Our Guide to Accommodation

CAF, the benefit system offered by the government, is your budget’s best friend, allowing students to claim money to pay their monthly rent. All you need is a passport, birth certificate, a RIB number from your French bank, proof of your tenancy and a large helping of patience… Luckily you can upload your documents via an app or grab an appointment at the CAF office.

Universal resources for accommodation in France

Accommodation in Paris

Useful Tips:

The 9th arrondissement of Paris and 2nd Arrondissement are our recommended areas to live/stay depending on your visit. They’re both really nice areas with lots of things to do and not too touristy.

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Accommodation in Aix En Provence

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The old town – which, in fact, makes up most of the city centre – is the best place to lay your head. Aix is so compact that, in order to make the most of your time here, it’s best to be in the thick of it. And as Uber does not yet exist here, you’ll be able to have a short walk (or stumble) home.

If you are studying at Aix-Marseille University, one affordable option is to go into student halls. In France, they are called ‘CROUS’ and are a great place for meeting new people, although you may find yourself with lots of other Erasmus students who come from the same place. It normally costs around €1300 for the semester, so it is an affordable option for a six-month stint. Remember to factor in the cost of buying your kitchen equipment, bed sheets or anything else for your new room. The residences are 15 minutes away from the centre, so it will feel like a weird student bubble. As for independent housing, the internet is your best friend. Using websites such as ‘Le Bon Coin’ or even just Erasmus pages on Facebook is a great way to find a room to rent in the centre of this bustling town. Moreover, your language is bound to benefit from having French housemates.

Accommodation in Toulouse

Good areas to live near the centre: Les Chalets, Matabiau, Compans, Carmes, Saint Étienne. 

Areas to avoid: Rue de Bayard, Bonnefoy, Belfort, Pont Jumeaux, Mirail (near Jean Jaurès University), around Arènes.

Useful Tips: 

Rent an Airbnb for a week or two to get your bearings. Go and visit a flat before you send any money or agree to rent it.  Be aware of scams as there are quite a few around. The average rent should be between €350 and €500 per month. 

If you are far out of the city, make sure you are near a tram stop or a metro stop and it will be really easy to get into the centre. For example I had a friend living at Borderouge (end of the metro line) and she commuted in each day.

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Accommodation in Grenoble

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Research the halls you are allocated if you choose to apply to avoid unpleasant surprises when you arrive. You are guaranteed halls accommodation if you apply online before arriving.

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Accommodation in Lyon

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Renting a place near Bellecour – the heart of Lyon – makes for the perfect base. From here, you will be able to get everywhere with ease, be it by metro or foot. Become a local at Slake café, which conveniently makes for a very instagrammable coffee break. If you’re a night owl, then Croix Rousse is the quartier for you with dozens of bars to hop between and a restorative brunch in Les Déjeuneur to tempt you out of bed on the weekends. Guillotière and Saxe-Gambetta are on the other side of the Saône with a vibrant multicultural atmosphere, and as for Vieux Lyon, think twice before unpacking your bags in the city’s biggest tourist attraction.

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Accommodation in Bordeaux

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Definitely try and live with locals to improve your language. Aside from renting a full-time AirBnB (an increasingly popular choice among Erasmus students), there is the option of university halls. These, however, aren’t really in Bordeaux, but in neighbouring (and not very nice) Pessac. Looking over the river is an option, and one which many end up taking. While there are some less-lucky stories of people sharing flats with weirdly hairy 50yr old men, landlords with machetes, and many, many… many cats, there are some who nail it too and end up living in penthouse flats, big townhouses and neat little central studios. So yes, bonne chance! Expect to pay upward of €500/month and just remember… everyone finds somewhere eventually…

Areas to avoid: At night, everything behind Marché de Capucins (Coming from the Basilika Saint Michel). It is where most beggers and dodgy people are.

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