#4: Follow @parisstudent411 on Twitter!

BONNE ANNÉE 2014!

Want a New Year’s Resolution that doesn’t involve giving up chocolate (or anything you love), break the bank or, heaven forbid, require running anywhere (or getting up for that matter)?

Well, I’ve got the perfect resolution for you and all it takes is the click of a button…

Follow parisstudent411

That’s right blogging buddies and people of Paris, your Paris Student 411 has TWITTER! Tweet me @parisstudent411 – as always, I’m here to provide you with #helpfulhindsight about all things Paris 🙂 

So, what are you waiting for,  !

A bientot,

Your Paris Student 411 xoxo

(Psst…If you are waiting to tweet me, do check out this cheeky check-list with some of the Best of Paris 2013 according to one of my new favourite sites: My Little Paris) Now there’s a few for the Paris bucket list 2014…

Tweet me @parisstudent411

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#3 Meeting people in Paris

Hello people of Paris!

That’s right, I’m back and blogging after a hectic few weeks of interning in Paris! Thank you so much again for your lovely and constructive feedback from my recent blog post ‘Finding Accommodation in Paris’ – I’m genuinely delighted to hear that it has helped so many of you on the great Parisian house-hunt! What’s more, thanks so much for taking the time to fill in my Poll ‘What would you like more information about?’

That’s right, the results are in and this time Paris Student 411 is talking: MEETING PEOPLE IN PARIS!

Meeting people in Paris…where to begin?! Well, in all honesty, the phrase meeting people in Paris is pretty ambiguous really – sure Romain, the 40-something waiter (who bizarrely keeps offering you cut-price drinks?!) from your local brasserie may seem very nice but let’s be honest, is he really friendship material? I’ll let you decide!

Je blague…but in all seriousness, meeting people in Paris really isn’t too tricky. Finding friends in the capital on the other hand can be quite a challenge at firstunless you know where to look!

BUT, that’s where the Paris Student 411 comes in: I’m here to mitigate a little of the initial loneliness of moving to the capital with my “here’s how” guide to meeting peeps in Paris. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly no Paris Hilton (the socialite, not the hotel!) but I’d love to share with you some of the ways I’ve enjoyed meeting new friends in the city of lights!

To make your lives that little bit easier, I’ve decided to break this blog down into bitesize chunks for you to digest and enjoy (much like you would a pain au chocolat on a Sunday morning…) so you can easily scroll down to the section that most interests you:

1) START A NEW SPORT, OLD SPORT: get buff while making bffs… 

2) STUDENT BARS & CLUBS: a few of my favourite student haunts in Paris! 

3) TRY SOMETHING NEW TODAY: Sainsbury’s sure did know a thing or two about making friends in Paris…

5) USEFUL WEBSITES: a bunch of really handy sites…

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1) START A NEW SPORT, OLD SPORT

So, you’re looking to meet friends in Paris and you’d kinda like to meet vrai Parisians, you know, the beret-wearing, baguette-eating, breton-t-shirt-wearing types (shameless stereotyping but you get the gist), BUT you’re just not sure where start. On top of this, you’re not feeling in your best shape after a loooong Summer holiday of indulging in all the petits gourmandises home has to offer, eating endless Sunday roasts with the fam, “sipping” pina coladas by the dozen in the Costa del-somewhere and generally having a well-deserved, yet far-from-fit time of it all!

Let’s be honest, the answer’s staring us all in the face, how about starting a new sport? After all, the year abroad is all about broadening your horizons (not your waistline!) and it’s a sure fast way to get buff and a BFF (got to stop using that line!)

Here are a few of my favourite sporting discoveries in Paris so far:

i) RUNNING
Often thought of as a solo sport, my time with the Ladies Jogging Soc at Uni taught me otherwise! In fact, I’ve met loads of people in Paris who have been keen to get out and about and explore Paris on fast-feet! Although it may not be the most sociable way of meeting new friends, it is certainly a good way of bonding with a new Parisian ami/e –  I mean, looking like a beetroot is no fun alone!

PARIS STUDENT 411 RECOMMENDS:  Running PARIS HALF MARATHON for Macmillan Cancer support
WHY? Stay fit, have fun with friends and fundraise for a great cause!
WHEN? Sunday 4th March (plenty of time to get marathon-ready!)
HOW? Get your trainers on and get out there, set up a Just Giving page and raise raise raise (and I’m not just talking about all the cakes you’ll be baking!!)
HELP! Your Paris Student 411 needs help raising money for Macmillan! I would really appreciate any donations if you’ve got a spare couple of pounds lying around, just click donate on my Just Giving Page: http://www.justgiving.com/kcook4

*HINDSIGHT HINT* : Why not join the meetup.com group ‘Let’s Run Paris!’http://www.meetup.com/Lets-Run-Paris/

ii) PLAYING HOCKEY

When I arrived in Paris, I was keen to immerse myself in the French culture, so I decided to take up that oh-so-typically-French sport…hockey (naat).
After a year of not playing I thought joining a local Parisian club would be a great way of meeting French girls and guys of my own age and keeping fit at the same time.

