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Topping the QS Best Student Cities index for the third year running, Paris has no less than 17 universities assessed within the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15 – comfortably more world-leading institutions than any other city on the planet except for London, which has 18.

And while Paris does have a reputation for being an expensive place to live, relatively low tuition fees mean that for students, it actually represents a more affordable destination when compared to many other popular student cities – though of course enjoying all the delights of life in this iconic European capital is certainly likely to demand quite a substantial student budget.

Parisian graduates are targeted by a vast range of employers across the continent. And elite Parisian universities and specialized schools such as ENS Paris, Ecole Polytechnique ParisTech, Sciences Po ParisUniversité Paris-Sorbonne (ParisIV)  and HEC Paris have produced some of the most important philosophers, theorists, scientists, politicians, business leaders and mathematicians of the last 100 years, along with seminal movements in literature, film and art.

Students in Paris often enjoy extensive access to leading academics, with top universities in Paris providing small class sizes and intensive teaching, despite the low fees. Paris is frequently rated as one of the most livable cities in Europe, and is ranked 16th out of 140 cities in The Economist’s 2014 Global Liveability Ranking.

But finally, all the measurements used to create the QS Best Student Cities still don’t capture the real appeal of studying in Paris – one of the world’s most historic, culturally vital and beautiful cities.

QS ranked universities

More about Paris

Number of universities ranked by QS*


Top ranked institution

ENS Paris (28th in the world)



Students (% of total population)

2.1% (based on ranked institutions)

International students

19.0% (of students at ranked institutions)

Average tuition fees


Global Liveability Ranking

16th  (out of 140)

Mercer Cost of Living rank

27th  (out of 214)

Cost of a Big Mac


Cost of an iPad


Numbeo safety rank

269th  (out of 372)

Numbeo pollution rank

107th  (out of 299)

Transparency International score

22nd  (out of 177)

Sources: QS World University RankingsGlobal Liveability Ranking (The Economist’s Intelligence Unit); Big Mac Index (The Economist’s Intelligence Unit); iPad Index (Commsec); Cost of Living Survey (Mercer);Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International).

Written by Laura Bridgestock

The editor of, Laura oversees the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edits the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributes to market research reports including Students Online: Global Trends.

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