Culture Classes


There are many ways to brush up on your Arabic.  Or perhaps your PowerPoint skills…or even sewing, cooking, photography, woodwork.   The Mairie de Paris offers all these things and at a great price.  Between the months of September and July, you can apply to join these courses.  For its complete offerings, visit the website Cours municipaux pour adultes de Paris.  You will find application forms and deadlines.  Don’t forget the various embassies and cultural centers, which can offer language courses, cooking classes, or dance lessons of their respective country.

Mairie de Paris

For annual classes and first semester-only classes, sign-ups are between September 1-10, as the courses normally start the last week in September.  For the second semester classes, sign-ups are in the first two weeks of January for a start date in the first week of February.

To apply, download and print the application form of the school year for which you are applying.  Make sure to fill it out properly and completely, andmail to the address of the establishment where the courses of the class you’re interested in will take place.  This address is listed on the individual class pages on the website.  The number of places in the classes are limited, so it’s a first-applied, first-accepted basis.  You will receive a letter telling you if you’re been accepted, information about your first class, and any other instructions.  Your application can be refused if you do not have a sufficient skill level (say, you have never taken Chinese before and you apply for the intermediate course).  You may be accepted but on the condition that you pass a certain test demonstrating your capability.

All courses are between 6:30pm and 9:30pm on weekdays, and sometimes during the day on Saturday.  They are largely held in elementary, secondary and high schools.

Brenna once applied to learn Chinese, but was refused because she mailed her form in too early.  Upon receiving it back in the mail, she mailed it again and was told she was too late.  This is her only personal experience with the Cours municipaux, but in principle these classes could be awesome.  She does know someone who successfully took Arabic classes through the Mairie once a week for nine months and loved the people he met, the teacher, and the method.

Embassies and Cultural Centers

The Marie de Paris has put together a list of the most active foreign cultural centers in Paris.  On its Foreign Cultural Centers website, you will find Ireland, Japan, Latin America, Denmark, the British Council, Spain, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, Korea, Germany, Belgium, Hungry, and the Netherlands.  If you visit all of the websites, you are likely to find event listings and other things of cultural interest.  For example, the Japanese have quite a developed agenda and set of offerings.  You’ll find information on Go, Origami, Chanoyu (tea ceremony), language, Manga, and Ikebana (floral arrangements) classes, as well as a listing of events, films, concerts, workshops, demonstratoins, conferences, colloquiums, expositions, and information about their library.


About Author


I've lived in France since August 2006 with a stint back in Washington, DC for a year. Ten months of my time in France were spent in Rouen - the Normandy town known for, among other things, Joan of Arc's death and Monet's study of light. With the years that pass, Paris is constantly transformed by the interesting people I meet who open up new doors in this amazing city.

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