What kind of accommodation should I choose?
As CROUS public student housing is overloaded, distressed students turn to rentals between private parties (by owners) although these turn out to be a hassle. Proving solvency, competing candidates by hundreds, guarantors… it seems you have to perform the 12 labours of Hercules to inspire sympathy and trust to owners.
And that’s hardly an overstatement! Finding your home when you’re a student isn’t simple. Especially when you’re a foreigner, since you don’t have a french guarantor and don’t speak the same language.
You have multiple options for accommodation during your stay in France. You can rent a studio, flatshare, live in a student residence or a CROUS residence, rent a room at an owner’s place, rent a room in exchange for services… these accommodations vary a lot from one city to another. It’s like you’re thrown into the deep end: you won’t really know what to choose for a start. And yet you have to move fast!
There’s more and more students in France every year (we’re expecting 7 million international students in 2020) and not enough slots to house the whole of them. So it can get tricky to get an apartment that fits your criteria and that you’re happy to live in. Student housing’s a stressed market in France: the early bird catches the worm, folks!
Nothing to panic about though. Studapart allows you to look for almost any type of accommodation depending on your needs, and located within your university’s area. You’ll have a choice! And to help you make that choice, we provide you with some guidance about the specific features of each accommodation type.
One of the most important things to make the most of your time abroad is to feel comfortable at home! Depending on your budget and personality, you have several different options.
Studios rented by a private owner
Andreas is european and already visited France several times, so he adapted very quickly to his environment. He’s very outgoing and likes to party, so he has no issue meeting locals and making friends. He reconverted into a vanilla frappuccino expert on saturdays to alleviate the rent.
He rents a studio in downtown Lille. That way, he’s in the heart of the centre’s liveliness while having his independence. He’s a social person, but at the same time, he likes having his own personal space and some peace and quiet to study on the rare occasions he’s at home.
If like him, you like your independence and are at ease in unknown territory, you can totally get a studio. It’s the kind of place that will give you the most freedom. It’s also the most common accommodation in the rental stock.
A studio will cost you around 250€ in Chalon-sur-Saône, 350€ in Bordeaux, 460€ in Aix-en-Provence and from 700 to 900€ in Paris. You will also have to take into account Internet, electricity and rental charges.
Jian shares his apartment with two students from Lyon. They showed him around Lyon, helping him discover the best library to work in and their top choices of affordable bars. Jian particularly likes to unwind at dinner time by sharing his meals with them - especially when it comes to pizza on friday night.
Jian's room in a flatshare
Jian rents a 14m2 room in a 65m2 apartment. He chose to flatshare to pay a bit less as Lyon is an expensive city, and also to socialize with other young people. Thanks to his flatmates, he didn’t feel lonely when he arrived. Chatting with them also helps him work on his french.
Flatsharing is ideal if you’re rather sociable and if you want to feel at home while discovering local student’s lifestyle. You will pay reasonable rent for an apartment more spacious than if you lived on your own. And besides from sharing the rent, you can also share grocery shopping and take turns for chores. If you’re moving in with strangers, you will have the opportunity to make friends outside from high school. If you stay with people you know, living with them might be more spontaneous, but it can also get more tricky to speak up if something goes wrong!
If you and your flatmates don’t have the same pace of life, think things through and make sure it won’t bother you in the long term.
Private student residences
Eshana comes all the way from from Bangalore. She came to study Space Sciences in Toulouse and her master takes up practically all of her time. She’s a sporty person, so when she’s not studying, she likes to go for a run.
Eshana's place in a student residence
Eshana went with the comfort of a student residence. It made things easier for her to arrive in a fully equipped apartment close to college, with Internet access and a laundry. It comforts her to be surrounded by other students she can interact with in the common spaces. On the other hand, she can be alone in her studio when she needs to focus. And her residence has a gym, so she regularly goes there to blow off steam. In total, she pays €475 a month for a 21m2 room.