PARIS STUDENT 411 RECOMMENDS:  Paris Jean Bouin Hockey Club (PJB)
WHERE? Route des Lacs à Passy, 16th arrondissement (take Bus number 32 to stop Passy or nearest metro, Ranelagh is a 10/15 minute walk away. FYI: the last 32 bus from Passy back to central Paris leaves just before 9)
WHO? Students and 20-somethings, guys and girls teams
HOW TO GET IN TOUCH? Contact PJB on pjbhockey@hotmail.fr  or phone: +33 1 46 51 74 34
PROS: Everyone is really friendly (and French!), central Paris, good after one two many crepes, post-match beers at the local brasserie where you only speak French for a few hours – ideal!
CONS: bit pricey to join for the year

iii) YOGA/PILATES
Its not often that you find a sport which is good for the mind, body and meeting new friends!

PARIS STUDENT 411 RECOMMENDS:  Wanderlust
WHERE? Better known for being club-of-the-moment in Paris, Wanderlust is also home to a range of more tranquil pursuits…Find it in the 13th arrondissement, metro Gare d’Austerlitz, Line 10 
WHEN?
Saturday evenings at 6-7pm during the Autumn, anyway 🙂
HOW MUCH? FREE (now that’s a Parisian first!) you just have to buy a 20 euro yoga mat or bring your own (Decathlon is the place to go)

iv) JOIN A GYM
If you prefer Body Pump (or pumping iron for all you lads…) to pumping out bad “energies” whilst doing the downward facing dog (a yoga position, to clarify) – why not check out one of Paris’ many gyms.

PARIS STUDENT 411 RECOMMENDS: Parisfitness.com
This website gives a pretty extensive list of gyms in Paris, so why not check out if there’s one near you!
PROS: gyms are a great place to meet not just any old Parisians, but Parisians who are in shape…always a bonus! Also, cancelling your gym membership in Paris can’t possibly be as tricky as this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GGLvbUVfL8
CONS: the sweaty-betty look isn’t entirely conducive to friend-making and gyms in the capital can be pricey…

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2) CHECK OUT THE STUDENT BARS & CLUBS!

The end of August/ beginning of September is prime-time for meeting people in Paris! And why not make the most of what Paris nightlife has to offer before your dreaded lectures start in September, not that a 9am ‘Art et pouvoir’ lecture will keep you from partying the Paris night away!!

i) GO TO ERASMUS PARTIES!

Make sure to go along to the Erasmus parties at the beginning of term, of which there are sure to be plenty!! If you’re working like me – definitely crash the student events during Erasmus Fresher’s week – they’re a great place to meet other students of all nationalities.

EXAMPLE? Sciences Po University hosted a bar-a-day event in the first week which meant mingling and meeting up with lots of fellow Year-Abroaders, all keen to speak in French, especially after a couple of happy hour cocktails…

CHECK OUT: The BDE (Bureau des Eleves/ Students Union) University facebook pages, here are a couple below:
SciencesPo: https://www.facebook.com/pages/BDE-Sciences-Po/112445632147028
– Sorbonne: https://www.facebook.com/bde.sorbonnenouvelle

ii) HIT UP THE STUDENT BARS!

Now, drinking definitely isn’t essential to meeting people in Paris, but it certainly helps loosen the French tongue! Before you know it (and after a couple of happy hour h-bombs), you’ll be whipping out your best French idioms and having – what you think, at least – is a fabulously fluent conversation with your new-found French buddy. So what if your conjugation’s cringe-worthy and you’re speaking a bizarre form of Franglais when you can’t remember a word, you’ve found a new friend and feel all the better for it!

