Buying a Bike in Paris: Our Guide

Paris is fast becoming a cycling capital. With the introduction of kilometres of cycle lanes in the last few years among other infrastructure developments and the current mayor Anne Hidalgo’s Plan Vélo, Paris ranks the 8th most bicycle-friendly city in the world according to the Copenhagenize Index .

There are many ways to enjoy the city by bike including the bike-share system Vélib’, monthly rentals like Swapfiets or Véligo, or buying your own. This short guide will cover buying a bike new or second-hand and contains some tips and tricks for bike ownership in Paris.

Decathalon Sports Shop. LSA © DR

Buying new

There are a number of places to buy a new bike in Paris. Major chain sports shops such as Decathlon and GO Sport sell bikes ranging in price and quality. They also sell tools and accessories such as helmets and baskets at low prices.

Local bike shops may be slightly more expensive than chain shops but will offer a larger range and more specialised knowledge on choosing the right bike for you.

Le Bon Coin.

Buying second-hand

Buying a bike second-hand will likely save you a lot of money. You can find adverts for second-hand bikes on websites like Le Bon Coin, ParuVendu, and Facebook through Marketplace or community groups. You can often ask if the seller is also selling their bike lock, helmet or basket, and can buy them as part of a deal to save more money.

Buying from individuals online has risks and it’s important to see and test ride the bike before exchanging any money.

Local bike shops may also sell donated and refurbished bikes for a low price, called vélo d’occasion in French. This may be a secure way to buy second-hand as you will be dealing with a registered company as opposed to an individual. However, in this case there is less possibility of haggling for a better price.

Solicycle Ateiler Solidaire. Actu Paris ©SL

Extra Tips and Tricks

Bike theft in Paris, like any big city, can be an issue. Using a good quality, heavy duty lock or two will help keep your bike safe, and can be purchased anywhere bikes are sold. If you have a courtyard or bike shed in your apartment building, this will be the safest place to store your bike overnight or for extended periods of time.

The are numerous bike repair shops across the city to deal with repairs that go beyond your own expertise and tool box. For a cheaper and more socially conscious option you can head to one of the many “ateliers solidaires” at which volunteers help you to fix your own bike, sharing their skills and the workshops range of specialised tools.


For more information about how to navigate Paris, check out this article on useful apps for life in the city!

Top image:

Preparing to Leave Paris: Our Checklist

Preparing to leave Paris? The Kent Paris office has created a handy checklist of logistical things to consider before hitting the road!

Giving notice on your rental agreement

You should go over your rental agreement and make sure you have fulfilled all obligations stated in it.

In rented accommodation (e.g. through a standard rental contract), you usually need to inform your landlord of your departure at least one month in advance (for furnished flats) and three months in advance for unfurnished flats. This must be done by letter sent registered post (e-mails are not an acceptable way to give notice). The French government provides a handy template here. In rented accommodation, inventory (état des lieux) is done when you move into a flat and when you move out of it. It is at this time that a landlord will assess any damage and then inform you of any charges. An état des lieux must be signed by both parties. If you paid a deposit, ensure that your landlord has your bank details so that your deposit can be returned. Giving notice cannot be done at the last minute, so it is important to know what you have to do and when. A full overview is available here (in French).

Giving notice on other service contracts

You will need to settle or close any accounts that you will no longer need, for example, electricity and gas contracts, internet and phone contracts, housing insurance, gym memberships, and your French bank account. Speak to your bank or service provider to find out what they require you to do. Be mindful that gym memberships in particular typically require advanced (one to two months’) notice.

If you are required to send a letter to close your bank account, the Institut national de la Consommation provides a useful template.

Return borrowed library books

If you have borrowed any library books, return them to avoid having to pay any fines. Settle any fines you have to pay for overdue books.




Donating or recycling articles to eliminate waste

If you find yourself with lots of things you don’t want or can’t take with you when you leave Paris, you can donate or recycle them.

Donating clothes and other household goods

There are a number of ressourceries and charity drop off points throughout the city for items that are in a good state and can be sold on to customers. This map can help you find your nearest donation point. Be sure to check what items are accepted at your chosen drop off point. Ask the Paris office if you are unsure about where or how to drop things off.

Bulkier items such as furniture

The city of Paris has a (free!) service for the collection of bulkier items such as furniture and larger electronics. The process is simple: you indicate which items you would like to get rid of, and choose a collection time. You also choose a collection address, which in most cases will be your address. This is all done online at this website. Once you have registered your request for collection, you will receive a code that you must affix to the items. You then leave your items on the side of the road at the appointed time for collection by the Service des encombrants staff. You are welcome to get in touch with the Paris office if you need help navigating the online system.


Clothes and other textiles can be put in one of the textiles collection points across Paris. In most cases, these are large, dark green bins that are found in many locations across the city.

Small appliances that no longer work

Electronics retailers (such as Fnac, Darty, Bricorama) are required by law to have an in-store drop off point for used/broken electronics. If you have a blender that is no longer fit for purpose or a Nespresso machine that has given up the ghost, we recommend taking your small electronics to one of these shops. You are NOT required to have proof of purchase (you could have purchased the broken item from another shop), nor are you required to make a new purchase in store to use the drop-off–simply ask a member of staff if you cannot find the used electronics drop-off point!


