Fees and the deposit
The typical deposit in France is two months’ rent. This is not a legal set point, and maybe more or less. There may be a ‘key fee’ or application fee (typically under EUR 100), as well as the estate agent’s fees (typically between EUR 250 and one month’s rent).
Many apartments are in beautiful 18th- or 19th-century buildings. The high ceilings and period features tend to come with a lack of modern facilities. Lifts tend to be small or non-existent, and buildings are typically six or even eight stories high. Shared laundry facilities in the basement are common. Modern apartment blocks tend to have smaller rooms but better amenities. Lifts are standard, balconies are common and some buildings even have a pool or gym.
Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements. The numbering system starts in the centre, with #1 (written as le premier or 1e) being home to the Louvre. The districts spiral outwards, growing in size as they do. The 20e(20th) arrondissement is at the city’s eastern edge. The central districts (1e and 2e) and the 9e are mostly commercial and business areas.
The low numbers are typically more expensive, with the 8e being particularly chic, and the 7e popular with families. The larger, more residential arrondissements from the 12e to the 20e are often made up of several neighborhoods, so the tone can change street by street. The 16e and 17e are home to international schools, and the 14e and 15e are quiet and peaceful, compared to the bustling center.
- Paris is oval shaped, and is divided into twenty “arrondissements” or municipalities, which form a clockwise spiral (arrondissement 1 is located in the center). Each arrondissement has its own pros and cons related to population density, property prices, attractions, safety, and culture.
- The Seine river cuts through the center and bottom half of Paris.
Using social media is a great way to learn a lot about the area as well as make connections with others who can help you track down apartment leads.
Join Facebook and other social networking groups for expats. You can ask questions about the area and get advice, as well as keeping an eye out for postings regarding open apartments.
It makes sense to start looking around where you’ll be working or going to school, but you should also keep in mind other personal or family needs that might influence where you choose to live.
- The 1st arrondissement is tempting because its the one most foreigners are most familiar with (it boasts many major tourist attractions), but that also makes it expensive and overcrowded with tourists.
- The 3rd and 4th arrondissements are with lots of shopping, bistros, and nightlife.
- The 8th is pricey and luxurious, so consider whether this not only fits your budget but your lifestyle.
- The 14th and 16th are known as quiet, residential areas, making both nice choices for a family or people not interested in the young, edgy scene in many other arrondissements.
Budget for your rent. Your personal income and expenses will determine how expensive of an apartment you can afford, which will determine which arrondissements are within your budget.
- One helpful thing to keep in mind is (monthly rent) = (monthly salary) x (1/3). In general, landlords in Paris (and other developed nations) will evaluate potential tenants by looking at their monthly salary. Your rent should be no more than 1/3 of your salary.
There are bus, metro and train networks connecting the different parts of Paris, and also linking the capital to its suburbs. Services tend to be frequent, busy and affordable. Strikes and disruptions are relatively common, so it’s important to have a back-up plan if you rely on public transport to get to work. Cycling is growing more popular, while driving remains something of a nightmare.
The strong public transport network and growing number of businesses located in industrial parks outside the city make living in the suburbs appealing to many. If you’re looking for a garden or just a bit more space, find out where to live near Paris.
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