After finding a short-term rental recently ourselves, I thought it would be helpful to share the knowledge we accumulated throughout the process…
The fantasy of going to Paris has become a reality at last. Maybe you’re taking that dream vacation or studying abroad. Whatever the reason that takes you to the city of light, it is essential to think about where and how you envision yourself staying there. Travelers stopping only for a short while will most likely opt for a hotel, but those staying for several weeks or months should consider a temporary apartment. It’s a more economical, spacious and homey alternative to the common hotel room. If you’d like to whip up your own breakfast in the morning after scouring the outdoor markets for fresh fruit and bread, if you prefer to bring Mitsy the dog along, or if you plan to have people over for dinner or a few glasses of wine, an apartment may be a good fit for you.
For individuals or families moving to France for longer periods of time, whether for a job or retirement, a temporary apartment can serve as the bridge between arrival and getting settled in. Though some people are comfortable selecting a long-term living arrangement from afar, when it comes to moving to a foreign country, you might feel better choosing a permanent place when you can be there to see it for yourself.
Starting with a short-term apartment can help you to become familiar with certain neighborhoods before so you can make an informed decision about the area best suited to your needs later. Plus, short-term apartments are furnished, unlike many long-term apartments, so you have one less thing to worry about upon arrival. If you enjoy being in the center of the sights and have some money to spend, the seventh arrondissement may be a good fit for you. If you prefer more quiet and spacious surroundings, try the eastern suburbs.
To help you in your quest, check out these websites for temporary apartments:
Lodgis: Has furnished rentals (1 month-2 years) and vacation rentals (less than 6 weeks) with an office in Paris. Searchable by arrondissement and has photos. Requires an agency fee (about half of one month’s rent) and a deposit (one month’s rent). This is the agency we went with because of its superior value/price ratio, although the agents can be a bit difficult:
New York Habitat: Has furnished rentals (1 month and up) and vacation rentals (less one month) with an office in New York. Searchable by arrondissement and has photos. Requires an agency fee (about one half of one month’s rent) and a deposit (one month’s rent). Also lists Bed and Breakfast’s:
Fusac: English language guide for Anglophones in France. In the “small ads” section you can find a list of housing offers in English in Paris and other cities in France. No photos so call the owner or agency to arrange a visit:
Craig’s list Paris: Any length of time, with roommates, for singles, families, furnished and unfurnished. Use at your own risk. Recommended to arrive in Paris first and look at the place in person before making a decision or paying any money. Can find good deals:
For long term options à la française
Once you establish yourself in France, have a French bank account and are able to provide paystubs from a French employer, try searching like a local. Be aware that most agencies and owners require that you make at least three times the rent.
Particulier à particulier: These apartments are rented out directly by the owners, so there is no agency fee. There are rarely photos online so it is best to contact the owner to visit in person:
SeLoger: This is an agency (and thus charges a fee) that deals with buying and renting homes and apartments. This site also displays the energy consumption of each place for the conscientious renter:
You can also walk into your neighborhood realty office like Foncia, CPH or even Century21. As in the US, there is of course an agency fee.
- Neighborhoods Make a list of priorities for your ideal place and research neighborhoods to find one that matches your requirements. (i.e. quiet, near a park)
- Size or location? Experiment with different size and price searches to figure out how much space you can get while staying within your budget, and decide if space or location is more important to you. A studio in central Paris is worth a one bedroom in other areas.
- Consult the Experts Talk to people who have lived in Paris before or find blogs by current residents. You can learn easy lessons from people who have already found out the hard way (i.e. stay away from Chateau Rouge at night).
- Safety If you are going to put money down for a place before you arrive, go through an agency. The security of knowing you’ll have an apartment when you get there is worth the fee.
© 2011 Pasa’s Paris