Colocating (sharing an apartment) in Paris is one of the most popular ways to live in France’s capital city. Thousands of students, both from France and overseas, arrive at the start of school term and are seeking somewhere to live. There are also professionals and residents who will have rooms to let to help pay the bills in what is, unfortunately, one of the world’s most expensive cities. Avoid the common pitfalls with colocating by following this easy-to-use guide.
Before Arriving In Paris
Before arriving, it’s best to work out exactly what kind of colocation is required. It will also help no end to speak some basic French, as Anglophones (unless brave) are immediately discounting most of the people that are seeking a room in Paris. Ask the following questions to get an idea of the exact type of arrangement that is being sought:
- How long will I stay in Paris?
- How much am I prepared to pay?
- What type of person am I looking for (basic) – age, gender, student/professional?
With these, you’ll be ready to filter the hordes of people seeking roommates in Paris.
Searching for a Roommate Once in Paris
One in the city, things get interesting. The first port of call is normally be Fusac (France USA Contacts), which has hundreds of listings of accommodation offers, roommate shares and job listing. Pick up a copy at most Anglophone places, including the American Church in Paris (near Les Invalides). The American Church is a great place to go in it’s own right, as it posts daily petit annonces (classifieds) which are used by expat and French people alike to advertise rooms and colocations. You can also try Shakespeare & Company, an English-language bookshop, which has noticeboards (and will even offer a bed if you’re a desperate writer!) and if you’re a student, the Sorbonne accommodation noticeboards.
If staying in a hostel or hotel whilst hunting, try to make sure it has an internet connection – it’ll be necessary. Kick off with Craigslist, which is updated daily and has a dedicated category for Paris room sharing. Be careful and take the same precautions as you would when meeting any stranger; if possible, take someone with you; tell people where you’re going; meet in a public place etc. After Craiglist, try ParisColo, which accepts registrations from accommodation-seekers in the city and sends regular emails with listings. Googling ‘Paris colocation” gives a multitude of options, most of which require subscriptions but may be a good way to find a French-speaking roommate.
Try to get out and about in Paris as much as possible – not only will it make life easier and more fun in the city, it dramatically increases the chances of meeting someone fun. You’ll need to decide once the right person has been found how you want to proceed; if they already have a place, great, but are you prepared to pay agency fees to find a new place if not?
Once You’ve Found A Colocation in Paris
Before you move in, it will most probably be necessary to sign documentation – possibly in French. If you can’t speak French and don’t have someone who can, it’s worth asking (maybe paying) someone to look it over. Ensure that both parties sign the documentation, especially if moving in with a stranger, so that you’re not liable for everything. Most importantly don’t hand over any money until you’ve seen a place and been given the keys.
It’s a difficult task but Paris is one of the most popular cities in the world and when you’re in a nice place with a nice person it’ll seem worth it. Most importantly, keep the faith and don’t give up – there are thousands of successful colocations in the city and with some persistance, you can’t fail!