Student Accommodation in France – A Complete Guide
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Student Accommodation in France - A Complete Guide

Written by Taru Medha

Once you’re sure you are studying a PhD in France, the next most important step is to look for a place to stay while you’re there. France has a lot to offer from good food and wine to the lovely outdoors, but how you experience your postgraduate years depends a lot on where you stay.

Depending on your budget and the kind of experience you want, you can choose from different types of accommodation available to students in France. This guide talks about them all in detail, how much they cost and how to find them.

Student residences/halls

With lower rents than most other kinds of accommodation, it is no surprise that student halls are popular, especially with international students. You can choose between individual occupancy or a flat share. The demand for student halls usually exceeds the supply making them harder to secure. Luckily, there are a few different kinds of student halls in France you can choose from.

Student halls managed by CROUS

These residences are managed by France’s regional centres for students (centres régionaux des œuvres universitaires et scolaires or CROUS). They are publicly owned housing usually subsidised by the government. You can expect to pay around €525 per month if you’re living in Paris and €350 per month elsewhere.

It is advisable to put in your application as soon as possible as CROUS student halls are always in high demand. It is also worth checking with your institute about any agreement they might have with CROUS.

Depending on your student status (like if you are on a formal exchange programme), there are a few ways to apply for student halls managed by CROUS:

  • If you are on a formal exchange, for example the Erasmus programme, your exchange programme provider will be making the application on your behalf, and you don’t need to contact CROUS yourself.
  • If you are on a Campus France scholarship, they will be making the application on your behalf as well.
  • All other students (sometimes referred to as ‘free movers’) need to make the application themselves on CROUS’s online platform.

Student halls managed by private companies

These privately owned student halls are a good alternative if you haven’t been able to secure accommodation through CROUS. They are more expensive than other student halls, but the housing and additional facilities provided are comparable with privately rented rooms/apartments. You can expect to pay around €900 per month in Paris and €490 per month in other parts of France.

The best place to start searching for these are the individual websites for the private companies that manage these housing like UXCO and Les Estudines. You can put in your application on their respective online portals once you have found an accommodation that is right for you.

Student halls managed by higher education institutions

Most French higher education institutions, particularly the Grandes Écoles, also manage their own student halls. You must contact the accommodation office or student services at your institute to know more find out about availability and bookings.

CIUP student housing in Paris

The Cité internationale universitaire de Paris (CIUP) is a collection of student housing available exclusively to postgraduate students in Paris. It can house almost 6,000 students. Rent usually varies depending on duration of stay, amenities provided and your age. You can find more information on availability and bookings on the CIUP website.

How much do student halls in France cost?

Costs of student halls depend on the kind of accommodation you opt for, where they are located and what amenities they provide. They are the more economical option and cost €250-300 per month on average. Paris is usually more expensive than the national average and accommodation is likely to be more expensive in the city centre. Sometimes, you have to pay for utilities like electricity and internet on top of the rent.

Advantages of student halls/residences

  • They are more affordable than renting on the private real estate market.
  • They are usually situated closer to the university, so you spend less time and money commuting.
  • It is easy to socialise and make friends.

Disadvantages of student halls/residences

  • They may not all be very modern and lavish, and prices increase if you choose one with added facilities like a fitness suite or laundry facilities.
  • If you opt for a flat share, there is not much privacy and you have to navigate through living with other students.

How can you search for student halls/residences?

Depending on the kind of student halls you go for, you can usually find all the information you need on their official websites (check the sections for each individual type of student halls in this guide). Alternatively, you can browse websites like Lokavitz or other property listing websites. You can also get in touch with your university’s accommodation office who will have information not only about housing provided by them but also on what is available on the private market.

Student hostels

Hostels are usually run by non-profit organisations and offer rooms to young students and professionals usually between the ages of 18-25. Hostels usually give priority to shorter stays like for students on internships, but some also accept full-time students.

How much do student hostels in France cost?

Hostels are usually a more economical option for students. Rent can vary depending on which city you are in and how far from the centre the hostel is, but usually hostels in Paris cost around €600 per month and €400 per month elsewhere.

Advantages of student hostels

  • They are an economical alternative if you have not been able to secure a place in a student hall and do not want to rent privately.
  • They are targeted to a specific age group so you are more likely to meet likeminded people and make friends.

