Ah, Paris! The city of love, light and la mode. You can already picture your dream home. You see yourself on your balcony (which boasts an exceptional view), enjoying a glass of wine. Mais ooh-la-la, what is this? The price?! And just like that, your dreams are crushed. But don’t worry too much- your place probably won’t be what you envisaged, but it won’t be completely shit either.
Great news: my friends and I finally have a house in Paris! With it already being the end of July, we were cutting it pretty close, and I was afraid I’d have to change the name of this blog to “Homeless in Paris”. Here’s a shortened version of our experience, as well as some tips to make the hunt somewhat stress free. It can be a daunting process at first, but it is definitely easier once you know what to expect.
So where do you even start? By the end of your exams you should at least have an idea of whether you are living in a group or alone. If you are leaning towards living alone, don’t be afraid- quite a few of my friends this year have chosen to do this, so you aren’t the only one! And if you are living in a group, you need to act fast- the apartments with more rooms go a lot quicker, and then you are left with only the most expensive to choose from. This is what happened to us. We went to Paris with dreams of finding a 4 bedroom place, but ended up having to split off into pairs and find 2 separate places instead.
You then need to talk money: agree on a budget, but be prepared to be flexible. And then comes the obvious part: start looking. We went down the agency route. This is just because it seemed hassle free, despite the additional price for using them. Some sites recommended to us were: Lodgis, Se Loger and Paris Attitude. We also looked at several others such as Paristay, and Appartager, and I haven’t really got anything good or bad to say about them- but check them out and see for yourself. When we went to Paris, we found that Lodgis and Paris Attitude were by far the most helpful, so be sure to give them a visit.
This isn’t the only route you can take, so research your options wisely! We had the opportunity to live in a colocation style place with 10 rooms, where we would have been grouped together with other students. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for us, but it is definitely worth looking into.
Once you’ve searched online, you really have to go to Paris and check the places out. I can’t emphasize this enough. So as soon as exams are over, you may as well just try to get out there, and get it sorted as soon as you can. You can’t afford to have any nasty surprises when it comes to moving in. For example, we visited this one apartment which was nothing like any of the photos on the website- it was shocking! So you can imagine our relief in visiting Paris before jumping at the first listing with some half decent photos. Plus, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the area too. Is it mainly students who live there, or is it residential? Is the apartment in a really dodgy street corner where you’d feel uncomfortable walking home alone?
SOME QUICK TIPS:
- Go to Paris! And try to get there as early as you can- a huge number of students are all looking for a reasonably priced place all at the same time.
- Quel arrondissement? Once you work out how to say “arrondissement” flawlessly, there still remains the ultimate mystery of deciding which one to even stay in. My housemate and I are living in the 2nd, and our other 2 friends are living in the 11th– both really great areas for students. Others recommended to us included: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and the 10th. However, you probably don’t want to live any further than the 15th.
- You are probably going to end up spending quite a lot of money for quite a tiny place- the quicker you get your head around this, the better.
- Make “booking requests” online if you are keen to see the apartments- it’s easier (and quicker) to book them beforehand rather than going into the agency and booking it there.
- If you are going to Paris, and want everything sorted before you leave, you will need copies of these documents: your passport, your guarantor’s passport, their last 3 payslips, their last tax return, and sometimes a job contract (Paris Attitude wanted this). In any case, you can email these to the agency by the time you are home.
- Pay attention to details: It’s all well and good that the photos look fantastic, but is it near a Metro station? Is your journey to uni going to be 2 minutes or 2 hours? And is the apartment available for the whole time you need it?
- Go to Paris with a plan- it’s a big waste of time if you go there without knowing when your viewings are etc. Also, don’t be concerned that the apartment you had your heart set on is no longer available- this can happen, just remember that there are many more apartments out there.
A final word of advice: Paris is already pretty fast paced in general, but even more so when it comes to securing a house. So try to keep your wits about you, and make good decisions. Bonne chance!