Since starting to post about living in Paris, one of the most frequent questions (besides the language) that I’ve gotten is about renting an apartment. I can honestly say it was the hardest part of living abroad for me. I ended up moving 4 times in one year and looked at a ridiculous amount of places with little to no success.
Now that I’m moving back for another year it’s allllll coming back. The stress. The small panic attacks. Not knowing where I’ll be in a month. Here are my best tips (hopefully I can take my own advice and find something):
– If you are going to school in Paris, check with the school on lodging options. I found out that Le Cordon Bleu had a person whose job it was to help find apartments for the students. There was even a list of different people you could contact who rented out their places to LCB students.
– Stick with agencies. The agency fee stinks. yup I know. But especially when you are searching from abroad the safest way to guarantee that you will have a place to stay when you arrive is to go through all the necessary paperwork. Agencies that are used to working with non-Frenchies are: Lodgis, ParisAttitude, and Paristay. If you feel like your French is up to par sign up on Seloger. This is an online site where agencies will post new apartments. (This is what I’ve been using but since I’m not in Paris physically and able to run into the agency as soon as one I like posts, I haven’t had any success so far.)
– Prepare your dossier. This will be a little different depending on your situation. Check with the agency for the exact specifics but it will probably be something like this:
- Piece of identity (passport)
- Document justifying your stay (school acceptance, work engagement form).
- Proof of income: To prove you can pay for the apartment by yourself…work contract or letter from employer, last three pay stubs, last income tax. If you can not show proof of 3x the rent in income, a guarantor (preferably French) who would provide the same items, or a bank guarantee (not preferable but essentially a certain amount of rent is “frozen” in your French bank account for a certain amount of time. The owner can access these funds if you are unable to pay rent).
– Look in more unconventional places. Sabbaticalhomes rents and house swaps with students but also professionals. The American Church in Paris lists daily new apartment and employment offers.
– The best/easiest way to find a place: know someone who is moving out of theirs, and snag it! The landlord usually asks the person who is leaving if they know someone that they would recommend to take the apartment. (This is all good and well, but it’s all about luck and timing.)
– Consider booking a short term stay through AirBnb and looking when you arrive. This will allow you to walk around the area where the potential apartment is, hopefully see the inside, and maybe even talk with the owner.
My sincerest best of luck wishes are being sent your way. It’s certainly a jungle out there…
To read up on my previous apartment posts, check out the below:
Have any tips for finding a place in Paris? List them below in the comments. 🙂