Finding an apartment

Apartment searching in Paris can be quite a struggle and frustrating at times.

Not going to sugar coat it so I’ve been meaning to post a little something about my personal experience (not everyone’s story is the same) since perhaps I can help someone trying to do the same thing I did.
I came to France on a 3 month working visa with purpose of getting my Resident Card (carte de séjour) which means that you have to deposit your file at the local prefecture before the end date on your visa. (including rental contract for the duration of your stay – my lease is for 6 years but technically unfurnished leases are for 3 years which would have been sufficient)
(Thank god for lawyers in my case when I felt I needed to ask questions, they were there to help but if you don’t have one, no biggy, its fairly simple once you’ve been approved… it’s the before part that can be frustrating. Don’t give up!)

I had the visa in my passport but due to work, could only come to France a month later so instead of having 3 months to find something, I had 2 and it was definitely a bit stressful!
DON’T WAIT! LoL! Start right away! 

Good site to look for renting- especially long term.
Some apartments will look sketchy so watch out but I always tried to find apartments with an agency attached to it.

Short term rentals (less than a year) are pretty easy to find (unfurnished=less $$, furnished=more $$) but if you’re looking for a long term rental?
They go quickly!

Tip #1-
If you use, send as many requests as you can and they will contact you via phone or email to set up a viewing.
If there’s a real estate company link to the page, check them out, contact them directly through their contacts page.

Note: Don’t think it’s questionable if an apartment is listed under different real estate companies, it’s allowed in France.
Some will take forever to email you back so if there’s a number?
Call them!
(most speak a bit of English as well)

Tip #3-
Once you’ve set up your appointment, GO PREPARED!
Have as much information with you as possible:

  • Your aunts boyfriends brothers dogs name
  • Last time you sneezed
  • What shoe size your 5 year old nephew wears

Naw just kidding but close!!!

Here’s what I provided in paper form right then and there or via email (in all cases where I was interested):

  • A copy of your passport/visa
  • Copy of Drivers licence
  • Current proof of accomodation
  • Work contract (in my case) or proof of funds
  • RIB (french term of banking info)
  • Last 3 pay statements – I was told by all real estate agents that your monthly net salary must be 3x the monthly rent.
    Example: Rent is 1,000€, your monthly net salary should be 3,000€/month
  • Proof of tax filed (I gave my Canadian 2011 & 2012 statements)
  • I also provided a letter of employment signed by my boss but this is not required at all times (was just an extra)

All documents provided were copies.
Do not provide originals (pretty sure you’re not that stupid but you never know!)
Some people are professionals at being persistent and taking advantage of language barriers, the situation of you being new to a foreign country, etc.
I’ve read HORROR stories.
Always follow your gut instinct! 

Tip #4-
To apply for a residents card (1 year or 3 years, etc), you MUST have a primary address to deposit your file.
I was told by one real estate agent that they needed my French Resident Card (titre de séjour) to apply for the apartment…
It doesn’t make sense that to apply for a residents card you need an apartment and for an apartment, you need a residents card.
Would be the perfect Catch 22!!!
France is complicated but not that complicated. 

NOTE: Always make sure that you can use the current address as your primary address when applying, especially with long term rentals. Some companies (a few that come to mind are probably good to rent short term but make sure to inquire about their long term contracts:,,

Some offer longer rentals but you can’t necessarily use that residence as a primary address, you must have the owners permission first.
VERY IMPORTANT for those who need to find an apartment for residents card!

Tip #5-
Once you’ve applied for an apartment, don’t be alarmed if they don’t let you know if you weren’t approved.
I was persistent (probably annoying) and always called/emailed to follow up but I rather know than wait.
Not going to lie, I was pretty heartbroken when I didn’t get the apartment I fell in love with but now?
Definitely think my studio and I were meant to be.

I found my apartment prior to leaving Canada on SeLoger and called to set up an appointment to see it 2 days after landing, I went to the appointment, applied 3 days later and didn’t hear back for 3 weeks.
And I’m the one who sent the email to follow up.
I applied for a total of 5 apartments (2 that I didn’t get, 2 I never heard from and I had to email to know what was decided on the 5th one… which happened to be the one I was approved for.)
Signed my lease a month after visiting the apartment.

Tip #6-
Once you have been approved for an apartment (Congrats!!), you must get your apartment insurance which is fairly easy and the company I dealt with was AMAZING and efficient.
I had my proof of insurance the same day via email.

Since electricity wasn’t included in my monthly rent, I had to set up an account.
If you need to set up electricity as well, you must call EDF (link: EDF), the only electrical provider in France and let them know you’re about to move.
They’re also pretty fantastic and set up my account fairly quickly. I had hot water and power when I moved in!
It’s helpful prior to calling them if you have the previous owners’ information- last name is sufficient or the counter number – should be on your electrical box.

Tip #7-
When you show up to sign your lease (two lease contacts should be signed and LOTS of pages to initial), you must be ready to date and sign a few cheques.
First one for the deposit + first months rent and second for the real estate fees.
Have these funds ready to leave your bank account. ☺

Tip #8- 
Once you’ve signed the lease and the owner has signed as well, the real estate or owner need/should provide you with a copy.
This will be needed for certain applications, government issued documents, etc.

Tip #9-
An appointment will be set up with you for you to receive your keys and go through the inspection.
DON’T sign anything if you don’t agree whats on the report and make sure they mark down/take photos of all the scratches, bumps, holes, etc already present so when it comes time to move out, they can’t refuse to give your deposit.
Once the report has been written up and signed by yourself, have them send you or make you a copy.

Tip #10-
Congrats you now have your own Paris apartment or studio!!!!!

If you need tips on furnishing an apartment, click here.


** Reminder: this is from my ‘long term rental in Paris’ experience only!
Not everyone’s story is the same.
If you have questions, email me: and I can try to help or guide you in the right direction!

Here are a couple real estate site if you want a peak:
(I’ve contacted them personally and they were very helpful in providing information/setting up appointments)

    • Daniel Féau Real Estate – LINK 
    • Remax France – LINK
    • Century 21 France – LINK



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s