Here are a few of my favourite Parisian hang outs for meeting new people 🙂

PARIS STUDENT 411 RECOMMENDS:

1) EARTH KITCHEN
WHERE? Rue Daunou, 2nd arrondissement, metro = Opera
PROS: happy hour will make you seriously happy
– find cocktails for 2 euros on a Wednesday evening! Also, GREAT tapas!
CONS: small bar so it tends to get a little cosy to say the least…
WEBSITE: http://www.earthkitchenbar.com/

2) LE CROCODILE
WHERE? 6 rue Royer-Collard, 5th arrondissement, metro = Luxembourg or Cluny la Sorbonne
PROS: choice of 300 reasonably priced cocktails (€6 during happy hour, €9 otherwise), a lethal range of shots (including speculoos vodka…) Definitely check out Time Out’s review of Le Crocodile for more info!
CONS: always really busy (but perfect for meeting new friends!)
FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/LeCrocodileBar

3) THE LONG HOP
WHERE? 25, Rue Frédéric Sauton, 75005, metro = Maubert mutualite
PROS: When you’re feeling a little homesick and in need of a good ol’ pint of British bitter (or a mango dacquari, girls!) after a long day at Uni/work, The Long Hop is the place to go. With its relaxed yet buzzing atmosphere, reasonably priced drinks (especially during happy hour) and good music, this bar is a real British gem in Paris! Although drawing in the Brits, The Long Hop is also a fave hang out for many vrai Parisian 20-somethings too so after a couple of cocktails, you’ll be practicing your French in no time.
CONS: Bit pricey after happy hour
FUN FACT: On a Friday night, the bar is seriously buzzing and the downstairs turns into a dancefloor/mini-nightclub…there’s even a lock-in after 12am!
FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/thelonghop

4) RUE MOUFFETARD, 75005, Metro = Place Monge
WHERE? Mixing things up here! In general, Rue Mouffetard is just a great student hang out and somewhere you will most definitely meet other Erasmus and Parisian students most days of the week!
TOP HANG OUTS? The Fifth Bar and Student Bar (never has a bar done “what it says on the tin” so much!) are two of my favourite places to chill with friends after a tough day at work.
PROS: PRICES! With your Erasmus grant yet to arrive (and sadly possibly at not to arrive for another month #erasmuswoes), cocktail cost will be of the essence! Forget counting the pennies (or the centimes, should I say) in these two bars and rejoice at the dime-a-dozen drinks deals (too much?!) … aka €4.50 for doubles during Happy Hour (Student Bar).
CONS: Pretty packed, particularly at the weekend – then again, the cosiness may aid the friend-making process!

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3) TRY SOMETHING NEW TODAY!

Let’s be honest, you’re on your Year Abroad, living a pretty care-free lifestyle In Paris so it’s a better time than ever before to try out something new! Whether it be dancing, painting, rowing, wine-tasting or getting a taste for Parisian food (if you haven’t already!), embrace your Year Abroad freedom, after all…YOLO, or as I keep telling myself, YOYO: you’re only YOUNG once!

(i) LEARN TO DANCE!

In true Paris Student 411 style, I wanted to try out something completely different to anything I’d ever done in the UK and share it with you all, so I started dancing (or attempting to dance!!) the Lindy Hop. Although it sounds like some sort of strange bug you wouldn’t want anywhere near your Parisian apartment, the Lindy Hop is in fact a form of jazz dance (although, now I feel I may well have caught the Lindy Hop dancing bug…) Check out these Lindy Hop pros on YouTubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlTVJ9fOmro&list=RD02aS5DvL8p4I4

PARIS STUDENT 411 RECOMMENDS: Le Caveau de la Huchette/ Temple du Swing
WHERE? 5 Rue de la Huchette, 75005, 
metro: Cluny la Sorbonne
WHAT? A really quirky little jazz club which hosts jazz nights and dance lessons (also: bebop, west coast swing, salsa and balboa)
PROS: Where to start?!
(1) The lessons are all taught in French which means listening and taking on board French – woohoo!

(2) PRICE! My friend and I went along to a FREE taster session that the club was running in September, we loved it so much that we signed up for another 10 lessons…it set us back 110 euros, but its definitely worth it!! (*Hindsight Hint* – if you’re confident, go every 2 weeks, you’ll find you progress faster!)
(3) You meet loads of other people (majority French) who are really friendly!
(4) The teachers are so much fun! 
The teachers really are a good laugh and they’re great at helping you out when you’re stuck!
(5) Plus, if you’ve lindy hopped your way to hunger, there are tonnes of restaurants on the same street (including some of the best kebabs I’ve ever tasted!)
CONS: The odd sore toe after dancing with a 6ft partner with size 14 feet (slight exaggeration), but no pain, no gain and all that…!

