Renting a Private Apartment or Room
Securing housing before you arrive
Unless you have a friend, family member, or other contact in the area in which you intend to live, finding a suitable rental before you arrive in France is tricky. As you won’t be able to visit the accommodations in person, it may be difficult to persuade a property owner to let you sign a rental contract or to prove that you have someone who will guarantee payment of your rent.
For these reasons, many international students seek temporary housing for their first few weeks in France, giving them time to find a more permanent arrangement.
Finding a room or apartment on the private market
Once you arrive in France, you can ask the housing office at your new institution or one of the international student support services found in many university cities to help you in your search for housing.
You may rent a room or apartment directly from a property owner or through a rental agency. If you rent through an agency, you will have to pay fees equal to a little more than a month’s rent, in addition to the security deposit required by both agencies and private owners. Apartments may be rented empty or furnished.
Property owners with space available often post notices in the housing offices of local educational institutions, with the city’s international student service office, with CROUS, the regional student service agency and with the nonprofit Centre d’Information et de Documentation Jeunesse (website in French). These organizations collect and publish notices of private rooms and studios available for rent to students, allowing students to avoid the fees charged by commercial agencies.
Online resources for housing in select cities
The links below, organized by city, provide basic information about the housing market in the each city and resources for finding long-term and short-term housing.
- Aix-Marseille (PDF, in French only)
- Bordeaux (in French only)
- Grenoble (in French only)
- Lille (PDF, in French only)
- Lyon (PDF)
- Montpellier (in French only)
- Paris (information from CampusFrance)
- Strasbourg (in French only)
Rates and rental agreements
As in the United States, rents vary widely depending on the quality and location of the lodging and on the amenities provided. Paris has the highest average monthly rents in France. International students who are staying in France for at least three months are eligible for financial assistance for housing.
It’s important to be well informed about what to expect when signing a rental agreement before signing any documents.
Shared rentals, in which groups of students rent a house or multi-bedroom apartment together, are becoming increasingly popular in France. They are called “co-location” in French. Such arrangements are often cheaper than individual rentals and may make it easy to meet French students and other international students. Each participant in a shared rental is eligible to apply for housing assistance, provided his or her name appears on the rental contract.
Advertisements for rooms in shared rentals can be found on campus bulletin boards and in local newspapers. The following websites, which all charge a fee, can be helpful in a search for shared accommodations: