One of the most common concerns after choosing the university you want to attend is how to find student housing.
When it comes to student accommodation in France you will have more than enough alternatives to choose from. Overall, the cost of living in France can be wallet-sucking, but if you manage to find cheap accommodation, cook your meals in the majority of cases, and engage in free activities then there’s a chance you can study, have fun, and still save money.
Before heading to France and getting to see what life as a student is like, see if you have completed all of your travel obligations, such as arranged your accommodation, finances, packed the essentials, and said your goodbyes.
Here’s everything you need to know about student housing in France:
Types of Student Housing in France
Student Residence Halls
Even though the primary goal of resident halls was to assist students to develop their character and intellect, they also served a practical role that is a distinguishing feature of them: providing basic lodging for students. Students can live, study, learn, and sleep in resident halls, meaning the phrase “residence hall” is more of a catch-all term.
In France, the university residence halls are managed by France’s regional centers for student services called CROUS “centres régionaux des œuvres universitaires et scolaires”. Such residences are publicly owned and subsidized by the French government. If you can’t secure a room via CROUS, privately owned and run student buildings are a suitable option. Although the rents are frequently higher than those in CROUS buildings, they are comparable to other types of student accommodation.
|Living in Student Residence Halls|
|Lower rent price||Lack of privacy|
|Close to campus||Small rooms|
|Laundry facilities||Amenities aren’t free|
|Furnished rooms||Roommate incompatibility|
|Less cleaning||Room checks|
Apartment Shares (Flatshares)
In shared housing or flatshares you will be living with two or more people and at the same time sharing costs associated with housing such as rent and utilities. Sharing your apartment with other people is a major stepping stone as you will become more tolerant and more prone to accept differences. Not many students think beyond university accommodation and privately-owned halls and thus get stuck to only one living option, where in fact they can find other convenient types of student accommodation, in this case, flatshares. More than often flatshares are cheaper, better kept, and the right place to meet lifelong friends.
When you come to study in France, you will find flat-sharing to be quite beneficial since it has many excellent features of living, such as much more free space and the ability to meet yourself through meeting other people and living life together. Flatshares are generally less expensive than living alone, although they can be difficult to organize.
|Living in Apartment Shares|
|Better standard of living||Lack of privacy|
|Meeting great people||Extra flatmate problems|
|Reduced costs||Different sleep schedules|
|Shared chores||Parties and noise|
|Independent life||Fights over facilities|
|Borrowing others’ stuff||Ever-changing flatmates|
|No need to buy furniture||No redecorating|
A homestay is a type of lodging in which you live with a local family. Speaking in general, you will have your own room and by spending a lot of time with the new family you will have the treatment of the “special child”. However, you can also occupy your private space and live an individual life while you stay there. Because homestays are frequently all-inclusive, with meals, housing, laundry, and some form of cleaning service all packaged together, you’ll most certainly save a lot of money by going this way. Homestay study abroad programs, in particular, will undoubtedly be less expensive.
It’s a sensible and cost-effective option: you get your own room in a house or apartment while participating in everyday life in France and enjoying the conveniences and amenities of a permanent residence. Some families even give free or discounted rent to students in exchange for services like babysitting, homework assistance, or language training.
|Living in Homestays|
|Enhance your language skills||Settlement far from city center|
|Immerse yourself in French culture||Follow strict house rules|
|Free of house chores||Dependency factor|
|More economical||Communicate all your plans|
|Additional bills not on you||Overnight guests not allowed|
|Home-cooked meals||Culture inadaptability|
|Live like a local||Restricted personal space|
Is always a good option if you have settled down for private housing as long as you have searched other options but did not find them convenient. This alternative tends to be more expensive but definitely more comfortable. Many students choose to colocate, or rent large flats and share them with others. The rent, as well as the costs of power, gas, and internet/telephone service, are split between the residents in shared rentals. However, you can rent a room in an apartment or a house for yourself.