(ii) JOIN A CAPOEIRA CLUB

Here’s a sneak peek into how my friend and blogging guest ‘Biriba’ has been meeting Parisian friends at a Capoeira club in Paris…

PARIS STUDENT 411’S *GUEST* RECOMMENDS: Vamos Capoeira
WHAT? Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that was developed by African slaves in Brazil during the Portuguese colonisation. However it is a marital art with a twist: as the African slaves couldn’t practice out in the open, they disguised their self-defence training in the form of a dance that made it look like they were just “playing” and not fighting. Capoeira is therefore a mix of self-defence, dance and acrobatic movements which is played to afro-Brazilian rhythms.
WHEN? Vamos Capoeira runs 2 lessons every day of the week in various locations around Paris – basically wherever you live, you won’t be far away as there are lessons in most arrondissements in the city!
WHO? French people (aka the vrai Parisian types we want to meet, woohoo!). Ages range from about 11 years old to around the 50s. BUT, don’t fear, the largest demographic is students and young adults.
PROS:
(1) You learn to play primitive instruments like the birimbao, agogo and atabaque
(2) You learn Portuguese through the vocabulary that goes hand in hand with the martial art (who needs French anyway, eh?!)
(3) You learn to sing Brazilian songs
(4) All at the same time as: improving fitness, strength, flexibility and the ability to defend yourself!
(5) Affordable (if Mr Erasmus grant decides to show his face!) For a 1 year course + student discount you pay: 200 euros for 1 lesson/wk, 280 euros for 2 lessons/wk, 350 euros for unlimited lessons!
HELPFUL HINDSIGHT? If you are interested you can turn up for a FREE trial session and depending on whether you like it or not, you can choose whether or not to sign up!

Sportivement votre,
Biriba xo

**REMEMBER: if you’ve got any additional ‘Helpful Hindsight’ for other Year Abroaders in need – do feel free to comment below and I’ll quote you in my blog posts!**

(iii) FRANGLISH

Although it may be the language all Paris Erasmus students seem to have adopted to get around in the capital, Franglish is also a really fun new way of meeting people AND speaking French in Paris! Read on to find out more…

PARIS STUDENT 411 RECOMMENDS: Franglish
WHAT?
Speed dating of a different kind – speed mate-ing you might call it (no innuendo implied!) Yes, that’s right, FRANGLISH is a language exchange event in Paris.
WHEN? Franglish takes place 3 times a week in various locations in Paris (check them out on their website) from 7pm – 9pm
HOW DOES IT WORK? Take a bunch of native English speakers (aka, you and me), put them opposite a bunch of native French speakers for 15 minutes (7 minutes each to speak) and see what you get!
PROS: Franglish is great because it means you get to speak French with vrai, born and bred, Parisians. It’s pretty reasonable for students at 8 euros with a drink thrown in! Plus, usually the event is FULL for native French speakers, which means there’s lots of space for English students like us!
CONS: Places fill up pretty quickly, so make sure to sign up about a week in advance on the Franglish website: http://www.franglish.eu/en/home

(iv) MEETUP.COM

I know Meetup.com is technically a useful website, it really does deserve its very own section because its just SO great for meeting new people in Paris!

PARIS STUDENT 411 RECOMMENDS: MEETUP.COM
WHAT? A really helpful website which allows you to join up with various groups of people with particular interests.  
HOW DOES IT WORK?
(1) Go on to the meetup website
(2) Search the activity you are interested in 

(3) Sign up for weekly email updates from your group of interest
(4) Go along to organised events and MEET PEOPLE IN PARIS!!
PROS: Meet other people with the same interests as you, its FREE to sign up,

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4) USEFUL WEBSITES

General Websites:

Meetup.com
Franglish
Erasmusu
– American Church in Paris

University Students Union Facebook pages:

– SciencesPo BDE
– Sorbonne

Bars and Clubs:

The Long Hop
Earth Kitchen
Le Crocodile
Student Bar
The Fifth Bar

Dance clubs in Paris:

Wanderlust
Temple du Swing (rue de la huchette) 

Sporting activities in Paris:

– Wanderlust (for Yoga)
Let’s Run Paris (meetup group)
– Paris Jean Bouin Hockey Club (PJB)
– Parisfitness.com
Run Paris Half Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support

A BIENTOT, MES AMIS…

I’ve had great fun writing this blog and I hope you’ve had just as much fun reading it! I really do wish you all the best of luck with meeting friends in Paris – with so many fantastic experiences to share and in such an enchanting city, who knows, they might just be friends for life!

By the way, if you do happen to meet a 40-something waiter called Romain (who bizarrely keeps offering you cut-price drinks?) do let me know!!

A la prochaine fois,

Your Paris Student 411
xoxo

P.S. IF YOU LIKED THIS BLOG, YOU’LL LOVE MY SISTER SITE: POETRYHELP101 

Now that you’ve met people in Paris, it’s now time to charm your new found Parisian friends (or lover!) with this perfect selection of poetry, carefully analysed on Youtube by (quite literally) my sister! It’s definitely worth a click! 🙂 

#2 Finding Accommodation in Paris

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while…or so it seems! First of all, I wanted to say a huuuge thank you to you all for your lovely and constructive feedback about my blog – its nice to know you really are getting the 411 about Paris as I had hoped! What’s more, thanks so much for taking the time to fill in my Poll ‘What would you like more information about?’ That’s right, after two weeks, the results are in!!

