Toulouse – the best place to be a student in France

The annual rankings for the best student cities in France is out and the top dog is definitely not Paris, which comes in at a very unimpressive 13th place. Here's a countdown and a look at why Toulouse comes out on top.

Toulouse - the best place to be a student in France
Nothing to lose by studying in Toulouse. Photo: AFP

The rankings have been put together by France's L'Etudiant magazine and reveal that if you want to find the best place in the country to study, then look outside Paris.

5 – Rennes:

The Breton capital with its rich history stretching back over two millennia, its atmospheric medieval cobbled streets, and its lively cultural scene make it a hit with students. Although its public transport system was deemed a tad inefficient.

4 – Bordeaux:

The range of top quality university courses on offer and the host of cultural activities available draws students to the world wine capital. On the downside, students complained that it needed to do better on sports facilities. 

3 – Montpellier: 

This sunny city, with is countless bars, restaurants, and clubs topped the student polls for the best city for an evening out. The beaches of the Mediterranean that lie a short bus ride away were no doubt also a big pull.

2 – Grenoble:

The Alpine city, which in 2013 was designated by Forbes magazine as the fifth most inventive city in the world, scored highly with students because of its cosmopolitan atmosphere, its efficient transport system, and its top-notch sports facilities.

The writer of the blog Grenoble Life explains exactly what makes the city so great for students, especially those from abroad.

“Grenoble is the perfect size city for study abroad. It is large enough to offer variety, but yet it is small enough so that it is not overwhelming. The centre ville (city center) is where most of the stores, restaurants, cafés, pubs, and nightlife are.”

1. Toulouse:

Known to locals as La Ville Rose (the Pink City) after the pink stone used in many of its buildings, Toulouse takes the number one spot for the second year in a row. The southwestern city, which hosts 40,000 students, is awash with culture, art, industry and architecture.

Jessica Mackenzie, Manager at the International Student Office of the Toulouse Business School tells The Local why La Ville Rose is thoroughly deserving of the gong.

Why is Toulouse so fab for students?
“It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s safe.
“Over the past ten years, services in the city have reacted to the growing number of students in the city. 
“The old centre of Toulouse is very small and most of the universities and colleges are situated there. Students can move from academic life to social life by simply stepping out into the streets in the old town which are full of cafés and bars.
“Toulouse is also known as a very safe city. Its geographical position in southwestern France is perfect. We have wonderful weather in both summer and winter.
“Students can get to beaches on the Mediterranean in just an hour using the very efficient public transport.
“And as we’re right by the Pyrenees you can reach 10 ski resorts within an hour and a half. So you’ve got the sun and the heat in the summer and in the winter you can pop over to the ski slopes.
And the Nightlife?
“There are countless cafes, international bars, Irish bars, restaurants serving regional cuisine, and nightclubs. The clubs open at 1am and go in until 6 or 7 in the morning.
“The local industries such as Airbus both recruit and provide internships for students in Toulouse.”
So there you have it, you've got nothing to lose by studying in Toulouse.

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New flights to south of France launched by Jet2

The low-cost British airline Jet2 has announced it will begin operating new services between the UK and southern France, starting in the summer of 2022.

New flights to south of France launched by Jet2
Flights will operate from May 1st 2022. Photo: AFP

When travelling is possible again, getting to Toulouse from the north-west of England is set to become much easier with the launch of new flights from Manchester Airport.

Jet2 already flies to Bergerac, La Rochelle and Nice. The company announced the new destination in response to demand for summer 2022 holidays.

Flights to the “Pink City” in south west France will operate from May 1st until October 16th 2022.

“Since putting our Summer 2022 programme on sale from Manchester Airport, we have added a significant number of flights and destinations in response to the demand from customers who want to get their all-important holidays booked in,” Steve Heapy, CEO of and Jet2holidays, said in a press release.

Since the British government announced a lockdown roadmap on Tuesday, with plans to end England restrictions by June 21st, the company has begun to see a surge in bookings.

READ ALSO: Will summer holidays in France be possible this year?

However the present rules on entry into France from the UK are the strictest they have ever been, with virtually no travel allowed between the two countries and no end-date to the current restrictions.

Jet2 plans to reopen its services in mid-May.

“Following the UK government announcement that international travel will not return until May 17th 2021 at the earliest, we have taken the decision to extend the suspension of flights and holidays up to and including 16th May 2021,” Jet2 said on Twitter.