REQUIREMENTS: If you are going to France only to study the language, you will qualify for a student visa. Such visas, or other French identity papers, are required if you plan to study for a semester or full school year at a university such as the Sorbonne or Institut Catholique. (For more information about identity papers and photos, contact the French Embassy, 4101 Reservoir Rd., Washington, D.C. 20007, 944-6000.)

It is to your advantage to get a student's visa, if you qualify, since American students can legally work part-time in France. Otherwise you must hold a passport from a European Community country or be married to someone who does. Also, students are a privileged class in France, and qualify for discounts on a range of items from train tickets to museum fees.

Universities also will ask for your identity photos and for a copy of any college or high school diploma you may have. If you choose a university, for the first semester beginning in late September you often must apply by mid-August. Programs by the week or month have much more lenient requirements, and usually you need only apply a month or a couple of weeks ahead.

INFORMATION: "Where & How," a book published by International Where & How (Am Hofgarten 5, Postfach 24 64, D-5300 Bonn 1, West Germany), sums up in more detail the options available for learning a language. The book is available from the Commission Franco Amer'icaine d'Echanges Universitaires in Paris (9 Rue Chardin, Paris 75016, France, phone 45-20-46-54), a good place to go if you have questions about any educational program in France.

For more information on specific schools and programs, contact:

Alliance Francaise, 101 Blvd. Raspail, Paris 75006, France, phone 45-44-38-28.

ALFA, 12 Rue Florentin, Paris 75008, France, 42-96-50-09.

Berlitz Language Center, 10 offices in the Paris area, 47-42-13-39.

Eurocentre, 13 Passage Dauphine, Paris 75006, France, 43-25-81-40.

Fondation Post-Universitaire Internationale, 30 Rue Cabanis, Paris 75014, France, 45-22-99-12.

Institut Catholique, 21 Rue d'Assas, Paris 75006, France, 42-22-41-80.

Langue-Onze, 15 Rue Sambey, Paris 75011, France, 43-38-22-87.

Universite' de la Sorbonne, 19 Rue des Bernadins, Paris 75005, France, 43-29-12-13.