Sacre bleu

University students cannot say they haven't been warned. One of our more ancient universities doesn't pull any punches when it comes to advice about studying in France.

When registering with the police on arrival, they are cautioned: "Do not be alarmed if the people at the office are very aggressive with you. It is part of their job to discourage foreigners and to make immigration as difficult and soul-destroying as possible.

"If you get through the application without losing your temper or breaking down in tears, then you are extremely lucky."

Of particular interest to female assistants looking for post-lycee work, not to mention essential in avoiding misunderstandings, is the advice to avoid "hostess" work advertised in local papers.

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