Topping the list with a 19% majority (since when did I become chart-show host?!), here goes blog #2 : FINDING ACCOMMODATION IN PARIS! 

Finding Accommodation in Paris, what can I say? Well, an analogy is always a good place to start… For me, I guess Finding Accommodation in Paris is kinda like filling in job applications: a lengthy, sometimes stressful and somewhat tedious process, but the result is SO worth the effort you put in!

BUT, that’s where the Paris Student 411 comes in: I’m here to help mitigate a little of the stress, tedium and down-right confusion associated with the great Parisian house-hunt (not to be mistaken for Great British Bake Off, which has an altogether different set of stresses and strains…)

Don’t worry, to save you from having to re-read info that you already know, I’ve split this mammoth of a blog into 5 bitesize sections so you can easily scroll down to the section that most interests you:

1) FINDING PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION: helpful hindsight from my own accommodation search

2) YOUR HOUSING OPTIONS: the possibilities are endless…well, not quite!

3) LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: word on the street(s!) from Parisian students

4) USEFUL WEBSITES: a bunch of really handy sites

5) SCAM ALERT! – a word of caution about hasty house-hunting 


1) FINDING PRIVATE ACCOMMODATION

So, you’re looking for a place to live in Paris? You envisage: high ceilings, polished wooden floors, space, a balcony on which to watch the world go by and pass many an evening smoking, discussing French literature with your new-found Parisian friends…c’est la vie: how hard can it be, you think?

Malheuresement, your Parisian landlord doesn’t quite have the same picture in mind…

Don’t get me wrong, your picture of Parisian living certainly is doable – if you have a very flexible budget. But, for all of you who, like me, don’t really have access to €1,000p/m worth of flexibility, you can still optimise your chances of finding a perfect Parisian apartment in 8 easy steps:

i) GO TO PARIS!
– I know flights are expensive…but look at this initial expenditure in terms of a trade-off (typical business student for you!) Aka, the money you spend going to Paris and actually viewing potential housing, will ultimately save you the misery of turning up in a mouldy flat on September 1st and paying for damp removal…or, worse still, the price on your health!

I guess it’s a bit like online dating: a guy may look like Ryan Gosling in his photos, but may turn out to be more of a Ryan Not-ling in reality. Don’t chance it folks!

ii) START YOUR SEARCH EARLY!
– When I say early, I mean start-of-July early! By the time it gets to August, there is a mad rush of students desperately on the hunt for accommodation. Starting in June meant that I avoided the mad clamour for accommodation…perhaps moving to Paris earlier than the norm (end of August) is an option for you too? Besides, Paris in the summertime is pretty darn cool…

iii) Check out THE AMERICAN CHURCH IN PARIS
– Churches have been known as a place where miracles happen…and this one is no exception! With a vast array of accommodation ad postings on a regular basis, check out this god-send to speed up your search!

iv) ASK PEOPLE on the streets in student areas
– I know this sounds a little mad, but I genuinely gained a fair few contact details for potential flats just by asking students (or people who looked like students) on the streets for info! It sounds like a long-shot, but you’d be surprised just how helpful some people can be! 🙂

v) BE REALISTIC about your BUDGET!
– Having trawled through hundreds of housing ads, I would say that if you want to have your own room and live in central Paris, you will need a budget of around the €650pm mark (including bills). Anything less than €450 pm is most likely to be a scam (link), so please watch out!
– Using your Erasmus grant of around €350 pm certainly helps to ease the burden of pricey accommodation but maybe consider getting a part-time job in a bar or cafe at the weekend if you have the time 🙂

vi) AGENCY FEES: Watch out!
– If you decide to rent your accommodation through an agency, remember that they will ask for an agency fee, which if you’re in Paris for 10-12 months will amount to around 10% of the total rent (e.g. Paris Attitude ) or 12% + one-off admin charge of €200 (e.g. Paris Stay)
– 
Don’t get me wrong, going through an agency isn’t a bad thing at all, often they can considerably aid the apartment-finding process, but do still be aware of the fees attached!

vii) GUARANTORS
– 
Personally needing a guarantor is not something that I have experienced, however many of my friends have. Landlords become significantly more twitchy when it comes to renting to students and thus, tend to ask for a guarantor (aka, someone who can cough up the cash for rent when we’ve maxed out our overdrafts…!)

viii) Make sure you have SOMEWHERE TO STAY mid-house-hunt!
– I know it sounds super obvious, but you never know how long house-hunting might take, so you need plenty of different options because you never know, your Mum’s best friend’s auntie’s brother might not appreciate you staying for more than the 3…5 days, you’d promised!
– As an alternative, why not try a hostel? HostelWorld.com suggests a whole range of reasonable and comfortable hostels in the Paris area: check them out!  A little confession: in times of sheer desperation, hostelling for the long-haul genuinely crossed my mind, but for 600 euros a month and a shared room with randomners, it didn’t seem all that worth it!)