Private student residences offer furnished rooms that are more pricey than public residences, but they come with premium services. Front desk, household linen, breakfast and premises cleaning are compulsory. In addition, they usually offer more things such as laundry, housekeeping, Internet access, bicycle storage… In general, the premises are modern, renovated and fully equipped. Accommodations include a kitchen area with a sink, heating plates, refrigerator, microwave and dishware. They also come with storage, TV and telephone plugs, furniture, light and a bathroom. Linen is also provided and changed on a regular basis.
In a student residence, you will have all you need for a serene academic stay. Accommodation surface ranges from 15 to 75m2 and rent goes from €350 to €500. Prices can climb to €800-900 in Paris.
Ji-Woong is studying in the Beaux-Arts of Bordeaux. She wanted to get a real taste of life as a local and to discover french culture day-to-day. She was also a bit concerned about feeling lost upon arriving in France.
Ji Woong's place in a homestay
She got a room in a homestay, where she has 16m2 of private space in a beautiful 80m2 apartment in the center of Bordeaux. Her hosts are a couple with a kid, who enjoy welcoming international students. There was a good feeling with them when they met on Facetime and she decided to trust them with her stay in France. Now, they gladly spend time together in the common spaces. She feels well surrounded at their place.
When in a homestay accommodation, you share a place with the owner of the house. Usually, you will have a furnished room as your private space, and the owner also gives you access to the kitchen and bathroom. They often give you access to the living room too. The room must meet certain requirements: to measure a minimum of 9m2, have a window, lighting and basic furniture. It’s an affordable solution: rent ranges from €250 in most cities to €400 in the capital, and you won’t have to pay additional costs like internet access for instance. You won’t be on your own, and that can be both useful and relieving if you’re arriving in a completely new place you don’t know anyone in. Obviously, the experience will depend on your affinities with the host, and you will have to make concessions regarding privacy and independence. You will inevitably have to follow certain rules established or implied by the owner.
For this kind of rental, the owner might have you sign an agreement to establish the rules framing your cohabitation at their place (pets, visitors, access to common spaces…). Discuss those with your host: be accommodating, but make sure the conditions he places aren’t too restrictive!
Accommodation in turn of services
Marta came to study social sciences at Paris Diderot University. Her budget is quite limited for life in Paris so she had to find a solution for paying rent in the capital. She loves kids, cooking, and exploring town. As her studies don't take all of her time, she chose to rent a place in turn of services to her hosts to make up for her tight budget.
Marta's place in a homestay
She rents a room in a 83m2 apartment owned by a couple with 2 children aged 6 and 8. She liked the idea of paying part of her rent by taking care of the kids. She takes them to the movies or to the park when their parents want to have a bit of free time. She also teaches them spanish. She cooks for the family from time to time - they’re mad about her tortilla. Still, her hosts don’t intrude upon her privacy and don’t constantly seek her assistance.
Renting a room in turn of services is the most affordable housing solution. It works the same as homestay, but the rent can be even lower in exchanges for certain services such as assistance in grocery shopping and chores. This kind of accommodation is usually hosted by elderly people who like having some company or by parents that need someone to babysit their children or who would like you to teach them your language. If you go for this kind of accommodation, we strongly advise you sign a contract with your host to define your arrangement. Just like homestays, it’s a great option if you wish to bond with locals.
Homestays are not suitable if your studies are very demanding because the services asked from you might be a bit time-consuming for someone who studies a lot.
Rooms in public student residences are cheaper than in private residences. On top of that, you can apply for the APL (housing welfare) when you live in a CROUS residence, resulting in a great economy. But public residences don’t offer the same level of comfort as private residences, and they’re muchmore demanded: it’s very difficult booking a slot in time and you will have to make a specific application to demand a room.
There are two kinds of accommodations in CROUS residences:
individual furnished 9m2 rooms with shared kitchen and bathroom. They’re quite small but convenient considering the rent starts at €150.
furnished studios, from 21 to 31m2. They’re more spacious, with a private bathroom and kitchen corner. The rent for these is around €400.
You won't find CROUS residences offers on your Studapart housing platform though.