There are plenty of affordable student housing options in France. Each one has its own benefits and challenges. Read on to learn more about them and decide which one is the best solution for you.
The idea of studying in France is an exciting one. It’s a country that has a distinct and romantic place in our imagination: the Eiffel Tower, the legendary cafés and wines, rustic countryside and azure seas… no wonder it’s the most popular tourist destination in the world. But it can also be expensive. So how do you find budget friendly student accommodations in France so that you can have money for fun as well as the necessities?
Public University Halls of Residence
Benefits of public university halls of residence
- Convenient access to classes and school activities: Public halls of residence are located right on campus, along with other amenities such as student cafés, libraries, sports facilities etc.
- Easy transition to into life at a French university: Living in university halls means having the support of residence staff and other students from your university (some may even be in the same classes as you). You will be at a definite advantage given the rich academic environment conducive to succeeding in your studies.
Challenges to living in public university halls of residence
- Basic amenities: Don’t expect luxury or frills when living in public halls of residence in France. The rent may be right, but the amenities and furnishings will accurately reflect the budget price.
- Roommate lottery: When living in public residence in France you have no say as to who your roommates are. Living in tight quarters with someone that you don’t get along with can make your experience studying in France quite unpleasant.
TIP! If you are considering living in university halls of residence in France be sure to submit an application well in advance! Places are in great demand given the low monthly rent and there are always more interested students than spots.
If you are unable to secure a spot in the public University halls of residence there are a number of similar privately owned residences in university towns and cities throughout France designed for young people who are full-time students. These are a bit more expensive than the public halls of residence but usually offer nicer rooms and more amenities. Some are single-sex accommodations, others are co-ed, and still others cater specifically to international students. Some have cafeterias while others have shared kitchens.
Benefits of a private residence accommodation:
- Central location: Most private student residences are located close to the school and important amenities such as grocery stores.
- Social opportunities: You will be sharing a building with other students, some of whom may become good friends.
- Cleaning services: Private residences usually have professional cleaners for the common areas, and some may even do your room for a fee.
Challenges of living in a private residence:
- Restrictions on visitors: A lot of places have strict rules regarding guests staying over, especially if it is a single-sex residence. If you intend to have friends visit at some point, check a residence’s rules before you move in.
- Curfews: Some residences impose curfews, which can be annoying if you don’t have early classes and are a night owl. Again, find out if a residence has a curfew before you move in.
Some popular private student residence websites are:
One cost-effective housing arrangement that is growing in popularity in France and throughout Europe in general is intergenerational accommodations (logement intergénérationnel). It provides students with much-needed housing and solves the problem of loneliness in the elderly. Savings for one, company for the other!
The basic premise is that an elderly person rents a room or rooms to a student at a low rate in exchange for their company and assistance with tasks such as grocery shopping, running errands, meal preparation, and gardening.
Benefits of intergenerational accommodations:
- Affordability: The rent will be very cheap compared to most French accommodations.
- Social opportunity: If you don’t know anyone in your city, living with an older person can be comforting and enjoyable. If they are French, you can practice your language skills too.
Challenges of intergenerational accommodations:
- Comparative lack of freedom: You will be expected to assist your elderly housemate with certain tasks they find difficult to do themselves, and this may leave you with less free time.
Homestays (in French referred to as chambre chez l’habitant), you live in a French family or individual’s home. Most times you have your own bedroom, and you will share meals and household amenities such as telephone, television, and Internet with your host.
Pros of homestays:
- Affordability: Homestays are budget-friendly because they can include meals, laundry facilities, and maybe even some light cleaning services in the cost.
- Cultural immersion: By living with a local family or person, homestays can provide a more authentic French experience.
Challenges of homestays:
- Comparative lack of freedom: When you live in a homestay, you must respect the rules and expectations set by your hosts. This can include a curfew, rules about guests, etc, which some students may find restrictive.
- You might also feel isolated from the student community compared to living in student halls of residence or flatshares.
Some reputable websites to find homestays for students in France are:
Living as a student in France doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a variety of low-cost yet high-quality student accommodation choices available, one of which will suit your needs as well as your budget.