Where can I get information about studying in France ?
Go to the Campus France website.
How to obtain a visa ?
If you do not come from the European Economic Zone, you need a long stay visa (visa D Student, staying permit must be requested when you arrive in France) from the French embassy in your country. This visa will enable you to receive a one-year staying permit from the Prefecture in Poitiers.
Be careful if you are given a D visa, with no obligation to get a staying permit to check that you will be able to attend the whole term. If the validity of the visa is not long enough, you will be denied registration.
If you wish to register, send the registration form and a cheque (see Courses – Registration). As soon as we receive these documents, you will be sent a registration certificate which may be required by the cultural services of the French embassy.
Please, before sending any payment, check the regulations with the embassy. Note that some embassies demand a registration certificate about the studies in a specific field (besides French as a foreign language) at the French University. As the University of Poitiers doesn’t issue such documents, refer to the CEF for further information.
What documents should I take with me ?
- 2 birth certificates translated into French ;
- 3 identity photos ;
- a cheque from a French bank, international credit card or cash in Euro, for the registration fees (i.e what is still due)
- your diplomas (translated either into French or English) needed for entry into the universities in your country.
- your heath record and your vaccination record.
They will be useful to obtain a Student Card which gives access to the cinema, university restaurants, and buses at reduced rates.
If you do not have these diplomas, you will receive a Study Card instead.
However, you must be aware that “secondary school leaving certificate” may not be regarded as an equivalent of the French baccalaureat by the French administration.
What about Health Insurance ?
- If you come from the European Economic Zone and if you benefit from Heath Insurance in your country,
you must bring the European Health Insurance card or one of the following forms : E 128, 106, 109, 111, 121, 122 . If you don’t have one of the documents, you’ll have to suscribe to the French Student Health Insurance (about 210 €).
- If you are under 28, you’ll have to suscribe to the French Social Security through the CFLE, upon registration (about 210 €).
The French Social Security refunds up to 70% of the medical expenses. Therefore, you are advided to take out a supplementary health insurance, after your registration.
- Otherwise, to get your staying permit, you must buy a private insurance valid for the period of study in France.
Can the CFLE help me to find accommodation ?
No, but you will find useful information on this site.
Can I fail the language test ?
No ! The test is by no means an examination. Its purpose is only to determine your level of French and place you in the most appropriate group. Note that attendance to the placement test is compulsory.
When will I be fully registered ?
After taking the test, you will be given an appointment to complete registration. Do not forget to bring the documents mentioned above (What documents should I take with me ?).
What is the weather like in Poitiers ?
The climate in Poitiers is mild (oceanic type). Therefore, winters are seldom very cold but rather humid. In summer, the temperature can rise as high as 30°C.
How to get from Paris to Poitiers ?
If you land at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, you will be able to take from the Roissy-TGV railway station, a train TGV Lille-Europe which stops in Poitiers.
Otherwise, go to Montparnasse railway station in the south of Paris and take a TGV (high-speed train), to Poitiers, Bordeaux or la Rochelle (make sure they stop at Poitiers). It is necessary to take a reservation.
Before getting on the train, do not forget to have your ticket stamped in one of the many yellow-coloured machines located in the hall and at the entrance to the platform. You will be fined if you have not done so.
How to get from Poitiers train station to the town centre ?
When you leave the station, go left to the bus stop. Buses n° 1, 3, 11 and 2B go right to the town centre from Monday to Saturday.
If you want further information about buses in Poitiers, go to the Vitalis website.
Many taxis are also available just outside the station but note that taxis in France are fairly expensive : about 12 € to go from the station to the campus during the day and much more by night !
How to get to the CFLE on the campus ?
From the train station : take bus n°1, get off at Cité U and cross the campus. The CFLE is in the Department of Literature and Languages (UFR Lettres et Langues), building A (follow the signs)
From the town centre : take bus n°1 place du Marché Notre-Dame and get off at Cité U. The Department of Literature and Languages (UFR Lettres et Langues) is situated across the street. The CFLE is in building A (follow the signs).
Please note : on Sundays on Bank holidays, buses change.
From the train station or the town centre, take bus n°A, get off at Champlain. Take bus n°B, get off at Gymnase or Champlain.
Where can I buy bus tickets ?
When you arrive at the station, you can buy a ticket from a machine located inside the train station or at the “Tabac-Journaux” just across the street. You can also buy one on the bus. It costs about 1,30 €.
It is much cheaper to buy a book of 5 tickets (5,10 €). You will find them in most Tabacs-Journaux (shops where you can buy cigarettes and newspapers).
After you have received your Student Card, you will be able to buy a monthly bus pass at special student rate (207 € for a year, unlimited trips) if you are under 26.
If you want further information about subscription, go to the
Where can I go if I arrive late at night ?
You will find many hotels just across from the train station. A single room with a shower costs between 40 to 60 € for one night.
Where can I draw cash when I get in Poitiers ?
If you have a Visa or Master smart card, you can use the cash dispenser just outside the train station.
If you need to change money, you will have to go to the town centre, place du Maréchal Leclerc (more commonly called place d’Armes by the locals). Banks are usually open from Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 12:00 a.m. and from 14:00 to 17:00 p.m.
How can I telephone if I haven’t got a cell-phone
It is sometimes possible to use a credit card to telephone from a telephone box but we recommand that you should buy a phone card as soon as you arrive in Paris. You can buy them in Tabacs-Journaux (shops where you can buy cigarettes and newspapers). A 50-unit phone card will cost you about 15 €.
To phone to your home country from France, dial 00 + the code of your country + your correspondant number.
Where to eat ?
There are various places where you can eat near the Center (restaurants, cafés and cafeterias) but the university restaurants remain the cheapest. They include cafeterias, brasseries (diners) and self-service restaurants.
They propose different sorts of meals and are open from Monday to Friday until noon. One of them is always open on week-ends and during university vacation time.
Average cost of a meal at a university restaurant (student rate) :
- breakfast : about 2,20 € ;
- lunch or dinner : about 3,15 €.