Batteries contain corrosive materials that can severely damage the environment. For this reason, they must always be recycled and never be thrown in the bin with other waste. Every supermarket in France that sells batteries is required by law to have a drop-off point for used batteries. In most cases, these are small green cardboard stands that sit near shop entrances/exits.

Unsure of how to recycle or get rid of something?

To understand how to recycle other items, the city of Paris has an extensive guide on waste disposal and recycling (in French):

If you would like advice on how to recycle anything, get in touch with the Kent Paris office for advice (but please do not wait until the last minute!).


Do not overstay your allotment of time in France/the Schengen zone. You must leave the country/Schengen zone when your visa expires.

If you came to France benefitting from visa-free travel, you must ensure that you have not spent more than 90 days in France in a 180 day period.

If you are in France on a long-stay visa (visa de long-séjour or VLS), you must ensure that you “validate” it as per instructions provided when you first received your visa. If you did not validate your visa, you run the risk of not being able to re-enter the country in future.

Overstaying can lead to very serious consequences such as being barred from re-entering France/the Schengen zone. It is important to know your legal entitlement and stick to it.

Saying goodbye to Paris (for now!)

Stop by your favourite bakery for one last croissant, visit your favourite watering hole, or prostrate before your favourite work of art – all in anticipation of your next visit back.

Update your contact details in KentVision

Once you have reached your final destination/new place of residence, please update your contact details in KentVision.


Creative Writing Master's in Paris

Alumna & Poet Megan James Publishes her First Work, Womb Fruit

In the latest edition of our Graduate Profile we connect with alumna and poet Megan James. A graduate of our Master’s in Creative Writing, Megan’s work has been featured in The Hellebore, Molly Bloom and Ache magazine, amongst others. She has recently published her first work, Womb Fruit, a long format poem which she began in Paris as her MA dissertation. In this interview Megan tells us more about her experience at our Paris School, the creative process behind Womb Fruit and her current projects.

Where are you from and what originally brought you to Paris? 

I grew up in a small town just outside of Oxford. A combination of health and homelife made going to university feel like a distant and unattainable thing until I was an adult. I was working as a Teaching Assistant in a Primary School when I had the realisation that I had so much more to learn myself; I studied to retake my A levels and bagged myself a place to study English at the University of Exeter. I’d always enjoyed playing with language – diaries and poems had been a large part of my coping and processing chronic illness – but at Exeter, I took all the Creative Writing modules possible.

When my degree ended, my writing didn’t. In my final few months, I scoured the internet for creative post-grad options when I found the courses offered at the University of Kent’s Paris School of Arts and Culture. Studying literature had highlighted Paris as a city of art and creativity; when I saw the Creative Writing MA offered at PSAC, I knew I had to make it happen.

What attracted you most about studying at PSAC?

Above all, being able to live, write, work and study in Paris was a dream come true. I wasn’t ready to stop learning, and PSAC offered the opportunity to continue doing just that in the best place for it. The city’s rich history as a place of reaction and revolution fuelled my writing; every cobbled corner had a story to tell, and I wanted to tell it.

The pull of Paris was strengthened by my desire to learn a new language. Living in France forced me to practice in a way that my French GCSE didn’t! Using the language every day was the best way to improve, and the free French classes offered by the PSAC built on these skills and helped me hone them.

What are you currently doing and how did that come about? 

My love for learning has come full circle: I am now teaching English at a Secondary School near Oxford. The demands of my job are many, but the satisfaction is constant. My job allows me to continue my own learning journey too. Teaching is learning; learning is teaching – the older I get, the more I value this truth. There is a reciprocity to learning that benefits everyone.

Could you tell us about Womb Fruit and your writing process?

At its core, Womb Fruit is an excavation of the myths of womanhood; those we are told and those we tell ourselves. It focuses on the circles and cycles of the body and the processing of trauma.

Womb Fruit is a long-form poem addressed to an unborn daughter, sharing the complicated histories of the inherited and uninherited. Womb Fruit explores themes of pain, illness, and miscarriage, and is woven with female histories of Greek mythology. As a chronically ill person, I’m concerned with the eugenic attitudes of medicine, society and culture regarding a woman’s choice/ability to reproduce, as well as the stigmatisation and pathologising that often comes with living in a sick body.

I wrote Womb Fruit while living in Paris and it was my final project at PSAC: my MA dissertation. Being a poem about womanhood, there was an irony in the writing process feeling like a labour of sorts. The narrative is punctured, confessional, at times chaotic. It is writing as therapy.

You hand-stitched its cover, was this an important complement to the artist process of your writing? 

Yes! As well as working with words, I’m also an embroidery artist and have often used this form of expression as a therapeutic process. At first, I’d hoped to stitch the entirety of the poem, however, I settled on another, less time-consuming method. Instead, Womb Fruit is infused with the language of embroidery. I attempted to translate the physical techniques of embroidery – layering, weaving, shading, knotting – into language.

I knew I needed to incorporate this ancient practice of expression into my writing. Sewing is an art form that has stood the test of time; it predates written language. It is also something that has been historically associated with women. I wanted to flip the use of this as a practice to silence women, and instead use sewing as a symbol of permanence, of history, of recording expression by any means available.

