The first thing you absolutely need to do when you arrive in France is secure housing. Now, I had a lot of difficulty with this, however I definitely feel like I could do better if I tried again. So, here are some things you should do and use when you come!
- Start looking early to get an idea of the price range you need to shoot for. I ended up taking something for my MAX budget of 450 euros per month. (We only make 790 euros per month after tax, so keep that in mind.)
- Start sending e-mails about a week before you arrive, and try to schedule some visits right away.
- Ask your school(s) if they have housing for assistants, if they have any recommendations, and for the previous assistant’s contact information. E-mail the previous assistant if you can, and find out where they lived.
- Get a temporary French phone as soon as you arrive, so you can make actual phone calls: This is how you will get in touch with most people! The French are not exactly the best at returning e-mails.
- Websites I’ve used and the usefulness/success I’ve had with each.
- leboncoin.fr: This is the slightly better version of craigslist in France: You can search for apartments (“location”), or for a flat-share (“colocation”). This is the website I had the most success with. However: beware of the scammers! Just be smart, and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- lacartedescolocs.fr: This is a website for “colocations”. This is also a very useful website, however, you need to jump on the adds quick! A lot of people are on here, so apartment adds get a lot of responses.
- La carte des colocs Facebook pages:I came across a Facebook page for the website listed above,specifically for my city. So there may be one for yours as well! A lot of adds were posted here both of apartments and of people looking for apartments.
- appartager.fr: This is one of the first websites I looked at. Your success here will probably depend: Some times of year there seem to be a lot of new posts, other times, all the adds with be weeks old. It’s worth looking at, but not worth being your only resource. However, it is only really useful if you buy the subscription, so I’d recommend buying the 10-day pass when you get to France.
- Look into student/university housing and Foyers des Jeunes Travailleurs in your city! I actually live in a Foyer, and it was quite easy to set up.
- When you are at apartment visits, ask a lot of questions! If necessary, write them down before you come. It’s the worst when you leave only to realize you forgot something.
Hope this helps, and if you have any questions or anything to add, don’t hesitate to ask!