Oct 10th, 2023, 09:00 AM

Why AUP Students Are Flocking to the 14eme Arrondissement

By Gabby Bashizi
Rue Des Thermopyles, 75014. A private street inspired by Greek architecture and greenery / Image credit: Gabby Bashizi
Students comment on why they're leaving the city center for the periphery arrondissements

People in Paris move. A lot. The quest to find the perfect neighborhood is one that many AUP students are familiar with. Considerations of cost, commute, and community are among the primary concerns that one might have when choosing a new place to live. Each one of the twenty arrondissements in Paris offers, within it, a myriad of different smaller neighborhoods. Each one of these has its own allures and its own pitfalls. In a sweeping observation of AUP students today, most can be seen concentrated in the more popular areas: the 6ème, 7ème, and the 16ème. Places that have both AUP student housing and beautiful personal apartments. They’re also close to school. Neighborhoods that are quiet, safe, and welcoming to students who are new to living in Paris. 

Yet there is another place in the city that has seen a convergence of AUP's students. This place has many of the same qualities as these more popular neighborhoods: the streets are safe to walk around in at night, the amenities are accessible and affordable, and the commute to school isn’t very long. This neighborhood is unique, though. It is different from where students might typically have lived in the past: its population is far more French and far older than might be expected for an area so popular with students. Yet therein lies the allure of the 14ème arrondissement. 

The particular area that AUP students appear to be flocking to is the south-western part of the arrondissement, the area which lies just south of Tour Montparnassee and just west of the Catacombs.

The view from student Jenna Farra's balcony during a magnificent sunset / Image credit: Gabby Bashizi

In the last year, AUP student Jenna Farra says that she's experienced an uptick in sightings of her fellow classmates in the Monoprix below her apartment. Although her roommates and she have lived there for nearly 18 months, this phenomenon of unexpected encounters is fairly recent. The appeal is evident, though. Rue Raymond-Losserand, in the heart of this student hotspot, is lined with a diverse array of affordable restaurants. There's a healthy mix of traditional French food from every region of the country dispersed between a wide range of international cuisine. The street is also host to an array of more modern, cutesy coffee shops, vibrant produce markets, and small bookstores. It is the epitome of the lovely Paris street, without the throngs of confused tourists.

Magda, of AUP's class of 2023, says that she loves the 14ème because it feels like a place she can call home. "I love this feeling of community that I've found here. Over time, I've had the opportunity to get to know many of my neighbors, and now we've become friends. This sense of connection within the community is something I cherish."

Distance between area mentioned and AUP Combes building

Mallory, whose apartment rests comfortably between stations on Line 13, wrote with enthusiasm: “I love the diversity of the 14th and of course the affordability. The feeling here is much more casual (if that makes sense) and I definitely feel more at home here…” she explained, in comparison with her old neighborhood in the 16ème arrondissement. “I also love the proximity to school. You’re far enough that you don’t feel like you’re constantly there, but it’s still walking distance.” 

Jardin Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat, less than a 10 min walk from the aforementioned area / Image credit: Gabby Bashizi

All of the qualities that Mallory observes about the 14ème are true. There are quite a few others that are notable as well though, chief among them being the strong sense of community that exists between neighbors in this area. On the street, your walk might be interrupted by an old woman shouting across the street to another, asking about the grandkids. The bakery line might be a little longer, but only because the boulangère is taking her time to ask each customer how their day is going. She automatically grabs their regular bread order as she chats casually with her customers.

This friendliness doesn't just extend to friendships between French neighbors, either. Jenna explains her unspoken friendship with the Kebab men down the street. “The highlight of my daily commute home is always waving at the local kebab store owners. A gesture so simple yet it embodies the essence of the community, conveying a sense of recognition and friendliness which is often forgotten in the busy streets of Paris. They’re just so cute, they make me feel so happy!!!”. This neighborhood is a lovely pocket in the hectic Parisian landscape. More than just somewhere students come back to at the ends of their days, the 14ème is a true home. Abroad, away from families and familiar faces, young students can regain this sense of community that is missing from the larger Paris landscape. In a city that goes rushing by every day, having a small niche where people care for each other can make all the difference. This is the sense of security and comfort that is found in the 14ème. This is why students are flocking to the neighborhood. This is the appeal for the move and this is why they decide to stay.