- 💡Tip 1: Don’t pay anything before having direct exchanges with a landlord/agency and signing a rental agreement.
- 💡Tip 2: Don’t wait until you arrive in France to look for housing. Submit your applications early, especially for student residences and student hostels. you can then arrive before the start of the semester to visit the flats you have found.
- 💡Tip 3: Don’t rush: if you don’t find an apartment and you need to fill your visa application, just use your school’s address instead.
- 💡Tip 4: Look for apartments in the right location: to the best rental prices, avoid the central neighborhoods (1st arrondissement, 2nd, 3rd arrondissement, 4th arrondissement) and focus on the outlying arrondissements (13th arrondissement, 18th, 19th, 20th and suburbs of Paris)
Cheap student accommodation tip #1 = Flatsharing
Flatsharing is one of the cheapest student accommodation options available in Paris and it’s also a great way to make friends !
Indeed, on average, you can find rooms for less than 700€ in Paris, for less than 600€ in cities of the suburbs of Paris (banlieue) like Nanterre, Saint-Denis or Créteil (Source).
It is also a more flexible way to rent because most landlords are private individuals who often ask for fewer guarantees than agencies. Because of this, the average search time for a flatshare in Paris is about one month, which is relatively short compared to the average search time for a studio rental.
On top of rent, you may need to pay for additional utilities (WiFi, heating, electricity, etc.), so don’t forget to ask your potential landlord what is covered in your service charges.
How can you find roommates ?
You can find roommates on those sites :
- Room4talk (Website available in French & English)
- Lacartedescolocs (Website only available in French)
- Leboncoin (Website only available in French)
- Appartager (Website only available in French)
- Lokaviz (Website only available in French)
- Locservice (Website only available in French)
- Chez Nestor (Website available in French & English)
- Vivastreet (Website only available in French)
- Recherche Colocation (Website only available in French)
- Afev (Website only available in French)
- Facebook groups like Paris Erasmus Flats & Rooms Appartements & Chambres
Cheap student accommodation tip #2 = CROUS residences
💰 approx €300- €450/month
By far, the cheapest way to find housing as a foreign or an Erasmus student is to stay in a CROUS residence, student accommodation residences managed by the French government all over France. In Paris, there are more than 70 student residences, including the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, a residence reserved for foreign masters and PHD students.
However, with an average monthly rent of €300-450€ (utilities included), it’s no surprise that demand for the rooms far exceeds supply. For this reason, you should apply as soon as possible to have a chance to get a room in one of those residences.
How can you apply ?
- You can apply for “regular” CROUS accommodation here
⚠ There are few rooms available for foreign students as they are mainly reserved for students who receive a scholarship from the French government
- You can apply to the Cité Internationale de Paris (CIUP) here.
There are no deadlines to apply, as the residences accept new residents throughout the academic year. The CIUP’s advice is to submit your request at least a month before arriving in France in general, and no later than April if you are starting your exchange in September. I recommend applying as soon as possible; especially since you can apply even if you have not received a reply to your admission request yet.
The Cité Internationale Universitaire of Paris (14th arrondissement)
Cheap student accommodation tip #3 = student residences and student hostels
If you do not mind having less freedom, student hostels & student residences are a very affordable way to live in the center of Paris, close to the main universities. This makes them a very convenient option for students looking for accommodation near the Sorbonne or Sciences Po.
Student hostels have somewhat strict rules: most of them only accept women, and they have entrance and exit times. In general, utilities are included in the rent (WiFi, heating, electricity, etc.). There are limited rooms available, so apply as early as possible and in the meantime, keep looking for alternatives.
Student residences have more lax rules, but they are often more expensive : you’ll need to get further away from the center to get interesting prices.
How can you get a room in a student hostel ?
You can find a hostel on those sites :
- Union Nationale des Maisons d’Etudiants (Website only available in French)
- CJLT – Centre du logement des jeunes travailleurs, étudiants et stagiaires (website available in French & English)
- Foyer International des Étudiantes (women only residence, website available in French & English)
- Foyer des étudiantes de Carcel (women only residence, website only available in French)
The Foyer d’Etudiantes, a student hostel located only a 5mn walk away from Sciences Po.
How can you get a room in a student residence ?
Cheap student accommodation tip #4 = chambre de bonne
Renting a standard one-bedroom can be very expensive, but you can find more affordable choices if you’re willing to live in a very small space. In Paris, those small studios are called “chambres de bonne” (maids’ room). They’re small independent rooms with a surface area of 9m2 to 13m2 (97 square feet to 140 square feet) and shared toilets and/or shower.