What you should know about French boarding schools

In France, no typical boarding school culture has developed as in England or Australia. French boarding schools are therefore not to be compared with the well-known boarding schools of these countries. They are predominantly affiliated to schools such as the French “Lycées“, to save pupils from long home journeys.

Nevertheless there are more and more international boarding schools in France, whose programmes do justice to those of the boarding schools in the English-speaking world.

Three types of boarding school can be distinguished in France
Internats de semaine – Weekly Boarding Schools
Schools with affiliated boarding schools are geared towards those pupils for whom no school exists in their neighbourhood or who have family problems, etc.

Weekly boarding schools are, as a rule, open from Monday to Saturday. Pupils who have no possibility to go home at weekends can be accommodated with guest families.

Internats permanents – Permanent Boarding Schools
In contrast to weekly boarding schools, pupils at permanent boarding schools are looked after both at the weekend and during the holidays. Therefore they are also often called “Internats à l’année“ (Year round boarding schools).

Pupils whose parents work overseas have the opportunity to live and study at these boarding schools. Specific care is offered both during school hours, at the weekends and during the holidays. This includes sport, leisure activities and excursions.

Internats Internationaux – International Boarding Schools
International boarding schools provide all-day care for pupils. They are open to all nationalities and offer individual programmes to cater for all wishes:
  • bi- or multilingual programmes, geared towards both French and international students
  • Courses in French as a foreign language for students who decide on a scholastic/academic career in France
  • Courses/study content correspond to those in the home country, to enable problem-free reintegration for the pupils.
International boarding schools offer high-quality education geared towards various nationalties (teaching in small groups, individualised, educationally sound), as well as numerous varied free-time programmes: leisure, sport, excursions, etc.


The prerequistes for admission and regulations vary from school to school. As a rule, weekly boarding schools prioritise those students who come from places where there is no corresponding class or branch of study.

Here are a few criteria which are often required:
  • Guardian/Tutor: pupils must be able to present a tutor who is resident in the vicinity of the boarding school. He/she should represent the parents in technical administrative matters and take responsibility for the pupil in case of problems (in case of illness, misconduct, school closure, etc.)
  • Consent and Acceptance of the boarding school rules by parents and pupils
  • Vaccinations and Medical Insurance: adequate vaccination and medical insurance are obligatory.
  • Visa: possession of a visa; as a rule for overseas students.

Costs and Financing

On average the fees for a weekly boarding school affiliated with a state school amount to between 600 and 1200 euros per year. Private schools with integrated weekly boarding schools are obviously more expensive. The costs here amount to 1500 to 4000 Euros.

Permanent and international boarding schools – for these schools there are considerable variations in cost, which depend above all on the accommodation, the leisure activities offered and the reputation of the school. The costs for a year’s stay can amount to between 4000 and 12000 Euros.

Boarding School Financial Assistance

In France since 2001 an additional state allowance of 231 Euros for boarding school stays has been granted. Pupils who are already state-supported are entitled to this support. The sum is paid out in three instalments.

For further information on boarding schools in France please contact the French association CIDE:

Since 1986 the CIDE association has endeavoured to give support to parents, pupils and students in their search for suitable educational institutions. CIDE is specialised in the private education sector and can comprehensively advise on the planning of academic and professional careers.

CIDE - Centre d'Information et de Documentation sur l'Enseignement privé
84, boulevard Saint-Michel
75006 Paris
Tél.: +33 1 53 10 33 20

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