La Vie en CLO

Bienvenue! Welcome to the CLO Paris Blog and Website.

Enrolling in a French School

French Public Schools

Public schools are located in every arrondissement of Paris. Locating one which will suit your children’s needs might require a bit of research and exploration.


You are allocated a school in your arrondissement or perimeter, as it is done in most cities in the States.  In order to register your children to the public schools you will need to obtain the registration forms through your neighborhood’s town hall, called the Mairie d’arrondissement. Visit:

To find all of the Ecoles Elémentaires, Collèges and Lycées – public and private – of your neighborhood and of all Paris in general, visit this very practical webpage:

The following must be brought to a Mairie in order to register a child:

  • Your child’s birth certificate.  An official transcript of the birth certificate may be requested.  All costs of translation are covered by the parent(s).
  • Proof of residence in the arrondissement (or town).  Human Resources at the embassy will provide you with a proof of residency.
  • A copy of the child’s immunization records.
  • A BCG waiver form for the child.  Inquire at the Health Unit on how to obtain this.
  • Proof that you are the child’s legal guardian.

Each of these items is required without exception.  The Bureau d’École will process the application and provide you with a document with the address and contact information of the school where your child will attend.

Make an appointment to meet with the Directrice/Directeur (Pricipal) of the school your child will attend.  Bring the documentation from the Mairie; the Directrice/Directeur will assign your child to a class during this meeting.

French Schools Overview

French to American School System Equivalents 

French to American School System Equivalents

Upper School Considerations

In the French school system, at the end of 2nde (10th grade) students have to choose the section they want to go at the start of 1ère (11th grade).

There are three sections in the general Lycée:

– Scientific Section (Section Scientifique)

– Social Sciences section (Section Economique et Sociale)

– Literary Section (Section Littéraire)

This decision will count for their end-of-school diploma, the Baccalauréat (Le Bac). A huge importance is given to the Bac, as high achievement is imperative to study in universities and most colleges. The students have their French exams (oral and written) and TPE (a sort of group presentation) at the end of 1ère they have the rest of their subjects at the end of Terminale, the last year.

Bac Exams: Which Section, Which Subjects, Which Year?

Bac Exams

Students also have to choose a subject in which they specialize, and they can also choose an option such as a Latin, Ancient Greek, a third foreign language or Sports.

Primary School Considerations

The French equivilent to elementary school is École Maternelle.  The Maternelle is part of the French public school system and is divided into Petite, Moyenne and Grande sections, depending on age (between 3 and 6).  Children must be toilet trained to attend.  The average number of students per class is 30.  Tuition is free to residents.  Hours of attendance vary.  Classes start between 8:30 am and 9:00 am and go until 4:00 pm or 4:30 pm.  There is a two hour break midday when children come home for lunch and naps.  French schools usually do not hold classes on Wednesday because this day is traditionally reserved for extra-curricular activities.  The schools offer a hot lunch for children staying at school and their meal is supervised.  However, due to lack of cafeteria space, children whose parents work outside the home will have priority for hot lunches.  Children with a stay-at-home parent need to be picked up at 12 noon and returned by 2:00 pm.

Sports Considerations

Students usually have 2 hours of P.E. per week. For the Baccalauréat they are evaluated in three times – once at the end of each Terminale trimester – after a whole trimester of practice of each sport of their “menu”. They practice one sport per trimester.

A medical sport certificate is a necessary, mandatory pre-requisite for any child (or adult) to participate in sports in France.  The certificate must be issued by a doctor, specific to the sport, and is valid for one year.

Private French Catholic Schools

There are numerous private catholic schools in France and a large number in Paris. One of our French Friends of CLO suggested:

-Terminale at Lycée Stanislas ( in the 6th arrondissement.

– Jesuite Collège-Lycée in the 16th called Saint-Louis de Gonzague (

The private schools are highly competitive and the dossiers d’inscription should be filled as soon as possible.

If you would like to make a more detailed research on private schools, try these links (in French):

Ecoles Primaires (Maternelle and Elémentaire):