Private student housing frequently has cutting-edge amenities and coveted comforts, and as a result, is significantly more expensive than typical university halls with more basic amenities. In the end, everything comes down to personal choice. If you’d prefer to live in the heart of the city, surrounded by all of its activity and excitement, private housing could be for you. Living in university halls may be a preferable option if you want to be close to university buildings and campus.
|Living in Private Rentals|
|More privacy||More responsibility|
|Quality and comfort||Expensive|
|Near city center||Electricity and other bills|
|Choose your own flatmates||Travel to campus|
|Wide varieties of budgets||“No Pets” policy|
A hostel is a place where students from a school or college may find affordable, nutritious, and safe lodging. Hostels are home to a large number of students. Students who come from a distant town for their education usually stay in hostels, but recently even students from the same area have been choosing hostels. Apart from collaboration, support, a sense of solidarity, and adaptability, hostel life teaches you a lot of other things. In a hostel, a student meets a lot of other students of similar age and outlook. In a hostel, a student is more likely to pick up positive traits from roommates and other hostel residents while simultaneously being exposed to negative influences from others.
Most hostels are run by non-profits (typically religious groups) and cater to young people aged 18 to 25. Some are male-only, while others are female-only. Young employees (on apprenticeships, work-study, or practical training) or students doing internships are frequently given priority. Hostels give the greatest learning environment. While students enjoy the hostel life in various ways, they also work extremely hard when it is time to go.
|Living in Hostels|
|Affordable||Lack of privacy|
|Meet like-minded people||Bunk beds|
|Have a kitchen||Unhygienic room|
|Organized Hostel Activities||Noises|
|Located in beautiful areas||Provide your own toiletries|
|Proximate to campus||Shared bathrooms and showers|
|Disciplined life||Inconsiderate roommate|
Cost of Student Housing France
If you’re wondering how much rent in France costs, you’ll quickly discover that it varies depending on where you live. Rent in Paris can be expensive, but costs outside the capital are typically far more reasonable. Prices are also affected by factors such as whether you reside in the city center or on the outskirts, as well as housing characteristics. Outside of the city center, the minimum rental fee for a one-bedroom residence is €350. However, a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Paris, for example, might cost somewhere around €800-1,000.
Here’s the average cost of rent according to the housing type in France:
|The Average Cost of Student Housing Types|
Here’s the average cost of private rental depending on the city:
|The Average Cost of Rent in Major French Cities|
How to Find Student Housing in France?
This is one of the most important questions every international student has to deal with when deciding to study abroad in France. There are numerous ways in which a student can find optimal accommodation. Here are some of them:
Ask the International Office at Your French Institution
As soon as you arrive on campus, head to the international office and freely ask for student housing recommendations. To be fair, this can also be done before leaving for France, simply by emailing them. In most cases, every university gives a brief instruction upon their campus, whether they offer dorms or hostels. So you will be likely to find options of housing through the international office.
Surf Online Portals
Nowadays you can get everything done through the internet, so finding student accommodation is no exception. Do not wait until you get to France to start looking for a place to live. Apply for a room in a CROUS building, a hostel, or a private residence from the comfort of your own home. While booking a student accommodation, it is not preferred to transfer money over the internet unless you’ve signed a rental agreement and spoken with a property owner or agent in person.
One underrated method of finding a suitable student accommodation is word of mouth. In fact, once you network with local French people you will be amazed by their suggestions and information. Since they are inhabitants of France there is no doubt that they know some of the best places for students, be it an apartment or just a room. Another option would be contacting someone who you know who has lived in France as a student.
What Documents Do I Need?
Generally, to rent housing in France you will need the following documents:
- Photocopy of your ID.
- Proof of studies or a placement contract.
- Proof of residency within France.
- Identification of your guarantor.
- Guarantor’s latest tax assessment.
- Guarantor’s last three payslips.
- Guarantor’s employment contract.
Bonus Student Housing Tips
Here are some extra tips you might find useful before renting in France:
- Carefully read the contract before signing.
- Avoid paying in advance.
- Check the property before paying the rent.
- Look for furnished rentals.
- Rents that seem too good to be true need reassurance.
- Start the process of searching for housing before you arrive in France.
- Chat with your flatmates.
- Know what appliances you should carry with you.
- Check the duration of the contract.