Foreign students : pratical information

We have tried to summarise below the main practical and official recommendations so that your arrival and stay in France may work out fine. Of course, this summary is neither thorough nor official, therefore don't hesitate to consult more official sites.

Some useful links :

Brief practical guide

Concerning Expenses

Anticipate having an amount of ㉆ to 💖 to cover the first expenses upon your arrival.

To give you an idea of the cost of living, here are a few prices :

at the school
a sandwich - a pizza
2,70 € - 3,70 €8 €
a meal
2,70  €15 to... €
a hot or cold drinl
0,60 to 1 €1,5 to 4 €
a "croissant", a brownie
1 €4 - 5 €

Other examples of prices :

a loaf od bread
0,80 €one litre of milk
0,70 €
6 eggs
1 €one kg of beef
15 €
a pack of noodles
0,60 €a chicken
4 €
1 cinema ticket
5 €1 museum entrance ticket
3 à 6 €
10 postage stamps
5,30 €one bus ticket (seasons tickets are available)
1,30 €
a visit at the doctor's
20 €a visit at a medical specialist's
45 €
1 litre of petrol (gazoline)
1,50 €a daily paper
2 €

You will be able to open an account at a Bank, at the Post Office or at a Savings Bank (Caisse d'Epargne). Usually, opening an account is free of charge as is getting or using cheques. However, bank cards, which are widely used in France, are billed on a yearly basis, depending on the bank and on the type of card.

To open an account, you should bring the following documents: evidence of identification, residence permit, evidence of place of residence (telephone bill, rent receipt…)

Some important banks have a help desk on each one of the campuses and offer their services to the students.

On the Gif Campus, BNP PARIBAS, CREDIT LYONNAIS and SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE have weekly help desks; on the Rennes Campus, SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE is present while at Metz, BNP PARIBAS is present.

Attractive interest-bearing loan can be granted thanks to agrements signed between Supélec and partner banks.

About the weather

France benefits from a temperate climate, with 4 very distinct seasons and important differences from one region to another.

If you are at Rennes: the weather is milder and wetter (maritime influence): during the winter, temperatures seldom go below 7°, while in the Summer they rarely go over 20°.

If you are at Gif: the climate is rougher; during winter, freezing temperatures are frequent and it may snow. Summers are rather hot (20 to 25°). Autumn and spring are rather rainy, with occasional heavy rainfalls.

If you are at Metz: the climate is even more continental; winters are cold, with temperatures falling below 0° and snowfalls. Summers are hot.

Transports - courses - sorties...

Public transportation is not France’s strong point. The subway (métro) and the RER system (Paris and its suburbs) run 7 days a week and even part of the night. However the buses that serve the campuses stop earlier and don’t run on weekends.

French people shop at superstores or medium-sized stores, open from Monday to Saturday evening (8 AM to 9 PM). Generally, local shops (bakeries, groceries…) are open on Sunday mornings and closed on Monday. They are open from 8 AM to 7 PM with a pause in the early afternoon.

National Museums are closed on Tuesdays.

As for restaurants, their schedules vary a lot.

Please don't forget to bring adapters for french electrical sockets (United Kingdom, Unisted States, Japan...).

Holiday periods

The school closes for 2 weeks at Christmas time (December), two weeks for the spring break (April) and three weeks in the summer (August).

The public holidays for the academic year 2006-07 are : All Saints' Day (nov 1st), Armistice Day (November 11), Christmas Day & New Year's Day (included in Christmas closure), Easter Monday (April 9th, included in Spring break), Labour Day (may 1st), 1945 Victory (may 8th), Ascension Day (may 17th, student are also free on friday), Pentecost vacation (may 28th), Bastille Day (july 14th) and Assumption of the Virgin Mary (August 15th).

Indispensable documents for Supélec

  • evidence of identification: a valid passport with a long stay visa and the mention "Student", or an Identity Card for citizens of the European Union.

  • european health card for EU citizens; if not, you'll have to register at French Health Care (203 € - rate 2011/12 - plus a mutual insurance if wanted)

  • certificate of civil responsibility insurance (around 15€ for a Civil Responsibilyty Insurance, 30 € with home insurance).

  • ID photos

Other Necessary Documents

  • residence permit : any student staying in France for more than 3 months must ask for a residence permit, whatever his country of origin.

Depending on the case, it may be either a temporary “Student” residence permit obtained with the long stay student visa, or a temporary "European Community" residence permit obtained by a citizen of one of the countries of the European Union upon presentation of his/her evidence of identification. This application must be renewed every year. For the first application, a ㈷ tax will be due..

At Gif, the application form must be taken to the General Secretariat as soon as you arrive, or at the expiry birthdate, at Metz, to the Prefecture, at Rennes, if you are staying in Cesson-Sevigné, you must take your application dosier to the Town Hall (Mairie), if you live elsewhere, it must be taken to the Préfecure.

  • if you’re coming with your car : a valid driving licence + international insurance card + title of ownership or “carte grise”

  • a certificate of live birth, an official family record book or a marriage certificate translated and certified (in order to apply for a residence permit).

  • your health records (not compulsory, just recommended).
Last update : 12/06/2012