Grandes Ecoles means Great Schools/Universities (for higher education)!
Student in grandes ecoles are selected on ranking in national exam (which has written and oral examination)
There are 80+ Universities, more than 200+ Engineering and Commerce schools.
Undergrad degree is of 3 years(as in most countries)
Master's degree is usually for 2 years.
Cost of Education is low as compared to UK,US. In public universities tuition fees might range from EUR 150 - Euro 800 depending on level of education (like BS or Licence, masters and Doctorate). Courses like Engineering might have slightly higher fees. Private institutions might have higher fees.
Most of France's business schools are private, Yearly tuition varies and is generally between EUR 2,000 and Euro 35,000.
Three main theme for research for 2009 - 2012 are Biotech, Environmental Sciences and IT.
Higher education systems covers Undergrad+ degrees (Masters/Postgraduate and above).
Under Open University system every student with a BS degree have right to do do higher education without any selection procedure. Under selective system students might get admission via an examination or interview or both.
France's universities and educational institutions
do not distinguish between international students and French students, admission criteria and tuition fees is same for international and local students.
More than 40% students doing PhD are international students.
Health insurance is free till age of 20, after that students need to get it to cover their medical expenses (it might cost EUR 150-300 per year)