The Search

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Craigslist – http://paris.craigslist.org

Pros: With its French/English format, landlords on Craigslist tend to be very open to foreign tenants who may not have what it takes to reassure a typical French landlord.  Rentals vary from by-the-week vacation rentals, to year-long leases, agency ads and subleases. What’s more, the site still has a relatively “niche” appeal, so you’re not in competition with as many prospective tenants.

Cons: Scams abound on Craigslist! Be wary of any ad that seems too good to be true — it probably is.  Avoid paying in advance for a place you’ve never seen and always check on Google to be sure that the address is real.  The site is also a bit more difficult to search – it’s not always clear if the price listed is for a week or a month, if it’s one bedroom or studio, etc. Aside from the scams and poor search-ability, apartments listed on craigslist are often more costly than their equivalents listed on French sites like pap.fr.  You do pay a premium for not having to jump through as many hoops, and of course landlords are more than willing to take advantage of unsuspecting foreigners…

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Pap.fr – http://www.pap.fr

Pros: Its name means de particulier à particulier -essentially sales and rentals by the owner – and is one of, if not the, most popular site for real estate in France in this category. There is also a paper version that can be purchased, but…who does that these days?  The website allows you to narrow your research by arrondissement, size, type of housing (loft, studio, office) and price.  These ads are updated daily, and you can set up an email alert when apartments that match your criteria are added to the site.

Cons: Pap.fr is one of, if not the, most popular site for real estate in France.  As soon as you see an ad that interests you, contact the landlord and set up a meeting.  Apartments get snapped up fast.  If you go visit an apartment, expect to wait in line.  It is French-friendly, and most of the people that answer the phone will expect you to speak French (might be good to have a French-speaker with you, just in case).

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Agencies

Pros: Nothing is nicer than going to an agency, saying what you want and getting a list of apartments to visit.  That’s the great thing about them: they do a lot of the legwork that goes into searching for an apartment.  Agencies are pretty easy to find – just take a walk around a neighborhood you’re interested in, and you’re bound to find one.  They usually ensure the apartment is in good shape and is turned over to the next tenant clean and move-in ready. There are also agencies that specialize in renting to international transplants. Often times you will find agencies list on the more commercial websites, as listed below under “other sites”.

Cons: Two words: agency fees. Yes, you do pay a price for nice, hand-selected apartments.  Also, agencies do require dossiers, so unless these are some of the aforementioned “international” agencies, you will need to have a pretty classic, very French-style dossier.

Agency Chains

Foreigner Friendly

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Other Sites

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