Accommodation in Paris

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accommodation in paris
Paris is a densely packed city with many neighbourhoods, each with a distinct flavour and personality. Expats searching for accommodation should suss out the vibe of each respective area before securing housing.

Interestingly enough, the public transport infrastructure in Paris is one of the densest in the world, so it can be more difficult finding a place off the grid than on it. Choice of location is therefore a matter of price and taste than transit convenience.

Types of accommodation in Paris

The type of accommodation available in Paris largely depends on its location. In and around the city centre, expats will mostly find apartments and studios. Further into the suburbs, accommodation options include houses and cottages.

The main ypes of accommodation in Paris include:

Chambre de Bonne

A chamber de bonne is the smallest and cheapest type of accommodation in Paris. Formerly maids’ quarters, these charming little abodes are usually fully equipped with modern amenities and are often occupied by students or young professionals. It's common for a chambre de bonne to share bathroom facilities with its neighbouring apartment.


By far the most common form of accommodation in Paris, expats will find a wide range of prices that depend on size, quality and location. It's common in Paris for people to share a multi-bedroom apartment, not only to dilute expenses but also to account for the incredibly high demand. Expats looking to rent an apartment in Paris can expect all of the amenities associated with modern living, but older units may not include parking or central heating.
Facilities in Paris are one of the most important measures of an apartment’s quality. For instance, it's usually worth paying extra for an apartment that is individually heated. Some landlords turn off a building's heating when they go to bed, leaving any night owl tenants to shiver.


Houses are a common choice of accommodation for expats living in the Paris suburbs. They are frequently multi-storey and include a garden, but are considerably more expensive than apartments. Houses in Paris are more commonly bought than rented, but an the astute house-hunter shouldn't have too much difficulty finding both options available.


Finding accommodation in Paris

Finding accommodation in Paris is not much different from finding a place to stay elsewhere in France. Prices are inevitably more expensive, however, and the competition unspeakably more fierce. A good impression with a prospective landlord can be the difference between signing a lease and remaining homeless, especially when there are dozens of other eager candidates.
Expats looking for accommodation in the city will most likely have to deal with smaller-than-average living quarters in spite of particularly high costs. Those on a budget are advised to either look outside of the city or consider sharing an apartment with flatmates. 
It can be invaluable for expats searching for accommodation in Paris to connect with people over social networking sites like Facebook. High demand and the unpredictable nature of classifieds leads to many property owners only advertising through their social network, so expats using their contacts or making new connections through online groups will have an edge over their competition.

Renting accommodation in Paris

Expats living in Paris will most likely rent their accommodation and there are a number of things to keep in mind while deciding whether or not to sign a lease.

Expats should take a full inventory of the apartment's condition on arrival. This not only simplifies matters for both tenant and landlord, but also demonstrates responsibility.

The deposit for an apartment is usually a full month's rent, with the expectation that the tenants will provide two months' rent in advance in addition to this. Tenants wanting to move out must provide at least three months’ notice to the landlord, but a clause can be added to the lease to shorten this requirement. If the inventory upon departure of the tenant shows no damage, the full deposit should be returned.

The law in France generally favours the tenant, meaning that evictiion or raising the rent can be a difficult task for a landlord. For example, a letter must be sent to the tenant at least six months prior to a rental increase, informing them of the landlord’s intentions. The landlord also has to show that the rental increase is in line with the market value of the property.

French law requires that tenants take out inexpensive rental insurance to protect against theft, fire and damage to the communal areas of buildings. The local town hall can provide more information on what this involves. Registration where one lives is important, and should be a priority upon securing a property.

Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is available in Paris. Furnished options are inevitably more expensive and more likely to be available for short-term rental. Unfurnished accommodation rarely includes appliances such as a fridge or stove.
Expats seeking accommodation in Paris will need to act swiftly once they find a place because of the intense competition and demand in the city, with listings commonly being taken down minutes after going up. 
It is a legal requirement in France that an apartment be no smaller in size than nine square metres. Expats looking to rent a small studio apartment or chambre de bonne should keep this in mind and not be afraid to report their prospective landlord to the local authorities if the place on offer is smaller than this.

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