2) WHAT HOUSING OPTIONS DO YOU HAVE?

Now that you’ve heard the do’s and don’t’s about renting private accommodation, what type of accommodation is available to you. Ultimately, you’ve got to decide what kind of Parisian lifestyle you’re looking for.

AKA, if you’re a party animal whose perfect evening consists of pre-drinks (incl. several rounds of beer pong and ring of fire) chez toi, followed by a big night on the town… well, a homestay just isn’t for you!  Alternatively, if you’re happy to live alone, enjoy a little independent living and crave thighs that cannot be distinguished from hot-dogs (see the facebook group!) – a chambre de bonne (6th floor, sans ascenseur) is perfect for you.

On a more serious note, you really do have a vast range of housing options available to you in Paris – 6 to be precise! Check them out below…

i) THE CHAMBRE DE BONNE:

PROS: cheap, good for fitness (6th floor, no escalator), great if you like to live independently

CONS: Very small (9-15 square feet), sometimes only one room, may lack basic kitchen facilities, may have to share bathroom facilities, relatively isolated, no lift (so not ideal for lugging 3/4 heavy bags or stumbling back after a few too many verres de vin rouges…)

PRICE? Vary depending on area in Paris. However, usually range from between €400 p/m (on average) to €600 p/m, depending on the area.

ii) THE STUDIO APARTMENT:

PROS:  Small apartments (20-30 square metres), small kitchenette in the corner, a small bathroom and a flop-down sofa bed or high-level bed: comfortable enough. A few studios may even have enough room for two…although it may be a bit of a squeeze! Usually have a lift

CONS: Small apartment, lonely,

N.B. Make sure you know whether the apartment is furnished (meublé) or unfurnished (non meublé)!

PRICE? Vary widely, but most range from €550 p/m in less central arrondissements to €1000+ p/m in the chicest arrondissements of Paris.

iii) THE MULTI-BEDROOM APARTMENT:

PROS: Bigger than your average studio (the apartment I’m sharing is studio size but converted into two rooms = v cosy to say the least!) multiple rooms (who would have guessed it!), more space, not so lonely

CONS: Pricey, finding someone to live with can prove difficult, living with a stranger, sharing with someone who you don’t get along with

PRICE? €600 – €1000 pp/pm depending on the arrondissement

iv) THE COLOCATION: same as a multi-room apartment, but living with someone you’ve only just met…

PROS: Plenty of websites to find potential colocataires (e.g. appartager.com,  colocation.fr), good way of meeting new people, chance to improve your French (if living with other French students)

CONS: invitations for a colocation from people twice your age, sharing with someone who you don’t get along with

N.B. 50-something male looking for 20-something female is never a good sign (its a colocation offer, not a lonely hearts ad!), stay internet savvy and don’t meet up with potential colocataires alone, always take a friend with you – likewise when viewing accommodation!

PRICE? €600 – €1000 pp/pm depending on the arrondissement

v) RENT A ROOM WITH A FAMILY (HOMESTAY)

PROS: emmersed in the French language, home-cooked food (possibly), possibility of babysitting job, breakfast included, dinner sometimes included (at a price!), homely, safe

CONS: be prepared for rules (e.g. not allowed to have friends over),  feel like a guest, lack of privacy, feel obliged to do chores/look after children, pricey

PRICE? €850 – €1000+ p/m however, prices vary depending on which package you choose (aka, with breakfast, with 2/3/4 dinners a week etc), prices may be cheaper if you’re looking for just a room and nothing else.

vi) STUDENT ACCOMMODATION/ HALLS OF RESIDENCE: CROUS

Not going to lie folks, but this wasn’t really an option that was available to me as I’m not studying in Paris this year! But not to fear, in true Paris Student 411 style, I’ve done my research and swotted up on the topic, just for you!

CROUS accommodation is basically student accommodation and can be applied for through filling in the following form or ‘Dossier Social Etudiant – DSE’ . Application dates for CROUS accommodation are on their website.

PROS: the cheapest accommodation you will find in Paris, based on social criteria (you are likely to be chosen if you come from a lower-income family),

CONS: Long-winded, bureaucratic process (helpful hindsight from a CROUS-aficionado), places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis (aka, you snooze, you lose), there are only 400 places available in Paris = very competitive, precise documentation required, native French students complain about CROUS = little hope for us foreigners!

