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Best universities in France 2023

Find the best universities in France through Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2023 data

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October 12 2022
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Top 10 universities in France

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in France

France Rank 2023  World University Rank 2023  University City
1  47  Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris Paris
2  90  Sorbonne University Paris
3  93  Université Paris-Saclay Paris
4  =95  Institut Polytechnique de Paris Paris
5  =114  Université Paris Cité Paris
6  251–300  École des Ponts ParisTech Paris
=7  301–350  Aix-Marseille University Marseille
=7  301–350  University of Bordeaux Bordeaux
=7  301–350  École Normale Supérieure de Lyon Lyon
=7  301–350  Montpellier University Montpellier

This league table reveals the top 10 universities in France, according to the trusted Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023.

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This year, 39 French institutions are counted among the top universities in the world. The 2023 ranking includes 11 institutions in Paris – the most represented city in France.


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Universities in Paris take the top five spots, but institutions in Lyon, Marseille and Montpellier also feature in the top 10.

The best university in France is Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris, a collegiate university formed of 25 research and higher education institutions in the Paris area and three national research institutions. 

France is a popular destination for international students because of its range of high-ranking universities and reasonable tuition fees.


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Top 5 universities in France

5. Université Paris Cité

The Université Paris Cité is a very young university, having only been established in 2019.

It has 14 campuses and research facilities across Parisian locations that include the historic Latin Quarter.

It was created through the merger of Paris Diderot University, Paris Descartes University and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris.

The university provides teaching across the academic spectrum, including arts, humanities, languages, social science, economics, science and technology, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and nursing.

4. Institut Polytechnique de Paris

About 35 per cent of the student body at the Institut Polytechnique de Paris are international students, with 88 different nationalities represented on campus.

There are 10 academic departments, including biology; chemistry and processes; economics; mathematics; and humanities, art, literature and languages.

The Institut Polytechnique de Paris is a public higher education and research institution formed through the merger of  five French engineering schools: École Polytechnique, ENSTA Paris, ENSAE Paris, Télécom Paris and Télécom SudParis. The admissions process is very selective. 

3. Université Paris-Saclay

Université Paris-Saclay has a long history dating back to 1150 when the University of Paris was established. 

In 2019 it became the Université Paris-Saclay.

The university is part of the Paris-Saclay project, which brings together nine higher education institutions and a business cluster on a research-intensive academic campus. The campus is being developed on the Plateau de Saclay on the outskirts of the city. Its model is similar to the one adopted by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, where each college keeps its independence while remaining part of the university.

Paris-Saclay offers a range of undergraduate, master’s and PhD programmes in the fields of science and engineering, life and health sciences, social sciences and humanities.

2. Sorbonne University

Sorbonne University has a number of campuses across Paris, as well as a satellite campus in Abu Dhabi. 

It has three faculties: humanities, science and medicine. Law is taught by Panthéon-Assas University (Paris 2).

Sorbonne University is a public research university in Paris. It was established in 2018 through the merger of Paris-Sorbonne University, Pierre and Marie Curie University and a number of smaller institutions.

The university is home to eight notable scientific collections open to researchers, some of which are also open to the public, such as the minerals, palaeontology and zoology collections. 

1. Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris

Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris is made up of 25 higher education institutions and research centres in the Paris area.

A total of 28 Nobel prizes in physics, chemistry, literature, physiology and medicine, and economics have been awarded to researchers from the university.

Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris was formed in April 2010 from five prominent French institutions: the École Normale Supérieure, the Collège de France, the Paris Observatory, Chimie ParisTech and ESPCI ParisTech.

The institutions under the umbrella of the university are a mixture of older institutions established during the Enlightenment period and new institutions.

The university’s main aim is to establish itself as one of the world’s top research institutions. It has also developed links with other top-ranking institutions around the world, including the University of Cambridge, UCL, Peking University and National Taiwan University. 


Best universities in France 2023

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2023 results

France Rank 2023  World University Rank 2023  University City
1  47  Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris Paris
2  90  Sorbonne University Paris
3  93  Université Paris-Saclay Paris
4  =95  Institut Polytechnique de Paris Paris
5  =114  Université Paris Cité Paris
6  251–300  École des Ponts ParisTech Paris
=7  301–350  Aix-Marseille University Marseille
=7  301–350  University of Bordeaux Bordeaux
=7  301–350  École Normale Supérieure de Lyon Lyon
=7  301–350  Montpellier University Montpellier
11  351–400  IMT Atlantique Brest
=12  401–500  Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 Lyon
=12  401–500  Université Grenoble Alpes Grenobles
=12  401–500  Institut Agro Paris
=15  501–600  Centrale Nantes Nantes
=15  501–600  University of Côte d’Azur Nice
=15  501–600  École des Mines de Saint-Étienne Saint-Étienne
=15  501–600  Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées Toulouse
=15  501–600  University of Lille Lille
=15  501–600  Sciences Po Paris
=21  601–800  Université Bourgogne Franche-Comté (UBFC) Besançon
=21  601–800  ENSTA Bretagne Brittany
=21  601–800  University of Lorraine Nancy
=21  601–800  University of Nantes Nantes
=21  601–800  University of Strasbourg Strasbourg
=26  801–1000  University of Clermont Auvergne Clermont-Ferrand
=26  801–1000  CY Cergy Paris University Cergy-Pontoise
=26  801–1000  National Institute of Applied Sciences of Lyon (INSA Lyon) Lyon
=26  801–1000  École Nationale des Travaux Publics de l'État (ENTPE) Vaulx-en-Velin
=26  801–1000  Panthéon-Sorbonne University – Paris 1 Paris
=26  801–1000  University of Rennes 1 Rennes
=32  1001–1200  Arts et Métiers Paris
=32  1001–1200  École Centrale de Lyon Lyon
=32  1001–1200  IMT Nord Europe Nantes
=35  1201–1500  Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France Valenciennes
=35  1201–1500  Lumière University, Lyon 2 Lyon
=35  1201–1500  Paris Nanterre University Nanterre
=35  1201–1500  University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour Pau
=35  1201–1500  Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris
=35  1201–1500  University of Technology of Compiègne Compiègne
=35  1201–1500  University of Technology of Troyes Troyes
42  1501+  Jean Moulin University – Lyon 3 Lyon
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