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Finding the Right International School in France

By Betsy Burlingame

Summary: Choosing an international school in France can be a difficult decision. This article provides an overview of some popular international schools in Paris and other areas of France.

Education - Finding the Right International School in France

Choosing the right school for your children is often the most important decision for a family relocating to France. Depending upon the nature and length of your stay, you may be considering a local school or you may be looking only at international schools. Expats in France have submitted reports about international schools in France in our International School Profiles. These reports provide helpful insight about some of the international schools and American schools in France from a parent's perspective. Take a few minutes to submit a review of your child's school.

Here are a few of the international schools in France that have been reviewed on our site. Keep in mind that there are

International Schools in Paris or Suburban Paris

The International School of Paris is the only English-speaking school in the city of Paris offering all three IB programs, which span from Nursery through 12th Grade. This school has two campuses in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. When asked about the school's extracurricular activities, one ExpatExchange member said, "Facilities are good bearing in mind it is an inner-city school. The primary school is house in two attractive large houses in a quiet street. There is a small outdoor play area and the children are taken to nearby Ranelagh Park every day, which is a lovely park. Nice colourful classrooms. The high school is in more of a central city location, but is also near Trocadero Gardens, where the younger high school kids are taken each day for break. Good classrooms, library, gym and science labs. Excellent extra curricular programme for Grade 6 upwards - a real highlight for our son and all activities included in the fees. Includes cultural and sporting activities (which take place in nearby stadiums and pools)."

Just outside of Paris, in Saint-Cloud, is the American School of Paris. Pre-K through high school are all situated on a 10-acre suburban campus. The American School of Paris offers an American curriculum. ExpatExchange member explained, "This a truly American-style school. My children were very comfortable from day one at the school. A student buddy welcomed them and they were off with a smile. This is not a bilingual school but French is taught daily. We are happy with our children at The ASP. For those that will only be here briefly this school will allow the kids to return to the US with little problem academically."

Marymount International School of Paris is a Catholic international school offering an American curriculum for students ages 3 through 14. Marymount is located 15 minutes from the heart of Paris in the community of Neuilly-sur-Seine. One ExpatExchange.com member said, "[Marymount] Provided them a good, secure atmosphere to blossom in an alien land. Caring teachers and well behaved (mostly!) kids made the transition easy."

American Section of Lycee International in St.Germain-en-Laye, a western suburb of Paris, is a private American program within the French public system for students in pre-K through 12th grade. This unique program offers a combined American French curriculum in one of Frances top public schools, Lycee International. An ExpatExchange.com member explained, "The American Section is a very demanding program. It affords children a quality bicultural education in contact with other youngsters from 11 other language sections (ranging from Japanese to Swedish and Portugese."

The Sections Internationales de Sèvres (SIS Chaville-Sèvres) is located in Sevres, just outside of Paris and accessible by public transportation. It offers a complete bilingual (French-English or French-German) education for students in pre-K through 12th grade. One parent explained, "The school has native-english speaking teachers for the English section and Native German speakers for the German section. The international section is run by an elected committee of parents. There is also a teaching staff representative. They organise many events throughout the year for parents and families."

On the eastern side of Paris in the rural village of Montry is Ecole Internationale de Marne-la-Vallee. This small school offers a bilingual education for children from all over the world. One parent described, "Most of the families in the school have relocated from somewhere else, so the faculty are very well accustomed to kids who are feeling out of place. (And because most of the kids are from another country, there is a common bond amongst them.) One-on-one tutoring is a regular feature, and the school has been really terrific at helping our child adapt to another culture and another language."

International Schools in Fontainebleau, France

Centre Actif Bilingue offers a bilingual education for students in pre-K through 9th grade. "The school is run by the parents! So it's up to the parents to set up all kinds of social activities where you can meet other parents. It's really a community! There's a cross-country race, Christmas fair, Fun day in June, picnic at the beginning of the school year so you can interact with other parents. After a few months your child won't have a free Saturday or Wednesday afternoon with all the parties the children invite each other to..."

Anglophone Section of Fontainebleau (aka International School of Fontainebleau) is an English section of a French public school for students ages 6 through 17. There are three separate schools, Primary for ages 6-10, College for ages 11-14 and Lycee for ages 15-17. The school has classes taught in English, but follows the French national curriculum. Students graduate with a French baccalaureate with International Option (IOB). A parent of a student at this school described their experiences there, "We really like the balance we've found of being able to keep our children up to speed (or ahead of) in their English courses while at the same time being able to take advantage of all the French system has to offer."

International Schools in Chantilly, France

Bilingual Montessori School de l'Oise is located in Chantilly, France and offers a bilingual Montessori education for children ages 3 to 11. One parent said, "The structured Montessori method offers activities to children according to their own interests, and allows them to progress through their exercises according to their individual levels of development. It is without a doubt the best school in the area. The teachers are experienced and gifted."

International Schools in Côte d'Azur

EBICA (Ecole Bilingue Internationale Côte d'Azur) is located in the heart of Sophia Antipolis (near Nice) and offers a bilingual education in both French and English curriculums for children ages 3 through 14. A parent described the school by saying, "You immediately feel the warm atmosphere of the school when your kids start at EBICA. They make a big effort to create a special bond with each parent. In addition they have a parents association called the CSF. This actively assists newcomers to integrate into the community. This has been really useful to get to know other families and not to feel alone!"

Mougins School is located on a modern campus in the Côte d'Azur village of Mougins about 15 minutes north of Cannes. It follows the British curriculum for children in pre-K through Form 13. One parent said, "There wasn't much done to transition from American to British curriculum, although there was a great deal of "tolerance" about the different handwriting style and spelling differences between the languages. There is a great Parent-Teacher organization that is always welcoming to newcomers."

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder of Expat Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Some of Betsy's more popular articles include 6 Best Places to Live in Costa Rica, 12 Things to Know Before Moving to The Dominican Republic and 7 Tips for Obtaining Residence in Italy. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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First Published: Sep 20, 2010

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