Finding somewhere to live

Finding somewhere to live in Paris has been one of the most difficult and stressful things I have ever done.  I would like to take this moment to both apologize to and to thank everyone who has listened to me moan and stress about my lack of accommodation, especially my family and Amy and Craig, for whom I know it seemed like a never ending topic of conversation and source of anxiety!

One of things the University of Edinburgh stress is the importance of starting your search for accommodation early.  I found out at the end of November that I’d be studying in Paris, and I started looking at accommodation after Christmas.  I visited a private halls of residence with my family in April and it was perfect.  However, I spent the next few months (up until the days before I left for Paris in August) trying to secure a room there with no success.  As far as I know I’m actually still on the waiting list so who knows, maybe I’ll get an email from them yet!  Basically every halls of residence I applied to said the same thing: They didn’t know their availability in August/September yet and could I apply again nearer the time please.  When I did apply again nearer the time they said they were full, even though they were advertised on various websites as having rooms available.  My dad and I spent most of my last fortnight in Edinburgh calling these residences to try to secure a room, with no luck.

So I started looking at renting privately, which was something I had tried to avoid.  Halls appealed to me as it seems more sociable, often there are amenities like washing machines, and bills would be included in the price.  Originally I had tried to find a flat to share with another Edinburgh student, but the prices were just too high for something that actually had two bedrooms.  So I ended up looking for a studio with an agency called Lodgis.  They really were very helpful, though being an agency you do have to pay a fee to them.

I arrived in Paris on a Sunday morning with a studio viewing later on that afternoon.  We had made a list of studios that looked okay, and so Dad and I spent the day walking round the areas.  This was so useful as there were some areas I just immediately ruled out as they felt unsafe.  My priorities totally changed from wanting to be able to walk to uni, to preferring to be in a area that felt safer and had more going on and having to take the metro to uni.

We walked around the area I now live in at some point on the Sunday and it was just the best place we’d been in by far.  It’s also five minutes away from Place des Vosges which is the oldest planned square in Paris and is just beautiful.  I think I’ve been there almost every day since I moved here!  We viewed the studio on the Monday morning and moved in on the Saturday morning.

Of course, there was a lot of paperwork to be signed, all of which was sent via email from Lodgis.  I needed to send a scan of my passport, proof of being a student in Paris (I used my Diderot acceptance letter), last bank statement, my Dad’s passport (as he was my guarantor), his last 3 payslips and most recent bank statement.  I think most of it was signed electronically actually, with just one document my Dad had to copy out (in French) as my guarantor.  I also had to get insurance sorted before I moved in, and had a lot to print for that which I was told I’d need to give to Bertrand the property manager when I moved in, but he was happy with an email with the pdfs.

So after a trip to Castorama earlier in the week, which is kind of like IKEA, in which we bought a coat stand and a plastic drawer thing, I moved everything in to the studio on the Saturday!

The studio is small, but it’s a great size for it just being me by myself!  It’s just been redone and I’m the first tenant to stay in it since, which is pretty perfect!

This is the view from my windows
This is the view from my windows

In hindsight, I think the best thing to do would be to make the most of the three month uni summer and come out for a week in July, go to a whole load of viewings, and hopefully secure somewhere before you leave. Then you’d have a better idea of what you needed to bring and what you had space for before arriving properly.  To be honest though, I think a lot of it comes down to luck!!


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