Tips for Student Housing in France | The Student Pocket Guide

For foreign students finding accommodation in France can be a real nightmare, however…

Firstly, you have to look as soon as you can for accommodation in France because French students typically look early for their accommodation, approximately two or three months before the forthcoming semester. Also the majority of French students attend universities in France, compared to Spain and the UK, where there are high numbers of students going abroad to study. Therefore, French students are taking the majority of the accommodation.

French landlords predominantly require a “French guarantor”. This means someone that can cover the payment of rent if the student is unable to pay. The problem is that guarantors need to live or work in France; possibly a friend or relative. This acts as a guarantee for the landlord. Of course, it’s almost impossible for students coming from abroad to have a guarantor to solve this problem, so landlords may ask the foreign student for all the rent upfront, or at least 3-6 months in advance. This can be a big initial expense, but it is often the only way French landlords can ensure rent will be paid.

In terms of accommodation, you’ll find mostly studios. French people don’t really talk about bedrooms or even rooms. French landlords use T1 or F1, T2 or F2, T3 etc to classify the apartment type. The letter T or F refers to Type or Function respectively. The number is used for the number of rooms in the accommodation but without the kitchen and the bathroom. For example, an apartment with a living room and three bedrooms is a T3. A studio is a T1 where the kitchen is a part of the main room (living room/bedroom). In fact, a sofa bed can be rented as an actual bed. If you’re looking for accommodation for two people, you could consider a studio with an additional bed.

As a foreign student studying in France, you have right to a ‘lodging allowance’ called APL, by the CAF institute. You have to complete a form on and they will keep you updated about the financial help they can offer you. The help from the CAF is a national scheme, but in some regions you can ask the regional council if they have a scheme to offer you. Below the regional level, you have the department council that can also help you with finance and transportation. Finally, there is also the municipality council which can make your life easier with financial help.

For more information, visit where you can find apartments, flat mates and see what’s going on in your new city to help you get prepared for your placement abroad, whether it’s for work or study.