Accommodation in France


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Expats moving to France will find plenty of reasonably priced, comfortable housing options available. The standard of accommodation in France is similar to other Western European countries, with comfortable, though small, living quarters predominating. 
 
Housing in France can vary from studio apartments and condos, to cottages, farmhouses and even chateaux; it is therefore best that expats know well in advance the type of accommodation they are in the market for.

 

Types of accommodation in France

accommodation in paris


The type of accommodation available in France depends largely on the region, with apartments and studios being prevalent in the metropolises. As one travels further from the cities, however, iconic French châteaux, farm cottages, and stone houses are more readily available. Some types of accommodation in France include:
 

Apartments

By far the most common type of accommodation in France’s cities, apartments are usually rented out on a monthly basis. They can vary in size from small studio apartments to sprawling high-end condos, with an equally vast range in price. 
 

Cottages

Cottages are common in the more rural areas of France, and are usually up for sale as opposed to being available to rent. That said, some cottages are exclusively rented out on a short-term basis for holidaymakers, especially near the coastal regions in the south of France. Cottages in rural France are also frequently available as “renovation projects”, which can be bought for a low price but are in need of considerable restoration. Cottages vary considerably in price depending on their condition, location and size. They can be a suitable option for expat families planning to live in France for a long period of time, but would like to avoid the fast pace of city life.
 

Chateaux

Expats looking to settle down in France with a slightly larger budget may consider buying one of the country’s stunning chateaux. Many of the properties have rich histories, often dating back to the middle ages; that said, most have been renovated over the years and present all the amenities expected of a modern abode.

 

Finding accommodation in France

housing in France


One of the most straightforward ways for expats in France to find accommodation is through classifieds, which are available in a variety of print and online publications and usually include a time and date for interested parties to view the property. 
 
Expats may find it difficult to secure accommodation in France before moving into the country, as most landlords and property owners prefer doing business with people that they have met. Furthermore, the wide range of quality available means that it is often best to see the property in person before committing to a lease.
 
For these reasons, another way to find accommodation in France is networking. Due to extremely high competition among potential tenants, some of the best property available may not be advertised publicly. Expats are advised to make connections and ask around to find out if anyone in their social circle may know of suitable accommodation that is available. 
 
Expats who don’t mind the extra fees or hassle of dealing directly with a landlord can always opt for a real estate agency. This can be a more straightforward option, and would be suitable for expats who are in a rush and don’t have time to browse the market themselves.
 

Renting property in France


Most expats will probably decide to rent property in France. Expats – and particularly those wishing to rent property in Paris – will find that housing costs are chiefly determined by the location of the abode. The golden rule is that the closer to the city centre the accommodation is, the higher the rent. As a result, it is not uncommon for expats to seek accommodation in slightly outlying districts of French cities, where they can find bigger properties that are in better shape and boast more creature comforts (such as air conditioning and double glazing) than anything available in the downtown areas.
 
Expats should note that, should they rent property in an apartment building or government-subsidised housing complex, their monthly utility bills will be included in their rental fees.
 
Finding a property to rent in France can be a little testing. Expats may need to provide three recent payslips, proving that their monthly salary is (at least) three times the rent-value of the property of interest. This is primarily a result of the many French laws in place protecting the tenant once a lease is signed. Furthermore, estate agent fees can be as high as one month's rent.
 

Factors to consider when house-hunting in France


Furnished or unfurnished accommodation

While shipping furniture to France – particularly from within the EU – is a viable option, expats can rest assured that they won't experience much difficulty finding furniture to suit their new home after arriving in the country. Paris, in particular, is wonderfully shopper-friendly, boasting a famous range of second-hand and antique stores, as well as modern superstores such as IKEA.

Furthermore, furnished accommodation is available and easy to find. The selected style, however, may not exactly align with personal tastes and preferences. Expats should be aware that unfurnished accommodation in France, as opposed to other destinations, does not include any white-label appliances, like refrigerators or washing machines.

Air conditioning is not a common feature except in the south of the country, while an adequate heating system is essential for the country’s cold winters.
 

Home security

Home security will not be a major issue for expats relocating to France. Although petty theft and minor break-ins do occur in some neighbourhoods (especially downtown Paris), these crimes are seldom violent. Expats living in France have consistently reported that they feel safe in their homes.

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