all related costs. Students must secure housing prior to departure for Paris.


Upon arrival in Paris, students begin a two-week orientation period designed to provide the knowledge and skills essential for living and studying in France.

  • Students in the French Cultural Studies Program travel to Tours (Loire Valley) for two weeks, where they have the opportunity to explore the city and visit the region’s spectacular Renaissance castles.
  • Students in the Advanced Studies Program spend a week in Arles (Southeastern France) and discover the Provence Region (Avignon, Camargue). Excursions may also include travel to Marseille, France’s second largest city, or to Aix-en-Provence.

Students in both programs take intensive language courses, live with host families, and learn about the history and culture of the region. Additional activities include conferences on French culture and teaching methods, guided trips in and around Paris, and intensive language study.

Cultural Activities and Excursions

To further students’ understanding of French society and culture, the Sarah Lawrence in Paris program regularly sponsors events and activities, including:

  • Cinema nights
  • Guided tours of cultural and political institutions
  • Opportunities to attend exhibits, lectures, and cultural events
  • Daytrips and excursions in Paris and the French provinces
  • Opportunities to meet French students through dinners, coffee hours, and linguistic partnerships
  • Volunteer opportunities with local organizations