Step 7

Settling in

Welcome to France !

Here is some practical information that will prepare you for your first days in France.

France, the Practical Settling in Reims, Rouen, or Paris VISIT YOUR FUTURE CAMPUS OFII Procedure Healthcare in France CAF Housing Allowance

Welcome to France !!

France, the Practical

In Short : The French Republic is one of the founding members of the European Union. It is also one of the world’s top six economies. Metropolitan France (France in Europe) has a population of slightly over 64 million.

Cost of living

The cost of living in France is fairly similar to neighbouring countries, though some things (like supermarket food) may be more expensive. Staying in Paris can be expensive – as can staying on the Riviera, particularly during the peak tourist periods. On the other hand, fruit, wine, travel, hotels and restaurants tend to be cheaper particularly in rural areas, and there are plenty of ways of avoiding tourist traps.


Good news ! No obligation to tip at restaurants or bars in France. Nothing prevents you from tipping if you think that the service was exceptional, or if you simply want to get rid of some change. It may be a real cultural shock for you, but don’t feel too bad. It is really OK not to tip !

January 1st New year’s Day Jour de l’an
April 18th Easter Monday Lundi de Pâques
May 1st Labour Day Fête du Travail
May 8th Victory in Europe Day Victoire 1945
May 26th Ascension Day Ascension
June 5th Whit Monday Pentecôte
July 14th Bastille Day Fête Nationale
August 15th Assumption Day Assomption
November 1st All Saints’ Day Toussaint
November 11th Armistice Day Armistice 1918
December 25th Christmas Day Noël


French standard time is +2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Don’t be confused as France has Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October. It’s wise to keep this in mind if you have classes on those days.


Foreign visitors in France are sometimes surprised to find themselves faced with closed doors, on reaching a museum or a famous monument. So it is not a bad idea, before visiting France, to learn what is closed in France, and when? On Sundays, public holidays and holiday periods in general, shops, museums, businesses and public services may be closed. Museums are often closed on Tuesdays.


  • To call a French number from an International phone: 

Dial: 0033 (or + 33 from a mobile phone) + the number after removing the first zero 

For example, to call the Reims Campus: 03 26 77 47 47 becomes 0033 3 26 77 47 47 or +33 3 26 77 47 47 

  • To call a French number from a French phone: 

Dial the 10-digit numbers, including the first zero. 

  • To call an international number from France: 

Dial: 00 + Country Calling Code + number 


The voltage in France is 220 Volts and the plugs are identified by two round pins spaced 19mm apart, with a hole for the socket’s male grounding pin.

If the electricity system is different from what you have in your country, we recommend you to bring plug adapters and/or voltage converters with you or buying them once in France.

In average, the French dedicate about 300€/month to food expenses. Of course, this value varies depending on the city you are living in, and your personal habits. Overall, everyday life cost is slightly more expensive in Paris.
Here are the average prices of a few base products:
• a baguette: 1 Euro;
• a croissant: 1.10 Euros;
• 1 kg of pasta: 1.50 Euros;
• 1 litre of milk: 1.20 Euros;
• 6 eggs: 1.50 Euros;
• a coffee in a bar or restaurant: 2 Euros;
• a meal in the university restaurant (RU): 3,30 Euros;
• a fastfood meal: 7 Euros;
• a meal in a restaurant: 10 to 20 Euros;
• a sandwich from a bakery with a drink: 5 to 8 Euros.

Living Expenses

Be realistic while planning your expenses for your stay . It is essential that you have enough money for the whole duration of your study period. It is quite complicated to find a part-time job in France.
Estimated average living expenses for a single person for one month in on-campus halls of residences.

Cost of living / person / month in euros

  • Accommodation : 400
  • Food : 150
  • Social activities / leisure : 75
  • Public transportation : 25
  • Other: 50

Total : 700



Mealtimes in France are very important. It is a moment of meeting and sharing with friends or family, sometimes between colleagues.

French mealtimes are strict. Restaurants are generally open from 12 pm to 2 pm for lunch, and from 7 pm to 11 pm for dinner.


French people are respectful of privacy and are quite reluctant to talk about themselves and their personal concerns.

The family remains an important landmark for them. It is perceived as a space of security and relaxation, well separated from professional life.


There is no state religion, but France has a strong Catholic tradition. Islam is the second religion, followed by Protestantism, Judaism and Buddhism.

Follow our Step-by-Step guide