Universities in Paris - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities


By Staff Writer

Updated February 17, 2021 Updated February 17, 2021

Paris for students

Despite dropping two places in the QS Best Student Cities ranking this year, the French capital remains solidly in the top 10, and now ranks at a (still very impressive)\ seventh place.


Home to 12 universities featured in the QS World University Rankings®, it lays claim to more world-leading institutions than almost any other student city – with the exceptions of Seoul and London (both have 18). 


Elite Parisian universities and specialized schools such as ENS ParisEcole Polytechnique ParisTechSciences Po Paris 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.


Though it’s no longer in the top five, the City of Love still has a place in the hearts of prospective students across the world. In our student survey one student said that they loved “being surrounded by beautiful monuments, history and culture,” while another said: “the nightlife is incredible”.


Will it climb back towards the number one spot next year? Have your say. 

Best universities in Paris - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 7th

World Ranking



Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres)


Ecole Polytechnique


Sorbonne University






Sciences Po Paris


Ecole des Ponts ParisTech


University of Paris


Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne


ENS Paris-Saclay


Université Paris-Sud 11


Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris 2)

More about Paris

Paris’s consistently strong performance in the QS Best Student Cities Ranking is largely due to its high concentration of internationally ranked universities – 12 are ranked in the QS World University Rankings this year.


This year the city scores well across all of the indicators, particularly in the employer activity indicator where it ranks eighth in the world.

Number of institutions ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) (ranked 52nd)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Paris

Good employment prospects

Placing eighth in the employer activity indicator this year, Paris’s graduates are highly respected by employers. There are lots of international firms based in the city’s business district which frequently hire skilled graduates.

The museums and landmarks

Some of Europe’s most impressive landmarks and museums are located in Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Élysées.

French cuisine

From buttery croissants and fresh cheeses to duck confit, ratatouille and soufflé, Parisians definitely know good food. Enjoy lunch at a café terrace or enjoy a delicious meal at one of the city’s many restaurants.

The nightlife

Paris’ nightlife offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to catch up with your friends over wine, or dance all night in one of Paris’s clubs, you’re sure to find something that suits you.

Cost of studying in Paris

While Paris does have a (justified) reputation for its high cost of living, this is to a large extent balanced out by low tuition fees, which only cost around US$2,100 per year for international students. It is getting cheaper too – the city has climbed 16 places for affordability this year to rank 76th.


Of course, despite this, enjoying all the delights of life in this iconic European capital will still certainly stretch your student budget, especially if you’re into haute couture and haute cuisine.


A single person living in France’s capital would need around US$1,170 per month for living expenses and US$1,480 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city, according to Numbeo.  

Life and culture in Paris

Paris is probably the student city with the most iconic landmarks. It’s home to the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame cathedral amongst others, as well as countless famous museums and art galleries.   

The city of love, but also the city of lights, fashion, cuisine, art and architecture, Paris is a buzzing cultural hub where students of all tastes can find something to love.  

Visit Paris’ world-famous museums such as the famous Louvre museum, Musée d’Orsay, and the Paris Museum of Modern Art. Afterwards enjoy a picnic - or a delicious Parisian crêpe - in one of Paris’ many green parks: Jardin du Luxembourg, Jardin des Plantes or the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.   

In the evening you can go to Paris’ clubs and bars to dance or visit the Eiffel Tower which is lit up brightly at night. Alternatively, you can take a night dip in an Art Deco pool or enjoy some traditional French cuisine in a brasserie or bistro.

Careers in Paris

Today, Parisian graduates are targeted by a vast range of employers across the continent, as is reflected in the city’s strong score for employer activity in the ranking, placing eighth worldwide.

There are also hundreds of international companies with offices in Paris’ business district, La Défense, including L’Oréal, Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Nestlé, all of which are frequently looking to hire graduates.

This article was originally published in November 2014 . It was last updated in February 2021

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