All of us when first interning in Paris have had our fair share of struggles whilst searching for student accommodation in Paris. From unwelcoming landlords to mouldy flats, we’re now more or less experts when it comes to finding somewhere to live in the French capital. Make this intimidating process a lot easier by following our steps on how to find your student accommodation and avoid napping in a sleeping bag under a bridge on the Seine.
The first few things to remember are the most important. Make sure you start looking early, ideally a few months in advance. Although you might have an image in your head of a bright, spacious bedroom with tall Parisian windows and a balcony with a view of the Eiffel tower, the harsh reality is that with the pretty expensive prices in Paris, you may have to settle for a 12m2 studio on the 5th floor without a lift, but as long as it’s got the essentials and it’s clean and safe, it’s not the end of the world.
On a similar note, have a realistic budget. The average rental price for a studio apartment in Paris is over 750€, and for a 1-bedroom apartment is over 1,000€ a month. Of course, there are cheaper options such as colocations (flat shares), so just make sure you do your research and don’t get ripped off. Also, remember that it’s very competitive, especially to find student accommodation in Paris, so it will take a few attempts before you eventually find and secure somewhere to live.
Before you start searching, it’s important to be aware of what you’re looking for. Make sure you do your research and you know vaguely which arrondissement you want to be located in. Whether you’re moving to Paris for an internship or to study, you’ll want to make sure your commute doesn’t require you getting up an hour earlier and taking 4 different metros to get there. Living in the peripheries may save you money, but you’ll also be further away from student areas such as the Latin Quarter, which is the bustling student centre of Paris, with picturesque streets lined with bars, restaurants and cinemas. Keep this in mind if you’re looking to live in the midst of all the student action.
When you start your search, the internet will be your best friend. There are plenty of Facebook groups and websites such as appartager.com, seloger.com and leboncoin.fr where you can find hundreds of available apartments. A good place to start is looking for a colocation, as these are often cheaper than renting a place entirely to yourself, not to mention it makes settling in a lot easier if you get to move in with other students. Just be extra vigilant if you’re going down this route of online apartment hunting and be 100% sure it isn’t a scam before sending anyone money. The most important thing to remember is you’re looking for a clean and safe place to live, so make this a priority.
If you’re coming to Paris to study, your university might be able to provide you with halls of residence, so always ask. If the social side of student life is important to you, this is a perfect way to surround yourself with other students. Similarly, if you’re starting an internship in Paris, be sure to ask the company you’re working for whether they’re able to help. They know how hard it is to find student accommodation in Paris and they will have had interns in the past who have experienced the same struggle. Your colleagues might even have friends or relatives who can rent a spare room to you.
Another important point of contact is your own friends and relatives. You might end up finding a great deal through your mum’s friend’s daughter’s boyfriend’s auntie, so ask everyone you know. And if you already know people in Paris – great! Contact them straight away; the more contacts you have the more likely you are to be able to find somewhere.
If you’re really stuck, you might want to consider an estate agent to help you find student accommodation in Paris, but they often charge agency fees on top of a hefty deposit (sometimes more than two months’ rent). Another issue is that landlords often prefer French renters, as that makes the guarantor process easier. They require somebody (usually a relative in France) to make payments if, for whatever reason, you fail to pay your rent one month. This means that international students and interns are often less of a priority. That said, it’s more secure than searching online, and estate agents can offer local knowledge, so if you’re persistent and you provide the right documents, you might just get somewhere.
Remember, it might seem intimidating at first, but the hunt for student accommodation in Paris will be well worth it in the end. Just keep mithering people, be persistent and something will pop up.
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