Should I go to Clermont-Ferrand or Toulouse for my Year Abroad in France?
I will be spending the Autumn semester of next year in France, and have narrowed down my choices to Université Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, and Université Blaise-Pascal in Clermont. Any experience at these universities or the cities in general? Would really appreciate some advice!
This question was asked by Megan Edwards from Cardiff University , asked on 25th January 2016 and has been read 3175 times.
I spent the whole year at UniversitÃ© de Toulouse Jean Jaures last year and had a really great year ! The campus is being renovated at the moment, (they knocked down practically all the terrible old concrete jungle-esque buildings when I was there and are re-doing the whole place) so by the time you'd be there next Academic year it should all be done! The Uni is in an area called Mirail which isn't too nice itself (don't stay late at Uni...) but it's only 15 mins on the metro and the transport is pretty reliable in Toulouse.
Overall as a city, Toulouse is wonderful! I absolutely loved it. It's a great location - 2 hours drive to skiing in Pyrenees, 7â‚¬ megabus to Barcelona, 5 hour train to Paris, 2 hours drive to the coast either side! It's really great. The city is super student-friendly as there are at least 5/6 different unis which means it's quite a young population. Being in the South, it's far less international than say, Paris, so I found it was very easy to speak French without people replying in English. I found a colocation with a French girl before I went out on a Facebook group (colocation sur toulouse/Coloc Toulouse are really popular groups). Highly recommend doing this!
I can't speak for Clermont - the only thing I know is that there is a massive river in Toulouse which is beautiful and there isn't in Clermont!
Hope that helps! Happy to answer any other questions you might have! Nel
Additional point on transport in Toulouse - it costs 10â‚¬ PER MONTH for everything which is just dreamy. That covered metro, bus, tram and 20â‚¬ for the whole year on top of that for the Velo Toulouse subscription. Reeeally decent when you compare it to a lot of other cities!
I spent a year in Clermont-Ferrand and absolutely loved it, although I know it isn't for everyone. It's technically a city but has more of a town-feel to it. In terms of size, if Toulouse is like Bristol then Clermont is like Bath. Clermont is the kind of model-town you'd never find in England. At its centre, there's a huge, open square bustling with shops and bars, surrounded by pedestrian roads that zig-zag between all the points of interest and a tram-service that connects the suburbs to the centre. It's overlooked by a stunning volcano as well as a beautiful cathedral. Whilst it's the kind of place you'll know intimately after just a few weeks, I was never bored by it. It offers very easy access to the surrounding nature of the Auvergne, so if you like hiking etc it's the place to be. Clermont's also a very cheap place to rent and live which could be a factor (look at www.numbeo.com to compare the cost of living in different cities).Clermont's definitely a student-hub - I was always meeting new students, although the number of Erasmus students is probably on the small side compared with other cities. It's got a handful of clubs as opposed to loads, so if you like going out to new places all the time then avoid but I personally preferred knowing where to go and what I'd find etc.Blaise Pascal is nothing to write home about as a university - a few buildings here and there, some rather uninspired teaching - pretty normal for a public French uni it seems.English won't get you very far in Clermont so it's perfect if you really want to concentrate on French - there's a newly built French as a Foreign Language building where Blaise Pascal lets you take some of your lessons too. However, its transport connections to other cities are very poor, so if you want to go travelling you'll be restricted to the cumbersome train service (4h to Paris; 2h30 to Lyon) or to taking BlaBlacars. I never actually went to Toulouse but I did hear great things about it such as that it was the best place to be a student in France. Overall, it really depends on what kind of person you are: for most people I'd probably say Toulouse is the better option - given its size and reputation it's more of a safe bet. However, if you want something a bit more personal, then Clermont all the way. How I would love to go back
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