Forget Paris: Toulouse France’s best place to study

Paris is not France's best student city, despite its prestigious universities, according to a new report. Toulouse, in the south-west of the country, comes out top in the survey.

France’s capital, home to the internationally renowned Sorbonne and Sciences Po universities, came 10th in the ranking of 41 institutions by student magazine l'Étudiant.

Toulouse, Grenoble, Montpellier, Marseilles-Aix and Lyon all figured in the top five positions, while Valenciennes, Saint-Denis in Réunion and Douai-Lens were at the bottom.

Toulouse also received international recognition this week as the Université de Toulouse 1 Capitole came out as the top French institution in the prestigious Shanghai international university rankings. The city is home to fifteen higher education institutions.

The list was compiled from polling students on nine themes: studying, international opportunities, going out, culture, sports, transport, accommodation, environment and jobs.

While Paris scored the worst for sports and accommodation, it was unbeatable in the categories of international opportunities and culture.

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Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

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