Students from many European countries and global countries are not required to provide a visa for periods of stay of fewer than 90 days, however, if a longer-term stay is required then you will need to apply to the French consular authority for a visa to enter the country.
French long-stay visas are valid for periods between 3 months and one year, meaning each year it will need to be renewed if you are planning on studying for longer than a year. Your University will be able to offer support services for this for international students.
If you are studying with the benefit of a public study grant from scholarship agencies, the EU or from French public study grants then there is no charge for the visa, but if you are coming to study without these there will be a fee.
There are plenty of private student accommodation agencies that will be able to find appropriate student accommodation that is within your budget and for your time period.
There is also the option of University residence which can often be cheaper than going to private companies but there may have to be more compromises made on facilities and location.
France has a large student population with many Universities meaning that most large cities will be accustomed to student living and may even have designated student areas with plentiful accommodation.
French is the primary language is France and is spoken by all nationals, although often this is accompanied with a good grasp or fluency in English, with almost 40% of the population having English as a second language.
Spanish, German and Italian are also common second languages although these tend to stick to the border regions with these countries.
French is one of the most popular languages in the world and is spoken amongst a large proportion of Europe, Africa and even in South East Asia and the United States of America as a relic of colonialism.
France is the country of culture – the word culture itself is a derivative from French Latin and the country is synonymous with class and style.
Paris is the cultural centre of the world and is home to many of the finest restaurants, high-end design houses and art museums, but the culture in France isn’t all glossy magazines and haute cuisine.
France is quite secular with around 25% of the population identifying as non-religious; the most popular religion is Roman Catholicism which covers about 64% of the population with other popular religions being Islam, Buddhism and Judaism. If you are non-religious though you are unlikely to encounter much religion in your studies unless you are attending a private University which is involved.
In 2005 the working week in France was reduced from 39 hours to 35 hours p/week which usually runs from 8/9am-12pm then from 2pm-6pm, although the long lunch break is shelved in larger cities in favour of an earlier finish in most companies.