Finding housing in Paris on your own can be quite a challenge, as I learned when I apartment-hunted for the first time in Paris. Since renting for under a year is illegal (supposedly to relieve the housing crunch), there aren’t nearly enough possibilities for student renters, and those who do rent short-term prefer to illegally rent to tourists, who will pay a month’s rent for a week-long stay. If you’re new to France, have never worked there, and don’t have family, it will be very difficult to rent a place without an agency or a connection of some kind. Individual rental requires some serious paperwork, and many landlords are unwilling to rent to foreign students who may decide to leave mid-year or who have foreign guarantors, who are more difficult to pursue in court if you don’t pay your rent.

But somehow students always manage to find housing by the beginning of the semester. Remember, the sooner you start, the better. Here’s our guide:


Different Types of Housing:



And here are our tips for figuring out where to live, negotiating your lease, and defending your rights:


About the author: Allison Lounes is a Bureaucracy Ninja at Paris Unraveled, and has been helping students move to France and conquer French bureaucracy since 2010.

    • Allison Lounes is a graduate of Columbia University (B.A., French and Romance Philology, 2009) and the Middlebury College French School (M.A., French, 2009). After studying abroad with Columbia University Programs in Paris during the 2007-2008 academic year, she returned to France in September 2009 to complete a Master 2 degree in Comparative Literature at the Université de Paris VII - Denis Diderot, where she studied Algerian libertine folktales.