PRICE? €200 – €450 p/m depending on the type of accomodation chosen

3) LOCATION, LOCATION LOCATION

Believe me, the arrondissements of Paris are something you’re going to become a lot more familiar with whilst house-hunting – but to start you off, here’s a whistle-stop-tour of them all.

In total Layman’s terms, arrondissements make up the multiple areas in central Paris within the borders of the peripherique. There are 20 arrondissements in Paris which form a spiral shape, starting with the first arrondissement in the very centre of Paris, out towards the twentieth arrondissement on the outskirts near the peripherique.

1st arrondissement : chic, Louvre, pricey, touristy, Rue de Rivoli = great for shopping, home to Jardin des Tuilieries (arguably one of my favourite places in Paris!)

2nd arrondissement : No real feeling of community, home to the Stock Exchange (Bourse), lots of businesses – although in all honesty, I don’t often visit the 2nd arrondissement!

3rd and 4th arrondissements : These are two of my favourite areas in Paris, they’re really up-and-coming areas of Paris, well known for their vintage shops (I found a really cool one today just opposite the Centre Pompidou), buzzing street atmosphere, street performers, shops (both independent and high street retailers alike), Place des Vosgues (home to Victor Hugo) is well worth a visit, as is the Centre Pompidou (despite some most questionable works of ‘art’) and Hotel de Ville

5th and 6th arrondissements : My arrondissement (5th) – I love it (although I would say that!) It has a great buzz of old people, young people (students from Cluny la Sorbonne mostly!) and tourists and is home to the beautiful Notre Dame. There are loads of bars, restaurants and shops near St Michel, as well as a number of brilliant bookshops (Gilbert Joseph and Shakespeare and Company are among my faves). The 6th is home to Rue Mouffetard which is again great for bars, meeting other students and it has a lovely little market on a Saturday (great fruit!)

7th arrondissement: very chic, home to the Bon Marche (luxury department store) and Sciences Po University, lovely area to walk around, some fantastic brasseries. Home to the Eiffel Tower, Les Invalides and Musee Rodin which are all well worth a visit!

8th arrondissement: I’m pretty familiar with this area, as I work here. Home to the Champs-Elysees, rents here soar into the thousands. Great for luxury shopping, grabbing a bite to eat or just gazing up at the Arc de Triomphe

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th arrondissements: I’m not particularly familiar with these arrondissements either…check out the Expatica forum below for more details!

16th arrondissement : very chic areas of Paris. I found a chambre de bonne in the 16th and although it was a nice area, it lacked the buzz of students, of different cultures and seemed very exclusive. Lots of small designer boutiques.

18th arrondissement: home to Monmatre and Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge, the infamous Pigale and the Porte de St Ouen Flea Market (marche de puce) which is great for grabbing a vintage bargain

19th and 20th arrondissements : tend to have cheaper rents but I’m not overly familiar with them

Get back to me in a year and I’ll hopefully be a little more in the know about the arrondissements, but for now I’ll pass you over to the expatica forum which gives you more info on the do’s and don’t of locating in Paris: http://www.expatica.com/fr/housing/where_to_live/Where-to-live-in-Paris_15554.html

4) USEFUL WEBSITES AND PUBLICATIONS:

  • Erasmusu.com – great website for meeting up with potential colocataires and Erasmus students, you pay a small subscription but its worth it as you gain access to the contact details of potential housemates (colocs), link up with other students. You also have the possibility to post housing adverts yourself.
  • Facebook groups: my faves are Planapart Paris, Planapart a Paris, Plan coloc a Paris
  • Fusac: a great magazine which you can pick up in any public library or council-run building – contains lots of accommodation adverts, job adverts (especially for all you budding Nannies, English teachers or waiters/waitresses!), trivia and other fun stuff to do in Paris!

Private accommodation:

– Pap.fr
– Cnous.fr
– centralparisrentals.com


Agencies:

– lodgis.com
– parisattitude.com
– paristay.com


Renting with a family/ Homestay:

– sejoursfrancefamille.fr
– http://hostfamiliesinparis.org/en/who_are_we.php 


5) SCAM ALERT!

Just before I go, I just HAVE to let you know about one of the most warned-about problems associated with the Parisian accommodation search: SCAMS. Having narrowly escaped a scammer myself in my accommodation search, I have become a lot more aware about how to spot scams from legit accommodation postings. You really can’t be naive when it comes to searching for accommodation in Paris. I’m not sure if I was naive or just completely desperate to find somewhere to live at the time the scammer nearly got me: probably a bit of both.

