Renting in France

Renting in France can be a dirty business, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. From rogue landlords charging 800€ for a 16m2 apartment with the toilet next to your oven. Or those telling you that’s normal to submit your dossier for a place just to later find out your identity has been stolen. We’re here to make sure to teach you the ropes for a successful experience!

When should I start looking for a

place to live

I would recommend you start looking up renting in France 3 months before your move to find something nice. Option 2 is to find something, move, and then find the final apartment you want to stay at from there.

Depending on your financial situation you can look for an apartment/house on your own, research the worlds of flatshares. You can also look for “free” accommodation, mostly in exchange for small services like childcare or custodial duties.

4 Steps to your new home :

Step 1: Know what you are looking for

This ranges from knowing what type of property you are looking for (flat, studio, house) to which city (Lyon, Toulouse, Lille) all the way to which district of this city. It all helps narrow down your search and be specific. You’ll be able to set up search alerts and get a feel for what is out there, and how much it can cost you. Do you want to share or live alone, do you have pets, do you need to be close to public transport – make a list, your future self will thank you!

Step 2: Go on the Hunt

There are countless websites where you can search for renting in France, but I’ll start with the most valuable one first, as it has helped me find my dream apartment :

You sign up, plug in what you are looking for, and it will dispatch little robots to all renting websites and send you only those that match what you are looking for – priceless.

It’s probably the most classic website most people will refer to

Careful with this one, it’s the gumtree/craigslist of France, so you’re likely to run into scams.

There are countless more, but the above are “the classics” and always a safe bet.

Shared accomodations

If you are looking to join a flashare, there are several ways to do this

  • Facebook – there will be a group for the place you are looking for, find it and join it
  • Word of Mouth – someone will always know someone who is looking for a flatmate – just be sure to tell people you’re looking so you become an option. If you work in an office or go to university you’ll probably have plenty of people looking to match up.
  • Here are some websites where you can also sign up and see if you find a flatmate :


La carte des colocs


Step 3: Apply

Bear in mind that the housing market is super competitive. Speed and precision are your best friends. The best strategy is to go on the hunt with your Dossier already ready to send. Once you find a place you like, the landlord will look upon your application more favourably than someone who will first ask 20 questions. You can always ask questions later, before signing a contract. In cities like Paris it’s not unusual to have hundreds of candidates for one apartment, so if you don’t get this one, don’t take it personally, it’s completely normal. Some landlords will ask for a Guarantor which we cover in this article, and it’s better to have a bank account set up already so you can prove you can automatically pay rent. 

Step 4: Move & Set Up

If you are successful in your search, you will pay a deposit and sign your rental contract. Remember to clarify the situation about the energy bills. We advise to take these matters into your own hands (just in case). Once you have the keys, you can get started – our Moving Day Checklist is an amazing help (we think). 

The most pressing items are to get yourself set up with internet & energy, there are French startups such as Papernest who make this easy for you and help with the transition. 

Tips and tricks

  • Furnished and Unfurnished Apartments are treated differently – read more about it in our contract section (link to contract section)
  • Furnished apartments legally need to be equipped with a bed + bedding, a table and seating, storage shelves, lighting, a fridge, freezer, crockery and kitchen utensils.

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