Are you working on your next book?

I continue to write (and sew!). My recent writings are concerned with the notion of home. Starting with the age-old dilemma – is home a place or a feeling? – the poetic fragments track the politics of home and homelessness; the body as home; the mind as home; and end with the coming-home of spiritual peace. This work-in-progress is yet untitled, but I look forward to sharing it soon.

Do you think that your studies at PSAC helped with your career or creative endeavours?

Definitely. Continuing my education at MA level gave me the creative space to focus on my writing. My year in Paris was defining; it gave me the perspective and clarity to spend time on my crafts and do so in a place that was constantly inspiring.

Would you recommend PSAC to potential students and if so, what would you tell them? 

I would recommend studying at the PSAC whole-heartedly. Paris is full of grand buildings with huge, locked doors hiding secrets behind. The PSAC opens those doors, allowing you to access so much more of the city than you would otherwise. From the staff and lecturers to the links and connections to other institutions, you’ll never be short of opportunities. From the open evenings and readings to the organised events and activities, you’ll never be bored.

As perfect as my year in Paris may sound, it wasn’t easy making it happen. The practicalities involved in moving abroad, even temporarily, are challenging. I took out a personal loan to pay for the course fees and worked full-time as an au pair while in Paris; I highly recommend doing something similar if you want affordable living costs during your stay. I had my own apartment to accommodate me, and while the extra workload was intense at times, it made my stay possible.

Even if it seems impossible, and sometimes it might, if you want it bad enough, make it happen.

Merci beaucoup, Megan! 

Womb Fruit was published by Litmus Publishing in April 2022. You can learn more about and acquire a copy at this link.

Connect with Megan on Twitter: @MeganHJames or Instagram: @meganhannahjames.

CHAOS AND ORDER: Postgraduate Arts Festival 2022 – Full Programme

We are very pleased to reveal the full programme for our annual Postgraduate Arts Festival 2022. From June 7th to 11th the Postgraduate Students of the University of Kent in Paris will be hosting a range of enlightening events revolving around the theme of CHAOS AND ORDER. Read on to discover this year’s diverse programme and register for our RSVP-only events here.



6:00 PM – 9:00 PM: VERNISSAGE: Exhibition Opening

Hosted by the University of Kent Paris Society, join us for the opening of our five-day festival and explore how our featured artists give form to the matter of Chaos and Order, employing their creativity to understand the vigorous process of life and its complex realities. Food and drinks will be provided! 

At the precipice of order, there is always chaos, and order itself is threatened by the omnipresence of slippages, dissent, and disorder. The theme of the exhibition is open to interpretation for the individual artists with the vision to defy institutional arrangements and aesthetic and canonical expectations. The call of the moment is for art that exists in the free-flowing space that has some potential for spontaneity. Our Arts Exhibition will feature artists who defy institutional arrangements, aesthetic, and canonical expectations.

We are delighted to be hosting our exhibition at the historic Atelier 11. Located in Cité Falguière in Montparnasse, this building has seen the likes of Soutine and Modigliani throughout its time. To learn more about the work done there and how you can support the restoration of the building, visit their website here.


Address: L’AiR Arts Association, 11 Cité Falguière, 75015 Paris

*The Arts Exhibition will continue through 8 June to 11 June, from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Dr. Fatou Nian

Dr. Fatou Nian



Featuring a variety of short films made by experimental directors from around the world and throughout various points in cinematic history, including Maya Deren, Bill Morrison, Hans Richter, and Alan Resnais. This curated series of films evoke the theme of Chaos and Order in awe-inspiring ways.

Afterwards, feel free to head upstairs and explore our on-going arts exhibition!

Address: L’AiR Arts Association, 11 Cité Falguière, 75015 Paris

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM: KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Dr. Fatou Niang on Arts and Poetics of Living in Times of Crisis 

Introducing our Keynote Speaker for the Postgraduate Arts Festival, Dr. Fatou Niang! Join us for an afternoon of community, discussion and exhibition on the progression of and future of Art in our changing world. Drinks and light snacks will be provided. 

Dr. Mame-Fatou Niang is a filmmaker and professor of French and Francophone studies at Carnegie-Mellon University. Her work is on contemporary France, Sub-Saharan Africa, postcolonialism, media studies, and urban planning. Her documentary Mariannes Noires, which focuses on the Afro-French identities of seven women, was selected for the San Francisco Black Film Festival, Toronto Black Film Festival, and Festival International du Film Black Montréal, among others.


Address: Reid Hall, 4 Rue de Chevreuse, 75006 Paris

Study Creative Writing in Paris

Yelena Moskovich


6:00 PM – 7:30 PM: WRITE & SIP: Deconstruction – Neither Construction Nor Destruction

Deconstruction provides a way of studying the basic precept of existence. In this professionally-led workshop, rise to a plane of pure, joyful play, with a transcendental disregard for the one, all-encompassing, unbearable truth. Drinks will be provided. 

