Apartment hunting in any city is never easy—especially if you’ve never been to the city before. Before moving to Paris, my roommate and I did a lot of research into the different housing options, and decided a temporary stay apartment was for us. Though the New School does offer dorms located in 14th arrondissement, as two, third year students, dorm life was not as appealing as finding a place of our own. If you are on the rapid hunt for a place to stay while in Paris as we were, this post is my guide to surviving the search!
The first thing you need to know about Paris, is that it’s split up into sections/districts known as arrondissement’s. Each arrondissement has it’s own charming characteristics that have built Paris to be the city it is today, the question you may be asking is, which one is best for me?
If you’re looking to live around a younger crowd, you’ll want to check out Le Marais (3rd & 4th arrondissement’s), Le Bastille (11th arrondissement), Or le Quartier Latin (5 th&6th arrondissement’s). Located on the right bank, Le Marais is known for its plenitude of important historical buildings, its art galleries, and its fashion. The near by Bastille district has a similar vibe, one can easily recognize this area by the monument Colonne de Juillet which is at the center of “Place de Bastille” if you’re ever lost in the 11th, all you have to do is look for this tall column, and you’ll find your way. Across the river on the left bank we have the Quartier Latin, which was named for its residency of Latin scholars who often studied at popular school located there, the Sorbonne. From personal experience, I can recommend the cafés in le Marais, the shopping in le Bastille, and the open air markets in le Quartier Latin (all of which are great reasons to live in one of these areas).
If you’re looking to live somewhere a little closer to Parsons Paris, Opéra, Louvre/Palais Royal, Chatelet- Les Halles are located all around the 1st and 2nd arrondissement’s. These areas benefit from the convenience of living in the center of Paris, but also a highly populated by tourism. A five-minute walk from Musée de Louvre is a perfect place for the school, but may not be the ideal place for everyone, especially if noise is a factor. Some major benefits of living in these areas include being walking distance from school, and easy access to nearly every metro line (no need to constantly be making train transfers).
Other central areas of Paris include Saint Germain des Prés (6&7th arrondissement”s), which has the beauty of being along the left bank of the river Seine, (a prime spot for picnics in the spring/summer months). Also if you’re living in the 7th you’re likely walking distance from the beautiful Tour Eiffel.
Champs Elysées (8th arrondissement) although home to l’arc de triomphe, and a spectacular Christmas market, is more of a big business oriented area. Montmartre (9th and 18th arrondissement’s) is recommended by day for viewing historic venues such as the Moulin Rouge, and the breathtaking basilica at Sacre Coeur, but is not a highly recommended living environment for young students. Similarly, near by République (10th arrondissement) has great nightlife, but not a particularly recommended residential living space.
Once you’ve decided which arrondissement is for you, it narrows down the apartment search quite a lot. The secret to finding a short-term place to stay in Paris may be a temporary apartment rental. It is very common in Europe to find weekly or monthly fully furnished apartment rentals, pre-equipped with the household items you will need for your stay. Thanks to many references from friends, family, and Internet reviews I felt very comfortable that the apartment I was looking at online, was what I would expect in real, upon my arrival to Paris. Even better, there are plenty of options where the prices were either comparable to the dorms in New York, or sometimes less expensive, (music to my fathers ears).
Many of my friends from Parsons Paris have used one of the following websites for their apartments this semester:
1. Paris Attitude: http://www.parisattitude.com/default4.aspx
What’s great about this website, is it allows you to easily select your budget, and preferred arrondissement’s straight away. There are plenty of photos and reviews of each apartment that make it easier to imagine what it would be like living in the space, sometimes they even show exterior views of the neighborhood.
This website again, very easily maps out the process, while also having many options. Another nice thing about LODGIS, is with each apartment it shows which languages are spoken by the landlords, so there are no surprises if you have any technical issues with the place during your stay.
3. Paris Address: http://www.parisaddress.com/
Paris Address is the website I’ve used most frequently for apartment hunting for multiple reasons. The number one reason for any college student, the cost. The fact that heating, electricity, and water costs were included in one flat rate for the entire semester put us much more at ease. We knew going into the apartment what the cost of the semester would be, and that was a relief. Also, the customer service was excellent, upon any request they responded cordially and promptly (and in perfect English). Also being big tea drinkers, when we noticed our electric kettle was broken at the start of our stay, they replaced it with a new one, no charge. (Yes, for me, it’s the little things that count).
Of course I must remind you fellow apartment hunters, if sometimes something sounds too good to be true, it doesn’t hurt to do more research, check reviews, read that the apartment includes the proper amenities, etc. Just because one listing may offer a washer-dryer, elevator, phone, cable, and wifi—doesn’t mean they all do. Also things you may forget to consider include, what floor is the apartment on? Is it a loud neighborhood? How many bedrooms are there? Etc.
Before you know it you’ll be strutting down the Parisian streets, baguette in one hand and your keys in the other. Until then mes amis, Bonne Chance!