One of the main challenges is to find an apartment and in Paris, this step can rapidly become a nightmare. Some expats even say that it is easier to secure a job than a place to live in Paris.
Living in the French capital of Paris is an exciting way to dive into the French lifestyle. Although the city is home to over two million people, many districts (called arrondissements) retain their traditional charms, including regular food markets, charming cafés and independent bakeries.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, problems occur that will put you at a disadvantage to the thousands of French people also desperately hunting for a flat, not least the fact that the majority of Paris landlords demand a France-based guarantor.
The Paris rental market is extremely competitive, with apartments getting snapped up almost as soon as they’ve gone online on the popular site http://www.pap.fr. So give yourself better odds by going for other online listings such as http://www.fusac.fr, http://www.craigslist.fr, and http://www.leboincoin.fr. Don’t expect everything to be online, however, the magazine version of Fusac carries many more adverts for accommodation.
Have all of your documents ready. If you are serious about an apartment you visit, you have to let the landlord know immediately by giving him or her a complete dossier with all of your information
Come prepared. When you visit an apartment, even if you don’t know for sure that you’ll love it, come prepared with the proper paperwork (known as your dossier). You will give this paperwork to the landlord immediately after viewing the apartment if you love it, and he or she will begin the process of determining if you are an acceptable tenant.
- Your dossier consists of a copy of your passport and visa (if you’re not from the European Union); your last three pay check stubs or a contract that states your salary; and for most places, a signed letter from a French resident who will act as your guarantor, along with their payslip.
- If you don’t know any French residents who can act as guarantor, but have already secured a job, often your employer will sign as your guarantor. If not, you can try using a rental agency called Paris Attitude, which is English-speaking and only lists apartments that do not require a French guarantor. Otherwise, though, avoid using agencies, which tend to charge exorbitant prices.
- Be aware that you will be very unlikely to be able to negotiate a lower rent price, since spaces are in such high demand, and you will need two months’ rent as security upon signing a contract.
Keep searching. Until you’ve signed your lease and received the keys to your apartment, don’t stop looking. Some landlords like to keep fishing for the best-sounding people out there. You can find any number of great apartments in Paris, you just have to be persistent and treat apartment-hunting like your job.
There are lots of resources, but if you’re not looking at an apartment destined for tourists – illegal short-term rentals for several hundred Euro per week rather than per month – you’ll want to look on sites destined for the French.
- Colocation.fr: http://www.colocation.fr/
- Se Loger: Seloger.com
- Particulier à particulier: http://www.pap.fr/
- Acheter-Louer: http://www.acheter-louer.fr/
- A Vendre A Louer: http://www.avendrealouer.fr/
- www.parisattitude.com (English, French, Portuguese and a 24/7 multilingual hotline; long and short-term lets)
- www.housetrip.com (English)
- www.sejourning.com (French, English and Spanish)
- www.airbnb.com (20+ languages)Furnished apartments and short-term lets:
Rent typically includes water and sewage rates, as well as the fee for the communal association that manages the apartment building’s public areas. It may include electricity and/or gas. It will usually not include telephone, internet or cable TV charges. In addition, there is an annual ‘residence tax’ which must be paid to the local council office (mairie).