Disadvantages of student hostels

  • To ere on the affordable side, facilities at student hostels might not always be the most up to date.
  • In some cases, you might have to share a room with multiple people and share bathrooms.

How can you find student hostels in France?

The best place to start is to look at the websites for the National Union of Student Houses and the National Union for Youth Housing. They’ll have all the information on availability, how to book and what you can expect from your stay.

Private rooms/apartments

If you are unsuccessful in securing a room in a student hall, renting from real estate agents or individual private owners is a good alternative. Students often opt to rent a room in a shared house with other students or rent an entire apartment together as a group of friends. In either case, you will have your own room and share a common kitchen, bathroom and living space. Students who prefer to live alone often opt for studio apartments where they have the entire space to themselves.

How much do private rooms/apartments in France cost?

Renting from estate agents or private owners is more expensive than student halls. If you are renting a room, you can expect the pay around €400 per month. If you are renting an entire apartment by yourself, it can cost upwards of €800 per month in Paris and €500 per month in the rest of the country.

This price does not usually include utilities like electricity, internet and gas. Average prices for utilities range from €150-200 per month with cities like Paris being more expensive.

If you are living with other people, the rent and price of utilities will get divided among the number of people. The more people you live with, the smaller your contribution will be

Advantages of private rooms/apartments

  • You have the freedom to choose who you share your accommodation with (or if you want to share at all).
  • There is more freedom to choose the location and standard of living.
  • They are less competitive.

Disadvantages of private rooms/apartments

  • They are more expensive than students halls.
  • You have to take responsibility of managing utilities and repairs on your own (or co-ordinate with your flatmates, if you have any).
  • They may be further away from university and with lesser opportunities to socialise, especially if you are living alone.

How can you find private rooms/apartments?

There are many websites that list properties available to rent. If you are looking to rent an entire apartment by yourself you can look at websites of real estate agents like Se Loger and Lodgis. If you want to rent an apartment directly from the owner, look at websites like De Particulier à Particulier and Le Bon Coin.

There are usually different websites like appartager and immojeune that host listings for shared houses.

Living with a host family

Students often choose to live with a French host family which is not only an economical option but a good way to get acquainted with a new culture. You’ll be living in the home of another family, and you’ll be provided a room of your own. You’ll usually be sharing the kitchen and living space with the family.

How much does living with a host family in France cost?

Homestays are usually all inclusive (sometimes including meals) so even though the price might look higher than other accommodation, it is likely there will be no overhead costs. Usually, homestays can cost around €60 a day.

Advantages of living with a host family

  • They are a good opportunity to practice and improve your French.
  • It is easy to get absorbed into the everyday life and culture of the country.
  • You will not have to take responsibility of managing utilities or repairs except if you offer to lend a helping hand out of goodwill.

Disadvantages of living with a host family

  • You will have to be extra mindful about house rules since you will be living in another person’s home.
  • They may not always be close to your university.
  • There is always the risk that a host family might not work for you, especially if you’re looking for more independence as a postgraduate student.

How can you find local families to live with?

There are a number of websites like CoHomly or France Stay (only for Paris) where you can find families that offer homestays.

Top tips for finding accommodation in France

Now you know what’s available for international students in France, here are our top tips for securing your ideal accommodation:

  • #1 Start early – Accommodation in France in very competitive and you will have a better chance if you start looking as soon as possible, even before you leave your home country.
  • #2 Book something on a temporary basis – If you are an international student and don’t feel confident booking your accommodation while being in another country, look at short-stay or temporary options. This will give you more time to search for somewhere permanent once you’re in France. Student hostels (if you are between the ages of 18-25) are a good option as a temporary fix.
  • #3 Check if you need a guarantor – Sometimes, as part of signing a rental lease you need to give details of a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay the rent if you are unable to do so. A guarantor has to be a French citizen.
  • #4 Beware of scams – Look out for deals that seem too good to be true and never send money remotely or before signing a formal agreement. Only confirm and pay once you are completely sure, have seen the place in person and are happy with it.

Now that you know where you’ll be staying, you’ll probably want to drop off your bags and head out exploring!

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Last Updated: 17 November 2023