Renting in Paris is an interesting idea that many ex-pats toy with, but quickly dismiss. They often do this because of concerns over the cost and difficulties in arranging to rent an apartment. However, to be a digital nomad in Paris goes beyond the romantic idea of a month in the city. It becomes more practical with thoughts and considerations about how it can be done for the long term.
Do You Want to Live in Paris?
Citizens of European Union member states can visit France and live there for a satisfactory period. However, it is more difficult for people originally from outside of the EU. Fortunately, some countries have agreements with France whereby their citizens can live in France for 90 days without needing to arrange for a visa. Other countries will have different maximum stays, or they may need a visa before arrival.
It’s important to verify what is required before planning a longer term stay in France. This avoids disappointment and racing around at the last minute to get suitable arrangements in place.
How Much Money Is Required to Live in Paris?
Just like in any major capital city such as New York or London, renting anywhere in the capital is not cheap. This is even truer if it’s a short-term rental. Long-term ex-pats or digital nomads intending to stay a few months should have a budget that can support this goal. The capital is not budget-friendly in that sense when you want a studio or apartment to yourself.
Even the smallest studio of about 10 square meters, which won’t feel enormously comfortable to spend time in, will set you back €725+ per month. And that’s not necessarily near the centre of the city either. Just like in other major cities, the more central you wish to be, the deeper your pockets will need to be. So, this is certainly something to bear in mind when setting your budget. There will also be the need for a deposit guarantee and references, among other things.
How to Avoid French Bureaucracy When Renting an Apartment in Paris
Avoiding any kind of government bureaucracy is important for ex-pats because managing a foreign language at the best of times is tricky. Digital nomads are usually busy enough that they make a special effort to avoid complexity of any kind.
It becomes imperative for newcomers to France to go through an agency like UpperKey because they can understand what their unique needs are, speak on their behalf, handle the necessary paperwork, including contracts, and so forth.
Even if an ex-pat speaks French to some level of expertise, it can still be a huge problem to overcome when attempting to navigate local property markets alone. Perhaps it might be a little less expensive, but the time lost and frustrations caused by trying to arrange an apartment rental yourself isn’t worth it. Anyone who values their time will likely feel the same way, so it’s best avoided.
What is the Best Neighbourhood in Paris for Expats?
Expats often want to know what the best neighbourhood in Paris for ex-pats will be. It’s a valid question, but it’s not like there is a single location where most hang out. The city is huge, so people have different interests and often prefer to situate themselves based on these.
Here are a few of the neighbourhoods that are worth a mention:
1st & 2nd arrondissement – Louvre and the Opera
The 1st and 2nd arrondissement sees plenty of tourists flocking here because of the Louvre and the opportunity to take in an opera. Nevertheless, digital nomads like it too because many businesses are located here, so if they’re doing business in the city, then their contacts could also be located nearby.
There are some shopping opportunities here, and when you need to get outdoors, it has some of the most opportunities of anywhere in the capital to do so.
For those on a budget, they’ll need to look elsewhere though. This part of Paris commands some of the highest rents.
5th & 6th arrondissement – Saint Germain
For ex-pats and digital nomads who are culturally sophisticated or prefer a more laid-back vibe, they can head to the 6th or 5th arrondissement.
Whether on the Left Bank with the Latin Quarter or over at Saint Germain, this is a happening spot to strike up interesting conversations with intellectuals, spend an afternoon in a quaint bar, or see the latest paintings from local artists.
3rd & 4th arrondissement – Marais
As primarily a quieter residential area, this part of Paris has a Medieval history with buildings that evoke a true sense of history.
Many of the buildings are statuesque and elegant. There are upmarket restaurants, charming boutiques, and art galleries to visit. Also, for people who love to go shopping, this is a choice area with some of the better picks.
As a side note, if you’re happier on two wheels than four, then you might prefer this area because locals think nothing of hopping on their bike and zooming around!
16th arrondissement – Trocadero and Passy
For Americans and a smattering of Canadian and British ex-pats, the 16th arrondissement is popular because of the slew of international schools nearby. Expats with children flock to the area to take advantage of this.
Local supermarkets also cater to the ex-pat crowd with an increased representation of imported food from the U.S. and elsewhere to satisfy different appetites.
For lovers of the outdoors, the Bois de Boulogne is the largest park in Paris. It’s the perfect place to spend time and soak up the greenery, stretch your legs, and enjoy some fresh air. Nearby, there are plenty of cafés and restaurants vying for business too.
How to Rent an Apartment in Paris
When looking to rent an apartment in the city, the distinction must be made between renting for a month, three months, or half a year.
Some landlords prefer tenants who are students rather than those who are working and in the city for only a short time. Therefore, it’s helpful to know how long you plan to be there, and what you’ll be doing.
An agency can help steer your tenant application towards landlords that are open to what you’re looking for. This avoids repeated disappointment in the apartment hunt.
Rent an apartment for 1 month in Paris
When looking to only rent an apartment for 30 days, then that’s a different situation to longer rentals. As potential tenants, you’ll be looking for a landlord where there are short lets considered and potential tenants aren’t immediately discounted.
When it comes to new hospitality, it may come down to using Airbnb instead of a traditional landlord in that sense. However, going through an agency still has its benefits even when they’re also acting as an Airbnb property management Paris based.
The iRenting concept is alive and well in Paris. While there will be an Airbnb management cost to consider, going this route can get around the short-stay issue.
Rent an Apartment for 3 months in Paris
Stays for three months are easier to manage. They do straddle between something like one month and half a year.
In a situation where you’re an American, for example, and have a 90-day stay without a visa, then a 3-month apartment rental may be all that you need. If this can be demonstrated, then it tends to resolve landlord discussions about wanting a longer lease term.
Bear in mind that, with rentals, some are unfurnished whereas others are fully furnished. The former may be 15-25% lower in price. However, if you’re staying in the city for three months, look for furnished places, because finding good furniture is going to
be a headache that you don’t need.
Rent an Apartment for 6 months in Paris
For digital nomads and ex-pats, the need to move every month or two can get in the way of their lifestyle or planned activities. So, a half-year stay provides some degree of feeling settled in a new place before needing to move on.
To stay in an apartment for six months, you’ll need a visa to confirm that you’re permitted to stay in the country for this duration. Landlords will likely ask to see this to confirm it too.
Here, an unfurnished apartment is less of a concern. Expats, especially, may wish to put their stamp on the place by securing their furnishings rather than accepting what’s already present. If that’s your preference, then a longer tenancy allows you to do so without being unduly costly.
For people who are new to Paris and just learning to get around, getting out to a few neighbourhoods and getting comfortable requires time. If you speak some French, this can go a long way. The French people appreciate someone who is trying their best, even if they falter in their initial attempts. Fortunately, there are now apps that make this easier to smooth the way.
Choosing the right neighbourhood is important. When your budget will stretch to the place that you prefer, then you’ll likely feel at home in Paris sooner. Renting in the city doesn’t need to be an ordeal if you get help from an agency to make it easier for you. That’s the right approach to take.
About the Founders of UpperKey
Co-founders of UpperKey, Benoit Lam and Johan Hajji have been leading the way in iRenting for over a decade. What began as a startup has evolved into a multinational enterprise. Their mission is to revolutionize the property management industry through PropTech. Their success can be attributed to their strong entrepreneurial mindsets, unwavering dedication, and ability to adapt to everchanging circumstances.
Follow them on Twitter at:
Benoit Lam @benoit__lam
Johan Hajji @HotelMarket20