Living at the ENS

Student life

Students’ Union (Bureau des Elèves – BDE)
The Students’ Union, also known as BDE, is sort of a mother to us all. It is a team made up of around ten individuals entirely dedicated to the welfare and the well-being of each and every student in the ENS! On the events side of things, the BDE is organising mainly two things: the « week-end d’intégration » where you will meet many a fellow student, and the parties where you will be able to dance the night out on the rhythmic beats of the foyer’s sound system! 
Furthermore, the BDE is central to every society’s life in the ENS. Acting as some sort of Societies Federation, it subsidises every society and association, which are numerous in the ENS. You will be able to choose from juggling, chess, mountain, sailing, BDThèque (comics library), club’ouf, orchestra, gospel choir… and many many more. The list is available on the BDE’s website
To join will cost you the bargainous price of around €30. You will be able to eagerly do so at the stall set up for that purpose at the beginning of the (academic) year, as well as throughout the year at noon in the BDE’s office (underground level, at the back of the foyer, blue door). Being a member will not only grant you access to all student activities, it will also give you free coffee throughout the year in the Foyer!
Contact : 
Telephone : 83 24 (add +33 4 72 72 when calling from outside the ENS) 

Sports Association (Association Sportive – AS)
Just because the halls of residence are literally two steps away from the ENS, it doesn’t mean you should give up on sport, quite the contrary! If you wish to continue or take up practising a sports activity, the Association Sportive is here for you!
Joining costs around €22 per year, and grants access to a fully equipped state-of-the-art sports hall including muscletraining equipment, a climbing wall, and equipment for many different sports. It also opens the door to the tennis courts of the ENS LSH, ten minutes’ walk away from the ENS! Finally, there is a partnership with the Benjamin Delessert swimming pool (within walking distance of the ENS) which lets members swim there for free two nights every week, at specified times.
The AS deals with individual sports as well as with team sports. In certain disciplines (football, volleyball,…) championships are organised. Sportsmen in the school also participate in the InterENS, a yearly friendly sports contest between the four Ecoles Normales Supérieures in France.
The AS also organises many outings : kayak/canoe at the beginning of the year, then almost weekly ski trips as soon as the weather allows, etc. Finally, the AS lends equipment: avalanche transceivers, MTBs, etc.
You can join at the stalls that are being held at the beginning of the year, or throughout the year in their office at noon (below ground level, south side, facing the lifts). You will be asked what sports you are interested in so as to sign you up to the relevant mailing lists, but your answer does not stop you from practising other sports!

Telephone : 84 97 (add +33 4 72 72 when calling from outside the ENS) 

The Foyer, K-FET, and Salle Festive
As much as the BDE is a mother to us, the foyer at Monod and K-FET/Salle Festive at Descartes is our homes. More than a self-managed place, it is a concept! The Foyer is located below ground, it is open to students on a 24/7 basis. Students have their own bills, and write down themselves which drinks (available) they pick up. You can have your electronic bill created at the beginning of the year.
K-Fet and Sale Festive are ideally located near the Descartes students residences, oposite one another. The K-Fet is, like the Monod’s Foyer, a bar managed by students, for the students. Salle Festive is a hall for bigest events, like parties. Parties mostly happen in the foyer and Salle Festive, generally on thursdays nights. Alcoholic beverages are only allowed after 7pm, and strong alcohol is suffering an overall ban. Booking the foyer, K-FET, or Salle Festive for a party is possible.


Les Amis d’un Coin de l’Inde et du Monde, also referred to as LACIM, is a humanitarian association dealing with development in the Third World. It has a cell in the ENS. It works by linking up villages in India and elsewhere to comitees in France, and by supporting several projects.
The Lyon cell organises several fundraisers, including -usually- a particularly tasty club’ouf. 


Week-End d’Intégration (WEI)
At the beginning of the year, every year, the Week-End d BDE organises jointly with the equivalent from the ENS LSH, a great week-end of mad fun. It is caled the Week-End d’Intégration (aptly dubbed WEI). Those are three days of sheer awesomeness, with a legendary amount of parties, games and sports!
This event aims at giving the freshers (actually third-years) a warm and enthusiastic welcome, and to weave friendships between the old ones and the new ones. But the WEI will be more than just an opportunity to meet new faces: it will also be a great but cheap week-end out!
BDE membership is required to participate. In 2007, the cost was of around €80 – and honestly, it is very much worth it!

