Exchange in France: What Should you Know !


Housing in Paris is quite a difficult situation. It also is relatively more expensive than the prices we pay here in Ottawa. Don’t expect a large room either, most affordable apartments are not much larger than 15 square meters. I promise it’s worth it though 🙂

The most economical solution would probably be to request accommodation at the Maison des Etudiants Canadiens. The offer relatively inexpensive housing for Canadian students. Expect to pay around 500 Euros a month for rent. The rooms aren’t large but living in the international cite is a great way to meet people from all over the world.

It’s important to know the the residence is in the 14th Arrondisement. However, the metro system is nearby and circulating throughout the city is  relatively easy.

Maison des Etudiants Canadiens

If you would prefer to rent out an apartment, prices vary throughout the city. The 1st through 11th arrondisements are quite central and thus rent is relatively expensive, With the 6th being the most expensive nieghborhood in the city. These neighborhoods are usually always alive and incredibly beautiful. The other arrondisements are on the city periphery, while not bad, they are primarily mostly residential neighborhoods. Try to avoid living in the ‘banlieues’ or suburbs outside the city, while prices are slightly less expensive, they make it difficult to enjoy the city.

There usually aren’t much apartments available for rent and most good ones get snatched up as soon as they hit the market. Unless you are already in France, getting a landlord to agree to let to you might be difficult. You can try vacation rental sites such as airbnb, homeaway and request long term stays. Some people have had success with that option.

Find your school’s Facebook group, you can usually find people looking for roommates (if you want to go that route) or people looking to rent out their apartments.

If you plan on staying for more than 8 months, know that you can apply to Government of France for a housing subsidy. The amount you will receive depends on your income, but it’s not uncommon for people to get at least 100 Euros a month.

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If you plan on taking the metro or the RER (train) often, getting a bus pass might be ideal. If you are in Paris for less than a year, you will have to pay full fare, about 70 Euros a Month. If you are staying for more than a year, you’re eligible for a reduced fare of about 40 Euros.

The system is incredibly well developed and you won’t wait more than 3-5 minutes for a train or a metro, unlike in Ottawa haha.

If you like to bike, There are public bikes all over the city called VELIB. For 30 Euros you can buy a yearly pass, meaning you could take a bike and leave it anywhere as long as you use it for less than 45 minutes throughout the year at no additional charge. If you pass the first 45 minutes, you get charged about 1 Euro per hour of extra time.

If you want to drive, Good Luck ! If you’re pretty adamant about it there is a similar system like VELIB for cars where you can pick up and drop off a car at multiple locations throughout the city.

Also, don’t forget about walking! Paris, is quite small. Plus, if you always take the metro or RER, you miss out on a lot of the incredible architecture around.

The public transit system is incredibly well developed. No matter the time there is always a method to get home.

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Studying architecture in France is completely different than studying architecture in Ottawa.





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