Sciences “Pauses”: where to go on your study break in Paris!

16 November 2023

In this article, Hazel, an Arts and Sciences student studying abroad at Sciences Po in Paris, will give you a quick tour of the campus and recommend a few places nearby to explore when you need a change of scenery. You thought UCL was the most centrally located university in the

Studying at Sciences Po can feel very intense: like UCL, it is a ‘city university’ and there are a lot of students in not very much space. However, when you need to unwind (or escape), the campus is ideally located to explore other parts of the city!

The Sciences Po ‘campus’:
Located across the 6th and 7th arrondissements on the southern bank of the Seine (rive gauche), Sciences Po has two main sites, as well as a collection of other buildings, where students have classes, socialise or study. I spend most of my time at 27 Rue Saint Guillaume (known by students as the vignt-sept), where most of the lecture theatres are, as well as the main library and a large cafeteria. However, you can also find other study spaces at St Thomas, which opened in 2022 and is only a 3-minute walk away. Dedicated to supporting research activity, this site is a postgraduate hub, but it has much more reliable WiFi and is open to everyone! An ideal starting point to explore! Before I started my classes, I knew that I wanted to take advantage of the free monuments and cultural sites I could visit in the local area because Paris, like London, is a very expensive city! However, I quickly discovered that there are many places that are only a 15-minute walk from the vignt-sept! The real question is: which direction do you want to go? This section will summarise a few of my favourite places to visit when you need a break from studying but is not at all an extensive list!


If you walk along Rue Saint Pères until you reach the Seine and cross the Pont du Carousel, you will reach the pyramid of the Louvre. Just seeing the landmark might be enough, but if you have more time, you could also stop by to observe the Mona Lisa! The best thing is, it’s free if you’re a resident of the EU and under 25!


If museums aren’t really your thing, no worries! A stone’s throw from campus are two famous cafés, Café de Flore et Les Deux Magots, which have hosted many famous thinkers over the years, including Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre and James Baldwin. You can stop by for a coffee or a meal—it’s a great place to people watch!


If, like me, you need to stretch your legs a bit in between classes, taking a walk in the Luxembourg Gardens may be for you! A calm park in the middle of the city, you can visit the Medici Fountain or the marvel at the Baroque architecture of the French Senate.


Finally, if you choose to go west, you’ll reach the Musée d’Orsay! Here, you can see Degas’ Little Dancer, van Gogh’s Starry Night or some of Monet’s Lily Pond series, and like at the Louvre, it’s free! But, if you still have a bit of time to kill and decide to keep walking, you’ll eventually reach the Eiffel Tower!


Further afield?
The landmarks I’ve described are very centrally located, but there is more to Paris than just the city centre! We are spoiled for choice in St-Germain-de-Près because many monuments are within a short walking distance, but if you want to explore more, the neighbourhood is a great starting place to venture further afield via metro, bus or city bike. I can’t wait to explore more of the city and look forward to taking you with me on my next adventure!