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I'm moving to France in a few months and I'm looking for accommodation. I'm interested either in renting an apartment or in renting a room. I am from Spain and I don't know which websites are the most useful for this.

I've tried googling something like "louer apartement Paris" or "louer chambre Paris" and I got some results but I would like to know which are the most common websites to rent apartments or rooms in France (as Idealista is in Spain). in general. If the response varies from region to region I am interested in the Paris area.

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One thing to be aware of is that there are two main legal frameworks for long term rental in France : 'meublé' (furnished) or 'vide' (empty). A 'meublé' will include all furniture (bed, chairs, table, maybe tv set, ...,) whereas a 'vide' rental might include some kitchen stuff (oven, fridge, ...) but no other furniture.

Some clues here on 'meublé' vs 'vide'.

Most important difference : if you rent a 'meublé', the contract is for one year, whereas the contract for a 'vide' apartment is for three years. French law is quite protective for the renter (I mean you, not the owner), especially for 'vide' rentals.

Also, when renting, you have to take into account 'charges' (that might be or not included in the displayed price, look for 'charge comprises' or not. This is what you pay for various stuff mainly related to maintenance of the building/place you're renting.

Then come taxes. You will probably required after one year to pay for 'taxe d'habitation'. That is what the city you are living in will ask for taking charge of city's duties (garbage, streets, ...). It is based on a complex and outdated algorithm mostly related to the surface of the the flat/house, but it's ratio varies from town to town.

Once this established, looking for a rent in the Paris area is a difficult (unless you have excellent credentials and a large amount of money) task. Even for native french. The way thing goes :

  • you find an interesting announce
  • you contact the owner (or it's representative) to actually visit the place
  • they ask for a bunch of documents (mostly based on the idea you are a french national, that include payslips, tax documents, proof that someone will pay for your rent in case you cannot, ...)
  • after a while, they say 'yes' or 'no'

Now, to the question :

https://www.leboncoin.fr/locations/offres/ile_de_france/ is a starting point.

http://www.pap.fr/annonce/location-appartement-maison-ile-de-france-g471 is another option

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Sites that are useful for long term renting and buying include:

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Here are your main options:

  1. An unfurnished apartment by yourself

  2. A furnished apartment by yourself

  3. A "friendly" apartment

  4. Student housing

  5. A roommate situation

Unfurnished apartments. the law protects renters so much that most landlords will demand certain guarantees. You would typically need to show a stable source of income amounting to 3x rent, or (as a student) have a guarantor in France with 3x rent in disposable income or significant assets. If you can show this much income / guarantor, you can use sites like pap.fr, avendrealouer.fr or leboncoin.fr.

Furnished apartments are less regulated. If you're going there for a few months, this may be a good option. The same sites might have good listings. Still, it's a little tricky to secure these ahead of time.

"Friendly" apartments. I'm talking about informal arrangements here—find your "tribe" and make it work for you. Ask around at your university, anyone you know through your network—you never know who may be going away for a few months and needs house-sitting or would do a sublet. Maybe someone from your university in Spain did a similar trip a year before and kept in touch with their landlord, with whom they had a good experience? Try also expat websites such as FUSAC. If you're affiliated with some religion, make it work for you... some people report finding good deals in publications such as "famille chrétienne" or on the (physical) bulletin board of the American Church in Paris.

Student housing. These are usually good deals if you can stand the communal living spaces. Look into your school / university's resources.

Roommate situation. This may be the most flexible setup as it's relatively informal, though a few months may be a bit too short for most roommates. Use school bulletin boards and leboncoin.fr.

Avoid absolutely "list vendors" (marchands de listes). These are shops (online and physical) who will sell you, in exchange for an upfront fee, a list of owners of supposedly attractive and available apartments so that you can hit them up for a private, commission-less deal. You may find out after calling a few that the apartments aren't actually available anymore, and the shop will claim that it's the owner's fault for not letting them know before. These services work well in other places but I've never heard anybody say anything good about them in Paris.

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