Things I’ve learnt watch out for:

Poor written English: I know this sounds odd, but you can often tell scams from legitimate posts from the way they are written. The posts which look like they’ve been copy/pasted, contain lots of capitalisation, contain random phrases or poor written English tend to be SCAMS.

Sensationalist claims: Huge, double bedroom in 7th arrondissement, view of the Eiffel Tower, 450 euros, charges included –> ok, what’s the catch? Let’s be realistic, this post can’t possibly be for real.

Missing details: if the post is in the slightest bit vague with regards to a) Area/arrondissement, b) Photos or c) Description of the apartment, it’s probably a scam.

Craigslist: this website is littered with scams, fortunately other website users often point them some of them out, but just be careful!

Transfers via Western Union: just a big NO-NO

***DO NOT HAND OVER ANY MONEY UNTIL YOU HAVE VISITED THE APARTMENT, MET THE LANDLORD AND FORMED SOME FORM OF CONTRACT WITH THE HIM/HER***

SUMMING IT ALL UP:

The search for accommodation IS tedious, it IS going to have its ups and downs and it IS going to completely do your head in after an few weeks. HOWEVER, stay strong and stay focussed on the end goal: a beautiful Parisian apartment.

From the above info, here are the best possible take-aways I can give you:

  1. GO TO PARIS!
  2. Check out websites in advance of coming to Paris
  3. Make a spreadsheet filled with the address, arrondissement, contact details of landlord of each apartment: when you get to Paris, this will make navigation (and your life in general!) so much easier
  4. Don’t be afraid to ASK! Have faith in your fellow students: their advice might just come up trumps for you!
  5. Make sure you sort out all the tedious documentation before you arrive in Paris: bring copies of EVERYTHING!
  6. Send LOTS of emails and make LOTS of calls
  7. STAY SAFE: don’t visit that 50 year old dude’s colocation in the Parisian suburbs alone (just don’t) or if you’re desperate to find a place, take your 6ft, 100 kilo boyfriend (or girlfriend…) with you!
  8. Expect rudeness (they’re Parisians, it’s practically in their nature!)
  9. Be REALISTIC and learn to deal with TRADE-OFFS: let’s be honest, you’ll never find a spacious, reaonsably priced apartment in a nice area – it’s just not going to happen! But make sure you arrive at a compromise which suits YOU!

If however, by some stroke of genius, you happen to find that apartment with high ceilings, polished wooden floors, space, a balcony on which to watch the world go by and pass many an evening smoking, discussing French literature with your new-found Parisian friends AND all for 500 euros a month, I’m sure we’d all love to know how you did it!!

Happy house-hunting!! 

Your Paris Student 411

xoxo

P.S. If you have any info to share with me/ our fellow year-abroaders in Paris, please feel free to write a comment below! I would love to hear about your adventures in Paris as well!! 🙂 

Welcome to Paris Student 411!

First of all, who’s this ‘Paris Student’? And what’s the 411? I certainly know that’s what would be going through my mind as I read this blog for the first time…

Here’s a little background for you, before we get started. My name’s Cookie, I’m a third year student (otherwise classified as a ‘Year Abroader’ – one of the lucky one’s who heads off on a year of exploration to ‘find themselves’…or something along those lines!) and I’ve now been living in Paris for 2 months – today, actually – what a bizarre coincidence!

Why, you might be wondering, am I setting up this blog?

There’s one main reason: I was compelled to help other students out!

Having moved to Paris in June, 3 days after my last University exam and thus having experienced the trials and tribulations of moving to a foreign country, let alone the hustling/bustling city of Paris, I have been contacted by many fellow students from Uni who are moving to Paris in September 2013, with a tonne of questions for me. I genuinely felt compelled to tell them everything I possibly could about my own successes and downfalls when preparing for and arriving in Paris.

Similarly, with Paris Student 411, I felt compelled to share this need-to-know knowledge about moving to Paris on a Year Abroad with the larger student audience….the majority of whom I suspect, like I did, really don’t know where to start!

With this blog, I don’t intend to impart wisdom or pretend to know everything there is to know about living and working in Paris, but I do wish to share with you, my fellow students, some of the most daunting, challenging and breathtaking experiences I have ever had. And most importantly, through this blog – Paris Student 411 – I hope to ease your journey, even if it’s only by a tiny amount, to Paris 🙂

Please feel free to ask me questions, share your concerns about moving to Paris and generally have a good old chat with me – I’m a Year Abroader after all, what else have I got to do! (It’s a trick question…read my next blogs to find out the answer!!)

Also, remember to answer the poll below: Moving to Paris?What would you like information about?