What is France like?

France is the largest country in western Europe, is mainly flat in the north and west, but rises to the Ardennes mountains in the northeast, and the Jura Mountains and the French Alps in the east. Southwest of the Massif Central loom the Pyrenees. Paris, one of the world's loveliest cities, is the capital and largest city of France. Set on the banks of the Seine, its centre contains wide avenues, pleasant sidewalk cafés, elegant shops and numerous historic monuments, with industrial areas occupying the outskirts. A centre of the arts, Paris offers an unrivalled range of art treasures, and also boasts elegant shops and fine restaurants. The city was noted for its lively cafés as early as 1715, and today residents and tourists alike enjoy sitting at tables on the terrasses (covered areas outside the cafés) to chat and watch the street life. Street markets trade in food, flowers, clothes, books, stamps, even birds.

I could not have imagined how good the time I spent in France was. It was a challenge, but worth every minute. Former Team Member

What is the present state of the work?

The GBU is a great place to meet with students of many nationalities, but Christian work among university students is never for the faint-hearted. This is especially the case in Paris where a mere handful of Christian students is trying to reach a number of university campuses. The support and encouragement of even one InterAction Team Member can make a world of difference to such groups. There is one IFES InterActionTeams based in France. The team in Paris works with international and French students.

What about accommodation, living costs, courses, jobs?

Normally team members share a flat with students or other team members, at a cost of about €380 a month, with three months' rent often payable in advance. The Team Leader will help team members to look for accommodation, and can provide short-term temporary accommodation in the meantime. ERASMUS students will find it fairly heavy being on a team as well as studying. Team members have often done French courses part-time at the Sorbonne, Institute Catholique or Alliance Française. Costs vary according to the number of hours studied per week, but €100 per month for three hours of classes a week is the minimum. For those needing to work, tutoring or teaching English is a possibility. Applications for jobs can be made through the British Council, which provides lists of companies. An alternative is private tutoring, students being found through, for example, advertisements in local papers. Monthly living costs are €300 - 350 a month, more if team members have a big study load in French. In addition, there is the cost of travel to Paris from the home country

What special requirements are there for joining one of the InterAction Teams in France?

Visa: Visas are required for those from non-European Union countries. It is difficult to obtain visas for a long stay unless application is made well in advance, and there is proof of adequate financial support. Application should be for a "visitors visa" or a "missionary visa". A student visa is also possible and is relatively easy to obtain. It carries a requirement however to do 20 hours of classes a week which can prove expensive. The alternative is to travel as a tourist and be ready to leave France every three months.

Language: Basic French (to at least British GCSE level) is highly recommended, as all the work is in French. However, some team members in the past have been much used by the Lord despite a severe deficiency in their ability to speak and understand French.

TEFL: A TEFL qualification is useful.


Facts Box

Google Map


58 million


Paris (10.6 million)

Student Population

c.1.5 million total (150,000 international students)




Secular state with freedom of religion. 68% of the population is Roman Catholic, 1.8% Protestant, and 7.3% Muslim.

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