It is the other big student event in the ENS. Generally held in the end of February, it is the result of weeks of hard work from a small team. It is a sort of formal happening, some sort of a prom ball but better. The gala night includes obviously champagne, but also a fashion catwalk, themed bars, concerts (plural!), rock-dancing performances, …
As the very classy night out of the year, it will allow you to dig out that tie that you’ve been desperate to get a chance to wear throughout the year! In 2008, for the first time, it happened outside of ENS grounds, on a boat, and cost as little as €25 including as much food and drinks as people wanted!
If you had to pick which party to go to, the gala would be the one to choose. (Still, you don’t have to choose, and that’s what’s good!)

The Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon has sisters: the ENS « Ulm », in the heart of Paris, the ENS Cachan, in the Parisian suburbs, the ENS Ker Lann (part of the ENS Cachan) in Brittany, and just next to where we are, the ENS Lettres et Sciences Humaines (LSH). Add to that an ENS in Italy, in Pisa!
All these ENS have ties, and king among the joint events is the InterENS. It is a friendly sports contest between all the ENS. Last year, they took place in October (2007), in Lyon! (and we won the sports part of the contest, because we’re simply the best…) If you want to have an idea about the 2007 edition of the InterENS, you can visit its website. In 2008, they will take place in Ker Lann around the 8th November. Britanny is famous for its warm sense of welcome, and buses should be organised, so there’s no excuse not to go there!

InterQ (InterENS culturelles)
If there is a big sports get-together between the different ENS, there is also a cultural one. Rather a festival than a contest, the so-called InterQ features lots of theatre, a huge amount of music, improvisation mathces, and many more happenings.
This year, it will be up to us to give our friends from Paris, Cachan, Ker Lann and Pisa a warm welcome in Lyon ! Don’t miss that ! More info on the interQ webpage

Spring Festival (Festival de printemps)
Created in 2008, the Spring Festival is a musical afternoon on the grass in front of the residence. Several bands from the ENS and beyond perform there throughout the afternoon. It is up to you to confirm last year’s success!

Garden Party (LSH)
Whilst in the ENS Sciences, the Spring festival is relatively young, our friends in the ENS LSH have been organising for many years now, a garden party in their dominions. It features traditionally poor weather, but also many sports games, music, and sometimes outdoor drama performances.
The afternoon is concluded by a dinner prepared by the excellent LSH team (with love added). A fee is required for the latter, but usually the garden party itself is free.

Often, throughout the year, several motivated people get together and cook for the rest of the ENS. Hosted on Sundays nights, the « club’oufs » are a nice occasion to eat with friends at a relatively cheap price without needing to cook yourself!
You may help, or organise your own club’oufs.
Of course, other events are staged during the year: the Christmas gala in LSH, the Interdéps, the BDE campaign, … but we shan’t tell you everything, lest you don’t get any surprise!


The halls of residence of the ENS entail two buildings: on the Place de l’Ecole, the Maison d’Hôtes; and on the Avenue Debourg, next to the sports hall, the Résidence Debourg. Still, the rooms are similar in either building, which are each within two minutes’ walk from the lecture theatres!
Different types of room, rent
There are three kinds of rooms. The prices indicated were valid for the academic year 2007/08.
the F1Bis have a surface of 33m², with en-suite kitchen (with fridge, hob, sink, but no oven) and bathroom (with bath, toilets and sink). The room itself is shared, with usually no separating wall. The rent is of €190 per month each.
the F2s have a surface of 50m², the same equipement as F1Bis, but have separate rooms. The rent is of €299 per month each.
the F1s have a surface of 18m². The kitchenette and the room are much smaller, and there is only a very small fold-in kitchen table, which is the main difference with the other types of rooms. However, there is only one person living in an F1. The rent is of €299.
You may not choose in advance the type of flat you will live in; though generally international students live in a F1Bis with a French student.
All flats are equipped with furniture. However, the only lighting comes from the ceiling (no desklamps), and where bedding is concerned, only a pillow and a blanket are provided. You will have to bring your own sheets, pillowcases, duvet and duvetcase, to accommodate your personal taste. 
There is an Internet socket in each room (broadband connection is included in the rent). To use it, you will need a network cable (RJ11 patch cable). Wireless internet, whilst available in the ENS itself, is not available in the residence. Finally, there is a phone in each room. Calls within the residence are free, and it is possible to receive calls; however, it is not possible to call phones outside the ENS.
Red tape
Upon arrival, you will have to:
– fill out and sign a renting agreement in three copies (normally, they should be ready and pre-filled when you arrive)
– pay a deposit amounting to one full month of rent. It will be refunded within two months of your departure.
– pay one month’s rent (rent is always paid monthly in advance)

When you leave, you will have to give the Accommodation Office at least one month’s notice, using this document. Should you fail to do this in time, you will have to pay the full month starting on the day you give your notice.
You may ask for governmental help, the APL.