This event will be hosted by Yelena Moskovich,  a writer and artist, author of three novels, A Door Behind A Door, Virtuoso, long-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize, and The Natashas. Born in Ukraine (former USSR), she immigrated to the U.S. with her family as Jewish refugees in 1991, then again on her own to France in 2007. They studied dramatic writing at Emerson College, physical theatre at Ecole Jacques Lecoq, and received a Master of Arts, Esthetics, & Philosophy (Performing Arts) from Université Paris 8. They co-founded their own theatre company, La Compagnie Pavlov, in Paris (inactive since 2012). Her plays and performances have been produced in the US, Canada, France, and Sweden. Their writing has also appeared in publications such as Apartamento, Vogue, Frieze, Times Literary Supplement, Paris Review, Dyke_On Magazine, and most recently in Kuba Ryniewicz’s photography book, The Daily Weeding. In 2018, they served as a curator and exhibiting artist for the Los Angeles Queer Biennial.


Address: L’AiR Arts Association, 11 Cité Falguière, 75015 Paris

Dr. Monique Y. Wells Paris

Dr. Monique Y. Wells


11:00am – 1:00pm: SHORT FILM SCREENINGS

Join us for a curated collection of short films by student filmmakers and experimental directors from various eras and genres, where filmmakers transcend conventions and push the boundaries of cinema. Guests are free to attend any films that they wish on the program.

The films featured at our Festival Screening have been specially curated to reflect the transcendental, often chaotic, nature of the medium, from experimental works pushing the boundaries of light and sound, to allegorical stories of shadow and dissent.

Address: L’Épée de Bois Cinema, 100 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM: CREATIVE WORKSHOP: Writing From Art

Combine the skills of writing and paint by exploring the artwork of Lucas Beaufort and using it to inspire your writing. Writers will be given the opportunity to showcase their work and perform. Drinks and light snacks to be provided. 

The workshop will be led by Dr. Monique Y. Wells, founder and CEO of the Wells International Foundation, a U.S. nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower individuals, especially women and persons of African descent, to realize their highest potential through arts, literacy, study abroad, and other educational and cultural programs.

Dr. Wells will lead an exploration of the artist Beauford Delaney, a consummate artist and a warm-hearted man.  Delaney was a great teacher and a great listener.  Psychologically troubled, yet a profound inspiration to many.  As his career evolved, Delaney painted to tame his inner demons and harnessed them to produce his art.  His life and work are the perfect example of Chaos and Order that this festival seeks to explore.


Address: L’AiR Arts Association, 11 Cité Falguière, 75015 Paris


11:00am – 1:00pm: SCREENING AND Q&A: Director Paul Heintz

Join us for the screening of CHARACTER, by Paul Heintz, followed by a student-led Q&A with the director. Heintz’s film is an attempt to recreate unspeakable links between beings, texts and societies — a feat Heintz accomplishes through an exploration of the experimental and the fantastic.

Paul Heintz’s works explore through different mediums the reversibility of the relationships between reality and fiction, truth and simulation, normalcy and anomaly. The ordinary world thus appears strewn with art and simulacra which, because they are perfectly integrated into the fabric of everyday life, arouse effects of strangeness or burlesque that are all the more striking. Paul Heintz is a graduate of the National Superior School of Art and Design of Nancy, of the National Superior School of Decorative Arts in Paris and of Fresnoy, national studio of contemporary arts. He was the winner of the 2019 Emerige Revelations Prize and his first personal gallery exhibition was presented at gb agency in May 2021. 

Address: L’Épée de Bois Cinema, 100 Rue Mouffetard, 75005 Paris

6:00 PM – 8:00 PM : CLOSING EVENT: The Menteur Postgraduate Arts Magazine Launch

The editorial team of this year’s issue of The Menteur is proud to announce our theme of TRUTH. Join us for the launch of our latest issue in an evening featuring music, drinks, food and curated readings by published authors. 

The Menteur is a literary and arts magazine from the University of Kent Paris School of Arts and Culture. Our 2022 issue features artistic and creative works from the University of Kent student body and beyond to cumulate into a series of introspective mediums that convey the truth, in any sense of the word. Join us for our magazine’s official launch as well as food and drinks to celebrate.

If you are a published writer or artist with the 2022 issue of The Menteur and are interested in participating in the curated reading during this event, please indicate your interest in the RSVP form.


Address: Reid Hall, 4 Rue de Chevreuse, 75006 Paris

Postgraduate Festival and the Paris School of Arts and Culture

The Postgraduate Arts Festival is held annually and organised by a committee of our Master’s students. You can learn more about the festival on its website here. Discover more about the University of Kent’s Paris School of Arts and Culture and the various Master’s Programmes offered by the School at this link.

The Paris of the Impressionists

Although fields and country scenes are usually linked to Impressionism, most French Impressionist painters got their careers started off in urban Paris. As such, there are a number of places connected to the artists of this 19th-century art movement in and around the capital. After you’ve seen their works in the museums of Paris (suggestions at the end), head out onto the streets of Paris to see where the Impressionists painted.

Quai du Louvre, Claude Monet (1867)

The Seine River

The city’s iconic river appears in the works of the Impressionists, both inside and outside of Paris. Their love of the Seine might have been sparked in the early days of a small group of these artists, Monet, Sisley, Renoir and Bazille, who met in the studio of Charles Gleyre. It was located on the Right Bank of the river near on Quai du Louvre, in between Pont Neuf (more on this below) and the Pont des Arts, which was yet to be built. 

