These tips are not necessarily the first things you’d think of when you start your semester/ year abroad, but they are crucial all the same.
Find a boulangerie
Find a boulangerie where you can buy baguettes, pizzas, quiches, croissants and pain au chocolat on your route to school and close to your accommodation. (Baguettes are the staple food of everyone’s semester abroad).
Find a coffee shop
Find a coffee shop within 5 minutes of your university where you can spend time working. The essential thing here is cheap coffee – you will need cheap coffee for your year abroad. Less than 2.50€ would be ideal! Also make sure you don’t choose a café where they clearly want you to leave after you’ve drank your coffee, you’re going to be using this place a lot!
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Find Drinkable 3€ Wine
Suss out which of the 3€ wines are actually drinkable. Each supermarket stocks a variety of incredible value wines for under 5€, but obviously some of them are nothing short of rancid – try them all until you find one that is not only drinkable, but actually tastes like a good vintage that you can share with your year abroad buddies. Once you’ve found one do not forget its name!
Find a cheap bar
Whilst we’re on the topic of wine, you’re going to need to find a bar that is within the year abroad student’s budget – this means one of two things; either a fairly seedy bar which has pints for less than 5€ and wine for less than 3€, or a much nicer bar with generous happy hours – I’m talking 50% off between 5pm and Midnight – the second bar is definitely preferable, but be careful, you don’t want to accidentally miss happy hour and pay 10€ for a carlsberg!
(Check out my list of cheap bars in Paris!)
Make a French friend
Make a French friend, preferably one who knows the city like the back of their hand. This person will not only be incredibly useful when it comes to French bureaucracy and paperwork when you arrive on your year abroad, but they can also show you all the cool places your year abroad friends won’t know!