The property market in Paris is very pressurized, and rents are accordingly high. This is especially true inside the boundaries of the city itself (Paris intra-muros). Living outside the city limits (en banlieue) is not ideal either, as you can expect to spend a lot of time commuting. This article will concentrate on getting the best of both worlds: finding (relatively) cheap accommodation inside Paris.
However you intend to find accommodation, it is better to try several options at once not to wait too much (you can start searching in May or June). In any case, expect to pay at least 500 € for the rent.
The best way is to know someone who already lives there. Don’t hesitate to ask friends (or to post a message of the ELS facebook group) if they know someone who has rooms to rent.
Apartment-sharing is quite rare in Paris, especially among strangers.
- Finding an apartment in the private sector with a broker is of course the first way to go. You need to be able to demonstrate your parents can vouch for you and to cash out the amount of a few month’s rent at once for starters (broker expenses, safety deposit and of course the first month itself). As you are a student of Assas, you could look for housing in Montrouge. Montrouge is a suburb in the south of Paris, about 25 minutes away from Assas with the metro line 4. Because it is outside Paris proper, the housing situation there is somewhat less cramped. Another similar possibility is Issy-les-Moulineaux, half an hour away from Assas (metro line 12).
- You can also find an accommodation directly with the owner through a website such as https://www.seloger.com, https://www.pap.fr/, etc.
- University accommodation: The Centre Régional des Œuvres Universitaires et Scolaires (CROUS) provides about 6000 lodgings inside Paris. However, in order to apply for them, you need to file a Dossier Social Étudiant (DSE) first (before the 15th of May!!), and to meet the social criteria (you won’t be entitled to anything if your parents have good revenues). Also, you have to apply before the 25th of June (for the lodgings). The procedure starts here: https://www.messervices.etudiant.gouv.fr/envole/
- Student residences (private sector): It may surprise you, but most private residences are run by religious organisations -almost universally catholic- and some of them are female only. Prices vary greatly (often depending on your parents’ revenue). You need to be careful about the rules imposed on residents, some residences are quite strict. During the application process, you will most certainly have to meet one of the people running the residence for an interview. The goal of the interview is to make sure you are a sane, polite person and have values compatible to those uphold by the institution running the residence. It does not mean you have to show faith but an open attitude towards religion is recommended. The residences are often very well situated. This website contains the list of every catholic residence inside (and some around) Paris.
- Renting a room in a private home:
Depending on your host, this can be a very inexpensive and agreeable way to live in Paris. Some associations who can act as “matchmakers”:
- http://ensemble2generations.fr/ (the concept is that a student lives with an elderly person. He can pay reduced rent, in exchange of services to his elderly host)
- http://www.logements-etudiants.org/ is the website of the CEP Entraide Etudiants, also linked with the diocèse (Church of Paris). Very efficient if you apply early.