Over the course of the next thirty years these artist commemorated the Seine dozens of times, often from one of the guinguette dance halls which once dotted the river in the city’s western suburbs, like on the Ile de la Grande Jatte or the Ile de Chatou. You can trace the path of their paintbrushes on Chatou’s Chemin des Impressionistes walking route.

Art history master's in Paris

The Pont-Neuf, Wreck of Bonne Mère, Camille Pissarro (1901)

The Pont Neuf

Perhaps due to its location near Gleyre’s studio, Paris’s oldest bridge became a recurrent subject matter of the Impressionists. Renoir, Monet and Pissarro all immortalised the bridge, the latter of whom painted it several times (including the top image), as was common with the Impressionists. 

Study art history in Paris

The Tuileries (Study), Claude Monet (1876)

The Tuileries Gardens

Also near Gleyre’s studio, the Impressionists might have also appreciated this beautiful historic garden for its natural qualities. Easier to get to than the Normand countryside, the park was a popular place at the time for gatherings, as seen in pre-Impressionist Edouard Manet’s Music in the Tuileries Gardens. Monet, Study of the Tuileries. Monet was fond of the park and painted it from various angles, like the above study of the gardens.

Study art history in Paris

Le Pont de l’Europe, Gare Saint-Lazare, Claude Monet (1877)

Le Gare Saint-Lazare

Even though the Impressionists were more interested in nature, the technological advancements of the 19th century did occasionally appear in their art, including Paris’s first train station. Le Gare Saint-Lazare was also the station from where the Impressionists could access Normandy. The station was captured on several of Monet’s canvases. He explored different perspectives, from the interior as well as from the train bridge behind the station, le Pont de l’Europe, the locomotives billowing smoke creating a very impressionist effect.

Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette, Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Initially drawn to Montmartre in order to work on one of his most famous paintings, Renoir was likely the biggest fan of Montmartre of the Impressionists. He spent the summer of 1876 in this then very working class former village as he worked on Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette. The space he used as a studio and its gardens, where he painted The Swing, are now part of the Musée de Montmartre. From that moment until the early 20th century, Renoir lived and worked in Montmartre. Although the nearby cafés of Montmartre are rather touristy now, places like Le Consulat and La Bonne Franquette, were frequented by the Impressionists. Post-Impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh lived in Montmartre from 1886-88 and painted a number of scenes in the hilly district, included around a dozen paintings of the area’s moulin, its windmills, two of which still stand on rue Lepic, the same street the artist lived on (at #54)

Musee Marmottan Monet Paris

Musee Marmottan Monet

Where to See Impressionist Art in Paris

​​Several Paris museums have important collections of Impressionist art. The most famous of these is the Musée​​ d’Orsay, however, the Orangerie, the Musée Marmottan Monet and the Petit Palais museum also have wonderful collections and several of the works included above!

If you would like to delve deeper into the art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, consider pursuing our Master’s in the History and Philosophy of Art. Learn more about it, and our other MA programmes in film, creative writing and Medieval studies, at this link.

Top Image: Morning, Winter Sunshine, Frost, the Pont-Neuf, the Seine, the Louvre, Camille Pissarro (1901)

Save the Date for our Annual Paris Postgraduate Arts Festival

Our Paris School’s Five-day Postgraduate Arts Festival – 7-11 June 2022

We often fear change, but the disruption of truths, ideals, and the status quo have produced some of the most transformative movements in history.

The University of Kent Postgraduate Arts Festival is proud to present this year’s theme of Chaos and Order, with a series of free creative events in Paris that will challenge normalcy — bringing chaos into order and order out of chaos.


Watch Paris come alive with five days of curated film screenings, writing workshops, and art curations, hosted by creative professionals attuned to the arts’ impact on our ever-changing society. The Festival will also feature the launch of our postgraduate arts magazine, THE MENTEUR.

Stay tuned for the full program of events, which will be announced on our website. And be sure to follow our social media accounts for the latest news and guest announcements.

From 7 – 11 June, we invite you to join us in embracing chaos as an opportunity for personal, artistic and social growth.


We can’t wait to see you there!

University of Kent Paris Festival Team

Laura Cunliffe-Hall

Graduate Profile: Communications Professional Laura Cunliffe-Hall

In this edition of our Alumni Spotlight series we meet Laura Cunliffe-Hall. A graduate of our former English and American Literature programme, Laura’s experiences at our Paris School have helped her forge a wonderful career in communications and public affairs. Discover how her time in Paris, and the art of the flaneur, was transformative for her in this recent interview.

Where are you from and what originally brought you to Paris?

I’m a Kent local, I grew up and went to school in Dover, before moving away to the Midlands/Warwickshire to do my undergrad at the University of Warwick.

I’d spent many good times in Canterbury and was impressed by the University of Kent’s reputation, particularly for student satisfaction – but it was the opportunity to study English and American Literature abroad for a term in Paris that made it the location of choice for my Master’s degree.

I’d studied French at A Level and loved it – plus being in Dover, it was closer to get to France than to London! I’d also always wanted to live in France and particularly in the beautiful city of Paris – therefore, the stars aligned when I found the English and American Literature PSAC course!

What attracted you most about studying at PSAC?

