Erasmus Experience in Lyon, France by Siân


Why did you choose to go to Lyon, France?

I chose Lyon as it is the second largest city in France, so a good alternative to Paris which I thought would be too expensive for me. It is also a great geographical location which means you can take cheap buses and visit lots of nearby cities and towns that are beautiful and you're even on the doorstep of Switzerland. It is also the gastronomic capital of France which means the food here is literally amazing, the best food you will have in your life.

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How long is the scholarship? How much money do you receive to help you with living costs?

I am here for a full academic year and I receive 350 euros a month from Erasmus. I also have a part time job teaching English to French children which helps a lot with getting by and these kinds of jobs are super easy to find.

What is the student lifestyle like in Lyon?

Day to day expenditures can be quite expensive here but the local culture and alternatives to supermarket shopping, such as the weekly markets in every square with amazing produce, not only make food shopping cheaper but also much more tasty. It is a huge student cities as there are numerous universities and therefore a large student population and therefore there is loads to do in terms of nightlife and meeting many French students as well as other international students. The French people here are also much more friendly than in Paris. The city itself is a perfect size, there are a few different arrondissements but everything is in close proximity to another and the transport is amazing, very cheap and efficient. It is honestly one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been and there is so much to do in terms of cultural stuff, such as museums and galleries.

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Would you recommend the city and the University of Lyon to other students?

I would definitely recommend coming to Lyon for your year abroad.

What is the food like?

As I said above, the food is the best in France, and French cuisine is arguably the best in the world so you have an amazing food experience if you come here.

Did it cost you to find your accommodation in Lyon?

No, I went with an agency called Chez Nestor which makes it very easy for international students as you don't need a guarantor or anything like that. Their rooms are very nice and much more affordable than acommodation you would find in somewhere like Paris.

How much does it cost to live in Lyon?

I spend around 70 a week including all food shopping, outing with friends and any other additional cost.

Is the language easy to get to grips with? Are there language courses available at the University?

I study at Sciences PO and there are French classes available to help international students. You will find you pick up French very quickly as soon as you arrive here and locals are very helpful when they can see you are struggling with your French, so don't worry about that.

What's the easiest or most economical way to travel to Lyon from your city?

I live in the heart of Lyon, in the 7th arrondissement so I can walk to everything I need. If you are living in any other arrondissement or even on the outskirts the metro links are very cheap and quick and you can get to wherever you want to go in half an hour tops. There are also city bikes available at a cost of 16 euros a year for subscription you can use them as much as you like and you'll find everything in Lyon is within biking distance.

Where would you recommend to go on a night out in Lyon?

In terms of nights out, it depends what kind of thing you are looking for. When the weather is nice the cheapest and best thing to do is to just go to the river quais where thousands of young people gather every night to drink wine and chat. This is a great place for a chilled evening and to meet new people. There are clubs for every music taste - Le Petit Salon is great if you're into techno and Le Sucre is great for live music and more varied genres. There are also several boat clubs and bars that are also great.

And for eating? Can you recommend some good restaurants in Lyon?

Lyon is literally crawling with great restaurants. The best places to eat are the traditional "bouchons lyonnais" where you can eat like the locals (very very well) for a very reasonable price. You will not get better food elsewhere. The best bouchons are in Bellecour and Vieux Lyon, where there are literally hundreds and you will enjoy wherever you choose!

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What good cultural sites are there to visit?

The Basilica is a must-see and it is located in Fourviere, where there are also Roman ruins to visit. The parc de la Tête d'Or is a huge park in the city centre that even has a zoo and is a great place to go when the weather is nice. The 1st arrondissement has lots of museums including the musée des beaux arts and the 2nd arrondissement which is more modern and trendy has a contemporary museum. You won't run out of things to do, the whole city is a beautiful site as the architecture is marvelling all over. The old town (vieux Lyon) is particularly stunning and you will pass through here to get to the basilica so definitely stop off to go to a bouchon or visit the cathedral.

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Is there any other advice that you could give to students going to Lyon in the future?

My advice would be, do your food shopping at the local markets rather than the supermarkets and you will eat so much better for surprisingly much less. Otherwise, be aware it is a rather expensive city. Don't fall into international student traps that arrange night outs that are expensive and not worth going to.


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