Cultural events, sports grounds… How cities attract students

Cities increase their attractiveness to students by promoting their access to culture and sport. Toulouse, Strasbourg and Pau thus stand out in our ranking of student cities by their dedicated systems.

Access to culture and sport is an important criterion for students, cities have understood this well. “It makes the city more attractive for young people, they watch these devices a lot. What is key for them are the preferential rates“, points out Nina Ochoa, municipal councilor in charge of students at the city of Toulouse.

For François Bayrou, mayor of Pau, it is « vital » to promote young people’s access to culture and sport. « It’s a salutary mark of recognition and it necessarily involves preferential rates, » he says.

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Culture cards for students

The city of Toulouse, first in our ranking of student cities 2022-2023, has multiplied the devices. It offers, for example, a culture card, at 5 euros per year, which allows you to benefit from reductions in cinemas, museums, libraries, festivals, theaters, socio-cultural centers, etc. Students also benefit from a preferential rate in many Toulouse museums. Finally, a Youth Pass for those under 27 entitles you to four performances of the Orchestra and the Théâtre du Capitole for 20 euros.

Strasbourgthe third city in our ranking, also has a cultural policy in favor of students. Its « Strasbourg loves its students » scheme includes numerous actions to support student life : access to sport and culture, but also to housing, or even the fight against precariousness. A culture card – at 7 euros per year for all students of the academy – notably gives the right to preferential rates in museums, cinemas, theaters, etc.

Access to culture also involves the organization of events. “Culture is an unparalleled vector of integration. In September, the city accompanies the university in music, with the festival « Les Campulations » which brings together 4,000 to 5,000 students. And we take the opportunity to present all of our cultural facilities », explains François Bayrou. To keep students informed of cultural events throughout the year, the city has created the website.

Encourage students to practice sports

The city of Pau also multipliedsports venues and local facilities open to all, especially in priority neighborhoods : skate-park, apparatus, synthetic pitches, ping-pong tables, etc. « Here again, with preferential rates and special support for young athletes. Because all the studies show, regular sporting activity is an asset of any school career, » says the mayor of Pau. Young people benefit from a special rate in the swimming pools and for the rugby club.

In Toulouse, young people under 25 also benefit from discounted rates at amenities like the pools and ice rink as well as for the practice of supervised sports activities.

The city of Strasbourg, for its part, offers free sports activities during the school year but also during the summer period. Tennis courts, basketball courts, football pitches and sports equipment are also freely accessible in the city’s many parks. Students also benefit from reduced rates for the swimming pools and the ice rink. Finally, certain sports facilities, swimming pools for example, are reserved for students.

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Improving sports and cultural facilities for more appeal to young people

Changes will be made to these devices and others may emerge. « We will work on youth policy for the use of students with small working groups in the format of youth conferences. Young people and associations will tell us what they think of the existing systems and what should be changed », announces Philippe Portelli, head of the higher education, research and innovation department at the city of Strasbourg.

A single student tariff for all access to sport and culture is, for example, under consideration. « It would not be easy to set up but it would send a strong signal. With nearly 140,000 students in Toulouse, we need a strong policy« , says Nina Ochoa. The first changes will take place from the second half of 2023.

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