PSAC is a very special place – it was the opportunity of a lifetime to get to study there. The course provided an in-depth overview of Modernism in Paris – focusing on legendary authors such as Jean Rhys and Gertrude Stein, alongside examining the experience of cultural diaspora in France. We could also continue learning and improving on our written and spoken French through language classes. The teaching staff were incredibly helpful and experts in their field.

In addition to this, we could contextualise our studies through visiting the many incredible galleries and museums across Paris (often for free or at very cheap student rates) which brought what we were learning to life so much more vividly.

Moreover, Reid Hall is a stunning building with great facilities and a beautiful garden – ideally located. It was also exciting to be able to use it as a base and meet students from Columbia University and all over the world.

Study abroad in Paris

What were some of the highlights of your experience?

Spending my days in the Palais du Tokyo, Musee de Picasso, l’Orangerie and Musee d’Orsay to name but a few! I’ve never felt as culturally enriched as I have in my time in Paris – a truly unique city to learn from and understand the world around you.

Inspired by the idea of being a flaneur, I also have fond memories of experiencing the city on foot in all weathers – taking in the beautiful sights by the Seine. We had a fantastic tight-knit group of expats from all over the world that hung out together and always had some memorable outings to bars and clubs – spending my 22nd birthday partying at Point Ephémère and a few wild jazz nights in Montmartre are some slightly foggy but still treasured memories! Meeting some fantastic friends I have for life and living with my flatmate Rosa (now a Dr and Creative Writing lecturer at the University of Kent) in Barbès also helped shape what was an incredible life experience at PSAC.

What are you currently doing and how did that come about?

I’m currently working in communications and public affairs, specialising in the development of sustainable economic and social infrastructure as a Senior Account Manager at Copper Consultancy. I’ll be moving on to focus on policy and public affairs in Westminster later this year, in my new role as a Policy Manager at the Institution of Civil Engineers. Alongside this, I’m the Chair of the Young Fabians and the Social and Digital Media Lead for Labour in Communications, running a mentoring programme for people entering politics from disadvantaged or under-represented backgrounds called IMPACT.

Strong communications is essential in politics, and working closely with communities reminds me constantly of the power of using your voice and standing up for what you believe in. Being a Young Fabian is all about being able to share ideas and work together in an inclusive, non-factional and vibrant environment. I’d strongly recommend anyone interested in left-wing politics and policy to join us! As Chair, my focus is on empowering and supporting our members as we focus on our theme of the year – ‘What does a Labour Britain look like for young people’.

I’d always been fascinated by the interconnection between Literature and politics and wrote my dissertation on the performativity of Jacobean power in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and Coriolanus. Therefore, combining my love of politics and writing through public affairs, policy and communications was the natural next step.

A month after graduating, I applied for a temporary job as a Junior Account Executive at Copper – moved to London and started my post Paris chapter!

Top tip – I found my jobs through a very useful website called

Do you think that your studies at PSAC helped with your career or creative endeavors?

Absolutely. Social and digital media are key aspects of my career – and acting as the Social Media Manager and Co-Organiser of our 2017 ‘Boundaries’ Conference in Paris was an important training experience from a communications and stakeholder management perspective.

Likewise meeting so many different people, each with a unique story, particularly in the aftermath of a Brexit vote that had been so divisive, was extremely helpful in reminding me why politics is so essential and gave me the confidence to use my voice and get involved.

Would you recommend PSAC to potential students and if so what would you tell them?

Always – PSAC was the time of my life and I miss it very much!

You’ll meet friends for life and expand your intellectual horizons in a stunning historically and culturally significant city (just stay away from the one euro wine you can buy opposite Rue Poulet!) So many fond memories of my time there – take a chance on Paris, you won’t regret it!

Merci beaucoup, Laura!

If you would like to get in touch with Laura, you can follow her on Twitter @LauraHall1995, connect with her on LinkedIn or check out our work at here.


The Best Contemporary Art Galleries in Paris

Paris is an artist’s city. In addition to its record number of museums, it is also the home to a plethora of art galleries. Visiting active art galleries is a great way to complement classroom study. Many of Paris’s top contemporary art galleries are located in the Upper Marais, yet some of the most avant-garde are in more alternative neighborhoods. Launch events, or vernissages, which are great occasions to mingle with the city’s art crowd over a free glass of wine. Some of these galleries also offer internships. Our list of the best contemporary art galleries is below – though be sure to check out what’s on on this handy site. 


Galerie Daniel Templon

One of the oldest contemporary galleries in Paris, Daniel Templon opened his first gallery in 1966 and moved to his current location near the Centre Pompidou in 1972. Prominent in the global art world, the gallery represents both established international artists and the rising stars of tomorrow.


Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Pantin Photo: © Philippe Servent / Paris info and top image

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Another long-standing contemporary art establishment in Paris, Ropac got his start in the art world at the young age of 22 as the assistant of Joseph Beuys. He’s represented international art legends like Robert Mapplethorpe and Gilbert & George. His art empire now includes galleries in London, Salzburg, the Upper Marais and a vast art centre within a former 19th-century boiler house in Paris’s northeastern suburb of Pantin dedicated to young talents and large format exhibits.

