Guide for foreign residents
The necessary steps to settling in

Children & families

Visuel d'illustration

The ABC of schooling: where should I enrol my child? Which suitable systems are available? All the answers to your questions so that you child settles into the French school system successfully.


Several childcare options are available for young children in Paris. Paris City Hall offers various solutions: municipal crèches, for children from 2 months old to 3 years; day nurseries for children from 3 months to 6 years, two or three times per week, and also parent-run crèches, kindergarten, etc. Obtain more information at the town hall of your arrondissement.

Nursery and primary schools

From the age of three, your child may be enrolled in a nursery school. Nursery schools are free of charge but not compulsory and are open to two-year olds subject to available places. To obtain an enrolment certificate, contact the schools office in your arrondissement town hall.

Education is compulsory as of six years of age. Depending to his/her level of French, you child will be enrolled in a mainstream class, possibly with catch-up lessons, or in a French immersion class (C.L.I.N.), full-time for three, six or nine months, or part-time. Contact your arrondissement town hall.

If your child encounters difficulties at school, he/she can follow an educational extracurricular course. These courses are organised in several towns by associations working with teachers.

In certain primary schools, children can even study their language of origin. Lessons are given by teachers recruited by the countries of origin, when permitted by bilateral agreements. Otherwise, lessons may be given outside school hours in the school building if an agreement has been signed with the consulates concerned.

Collège and lycée (high schools and sixth-form colleges)

At high school or sixth-form college, your child will be enrolled either in a mainstream class, and may be able to have extra French lessons, or in a reception class for non-French speakers. You can consult the registration form on the website of the Centre académique pour la scolarisation des nouveaux arrivants et des enfants du voyage (C.A.S.N.A.V. – academic centre for the schooling of new arrivals and children of the travelling community).

Children can also study their language of origin as part of their schooling. The language can be chosen as a first foreign language in sixième class (12 years of age), a second foreign language in quatrième class (14 years of age), or lastly as a third foreign language in seconde class (16 years of age).

When this is not possible, the Ministry for Education plans to start up extracurricular lessons on languages and cultures of origin in high schools and vocational colleges (L.E.P. – lycée d’enseignement professionnel). These lessons will be given by teachers provided by the countries concerned, under the condition of bilateral agreements.

International schools

There are several international schools and sixth-form colleges in Paris: Ecole Active Bilingue, International School of Paris, lycée-collège Honoré de Balzac, United Nations Nursery School, Ecole Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel, etc.

Leisure activities

Outside school hours, Paris City Hall offers a range of activities for children. Recreation centres look after children from 3 to 13 years of age on Wednesdays and during school holidays. Youth centres, open to all, offer more than three hundred different activities each year in all fields ranging from sports to music.


The Centre académique pour la scolarisation des nouveaux arrivants et des enfants du voyage (CASNAV - academic centre for the schooling of new arrivals and children of the travelling community) in the Paris educational authority helps foreign children and their families with schooling issues in the capital.

Address (for enrolment):
44, Rue Alphonse Penaud, 75020 Paris
Metro: Saint Fargeau or Porte de Bagnolet.

For information, please write to:
CASNAV de l'académie de Paris
94, Avenue Gambetta
75984 Paris cedex 19

» Consult the CASNAV website

» Consult the "Enrolling in primary school" document PDF (628 Ko)

» Consult the "Protection for mother & child" document PDF  (620 Ko)

» Consult the "Directory of Early Childhood Programs" document PDF  (3,57 Mo)

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