Marian Goodman Gallery Paris

© Marian Goodman Gallery Paris

Marian Goodman Gallery

Famed American galleriste Marian Goodman has had an outpost in the Upper Marais since 1999. Its regularly changing exhibits include the works of celebrated artists like Nan Golding, Steve McQueen and Annette Messager.

© Galerie Perrotin

Emmanuel Perrotin

Now with three spaces in the Marais and over a dozen others around the world, Emmanuel Perrotin has come a long way since his humble beginnings with a gallery in his own apartment in 1990. On display expect to find contemporary art heavy-weights like Takashi Murakami, Sophie Calle and JR.


© Jousse Entreprise Galerie

Galerie Jousse Entreprise

To see some of the best up and coming artists, track down this gallery in the Marais opened in 2001. You are more likely to find edgier artists as well as those experimenting with new technologies in their regularly changing exhibits.

Galerie Sultana

© Galerie Sultana

Galerie Sultana

Many modern day artists live in the Belleville neighborhood, therefore, it makes sense that there are a few good art galleries in the area. The gallery of Guillaume Sultana’s is among the best. Here you’ll find anything from abstract painting to installations.

Galerie Le Feuvre

© Galerie Le Feuvre

Galerie Le Feuvre

If you’re looking to see some urban art (and not out on the street), make your way to this gallery in the 8th arrondissement. Founded by Franck Le Feuvre in 2005, the gallery showcases the best street art as well as contemporary painting by artists like Invader,  SupaKitch, Sowat and Sixe Paredes. Learn more about the top Parisian street artists in this article

© Itinerrance Gallery

Itinerrance Gallery

This street art focused gallery is aptly located in the 13th arrondissement, one of the prime street art districts of the city. Opened by Mehdi Ben Cheikh in 2004, the gallery strives to support street artists and also collaborates with promoting and creating large scale street art murals in the area. Its exhibits feature both French and international street artists.

© Le Bal

Le Bal 

Tucked away on a cobbled lane near Place de Clichy, this independent arts venue mainly exhibits video, cinema, documentary photography and other new media. It has two floors of exhibition space and a great café where you can discuss what you saw afterwards with friends.

Further Art Studies & Explorations in Paris

Interested in studying art in a more in-depth way in Paris? Consider applying for our Master’s in the History and Philosophy of Art. More information on it and our other programmes here.

You might also enjoy these other art focused articles on our blog:

Exploring North African Heritage in Paris

Paris’ North African communities are an important and vibrant feature of the contemporary city. Links between mainland France and North Africa date back hundreds of years, though it was during – and after – France’s second colonial empire (post 1830), that North African immigrants began to permanently settle in large numbers in Paris. 

The history of French colonialism and postcolonialism is a complex one. This blog article does not endeavour to retrace that history here, though we do offer recommendations for essential further reading below.

We’ve compiled this list of places and books that will help you learn more about and understand North African heritage in Paris.

Goutte d'Or Paris

La Goutte d’Or

In the shadow of Montmartre is this thriving neighborhood and North African hub in Paris. Meaning “the Golden Drop”, bustling daily life revolves around the street of the same name, the Barbès métro and the Boulevard de la Chapelle. The latter is home to a fabulous street market, le Marché Barbès, held Wednesday and Saturday mornings. This is a great time to come and explore the area or come late afternoon during Ramadan when it is abuzz with shoppers picking up supplies for the iftar, the meal that marks the end of daily fasting.  


Institut des Cultures d’Islam / Facebook

Institut des Cultures d’Islam

This cultural establishment managed by the Paris City Council is found in two locations in the Goutte d’Or (19 rue Léon and 56 rue Stephenson). The multipurpose venue showcases  contemporary art exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, debates, Arab language lessons, calligraphy classes, cooking classes and other cultural activities. Many of the events are free so feel free to stop by or check out its website to see what’s on.


La Grande Mosque de Paris. Photo: Mosqpedia

La Grande Mosquée de Paris

The religious centre of France’s Muslim community is found in the 5th arrondissement. The oldest mosque in Paris, it was commissioned by the French State as a token of appreciation to the Muslim soldiers who fought for France in World War I and was completed in 1926. The vast complex features Moorish architecture, has a 33-metre-high minaret and a leafy courtyard where you can enjoy mint tea and North African pastry at its tea salon. It also has a renowned traditional hammam

Institut du Monde Arabe. Fred Romero / CC

Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute)

The Arab World Institute was founded in 1980 by France and 18 Arab countries with the aim of researching and disseminating the cultures and spiritual values of the Arab world. Located next to the Seine in the 5th arrondissement, the Institut is housed in an impressive building designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel and incorporates elements of Islamic architecture. In addition to an excellent museum, temporary exhibitions, it has a wonderful free library where you can study. Before leaving be sure to go up to its free access terrace on the top floor which has great views of Paris.



Literature by writers with North African roots

Literature is a great way to discover the unique perspective of Paris’s North African community. Dr Carine Fréville, who convenes our Diaspora and Exile module, recommends the following books by writers with North African roots and which are set in Paris. 

  • Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow (US) and Just Like Tomorrow (UK) by Faïza Guène
  • The Seine was Red by Leïla Sebbar
  • With Downcast Eyes by Tahar Ben Jelloun
  • Topographie idéale pour une agression caractérisée by Rachid Boudjedra
  • Lullaby and The Perfect Nanny by Leïla Slimani
  • Tea in the Harem by Medhi Charef
  • Mes mauvaises pensées or Tomboy by Nina Bouraoui

Must-reads for understanding the historical context and contemporary debates

  • The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France by Todd Shepard
  • A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 by Alice Conklin
  • The Algerian War, the Algerian Revolution by Natalya Vince
  • The Memory of Colonialism in Britain and France: The Sins of Silence by Itay Lotem
  • Paris 1961: Algerians, State Terror, and Memory by Jim House and Neil MacMaster
  • Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation and Citizenship in the French Colonies by Emmanuelle Saada
  • Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade by Assia Djebar


Film Studies in Paris

Nouvelle Vague Movie Locations in Paris

La Nouvelle Vague, the French New Wave movement of the late 1950s to 1960s, left an undeniable mark on cinema history not just in France, but around the globe. As many of its director’s were based in Paris, it’s not surprising that the French capital often starred in their works. Their innovative use of portable camera equipment also made it easier for the movement’s filmmakers to use the city as their set. You can delve into the world of the Nouvelle Vague by scouting out these film locations around the city.

Daguerréotypes - Agnes Varda

Daguerréotypes – Agnès Varda


The area around our Paris School was a prime location for Nouvelle Vague directors. The greatest of these was Agnès Varda, who lived on la Rue Daguerre,  which she immortalised in Daguerréotypes, a 1976 documentary illustrating life on this vibrant market street (predominantly shot between numbers 70-90). Montparnasse also appeared in her film Cléo de 5 à 7 (Cléo from 5 to 7), in particular the Café Le Dôme and the Parc Montsouris. Jean-Luc Godard selected the classic Montparnasse café La Rotonde for a scene in his cult classic A Bout de Souffle (Breathless). Right around the corner from the school and south of the Luxembourg Gardens, rue Michelet also appeared in Rohmer’s Le Beau Mariage (A Good Marriage).

Study Film in Paris

A Bout de Souffle – Jean-Luc Godard

L’Avenue des Champs Elysées

Although there is less interest in strolling Paris’s most famous avenue today, now mostly lined with chain shops, Les Champs Elysées was the backdrop of several New Wave films. The most iconic of these is Jean-Luc Godard’s A Bout de Souffle (Breathless), whose main characters Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) and Patricia (Jean Seberg) meet on the street where she’s selling newspapers. Eric Rohmer’s first full-length feature, Le Signe du Lion (The Sign of Leo), was shot on the avenue and around Place de l’Etoile, which was also captured in Jacques Rivette’s Paris nous appartient (Paris Belongs to Us).

Film Studies in PAris

Le Signe du Lion – Eric Rohmer

The Seine 

The banks of the Seine River starred in a range of Nouvelle Vague films. Rohmer’s Le Signe du Lion showcased the walkway along the river as well as one of the city’s loveliest bridges, Le Pont des Arts. The bridge also appears in Rivette’s Paris nous appartient and Charbrol’s films Les Godelureaux (Wise Guys) and Les Biches (The Does).

French Film studies in Paris

Les 400 Coups François Truffaut, no. 16 rue Fontaine


Having grown up in the then middle class 9th district, south of Pigalle, many of François Truffaut’s films revisit his childhood haunts. Les 400 Coups (The 400 Blows) had a number of scenes shot in the area, especially in and around rue des Martyrs, Avenue Frochot and rue Fontaine (at number 16 where the boys are looking out of the rooftop skylight). Main character Antoine Doinel ambles the busy Boulevard de Clichy, which runs from near Place Pigalle to Place de Clichy, and also goes to the movies at le Wepler, a movie theatre still standing, albeit in a modern incarnation, on Place de Clichy. Sadly le Gaumont Palace, once the largest movie theatre in Europe, has now been replaced by DIY store Castorama.

Baiser Volés – François Truffaut, rue Navarin


Truffaut was also fond of nearby Montmartre, whose back streets feature in Les Quatre Cents Coups as well as in his 1968 film Baisers Volés (Stolen Kisses), especially around l’Avenue Junot, la rue de Steinkerque and la rue Caulaincourt. The above shot from the film was actually filmed on rue Navarin in the 9th, but looks up towards Sacré-Coeur and la Butte de Montmartre. He shot a scene in L’Amour en Fuite (Love on the Run) in the Montmartre Cemetery, which turned out to be his final resting place.

Paris Vu Par...

Paris Vu Par…

Paris vu par… 

Lastly, for a grand tour of the city watch Paris vu par… (Six in Paris), a collection of vignettes by the leading directors of the movement and released in 1965. Jean Douchet focuses on the intellectual Saint-Germain-des-Prés area, including the Café de Flore and the Institut de France and the Musée Delacroix.  Jean Rouch’s short is on the working-class Gare du Nord area and rue Lafayette. Claude Chabrol selected the bourgeois 16th district around La Muette in contrast to  Jean-Daniel Pollet’s seedy Rue Saint-Denis. Rohmer revisited Place de l’Etoile and Godard travelled from a sculptor’s workshop in Montparnasse to the suburb of Levallois.

Passionate about film and its history? Study Film in Paris by pursuing our Master’s in Film Programme. Learn more about it, and our other MA Programmes in the Humanities, at this link.