Apartment and tips for Paris move
January 3, 2009 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Hello, Hive, I'm planning on moving to Paris a few months for work and pleasure. As a native Swede and a member of the EU group of states, I guess I'll have an easier time getting a somewhat reasonably priced apartment reasonably close to Cité, Montmartre or what have you (Notre Dame I guess would be the center point everything revolves around). Has the Hive got any good suggestions regarding apartment-finding? Other tips on good areas to live, areas to avoid, would be great as a general guide.

Also, since I would stay more than a few weeks, and since it probably would help getting a better apartment, is it preferable to write myself in Paris, or could I still be written in Gothenburg (Sweden)?

I'm asking since I will still be working within the context of my own private company (OLBproductions.com) which is registered (and taxed) in Sweden. I'm not sure how it would complicate things if I temporally "switched nationality."

When I lived in Freiburg, Germany for six months, I was written there, but then didn't have a business of my own to be concerned about.

Lastly, as this is a new town, and mostly a new country for me (I've been in Paris for only a few days before, and lived in France at all for about a month altogether; Nice, Lyon, Privas) tips in general on the living: the eating; the washing of clothes; acquiring internet access; finding the best and most hidden restaurants (inexpensive or not); movie theaters showing films sans dubbing; best cappucino; good early bread (stupid question); clubs the likes of Berlin's Berghain (haven't been there? plan it now!), its hard-to-find underground modern music arenas, and New York's basement jazz clubs; good places to go for a run in the morning; turkish baths, etc, etc--simply a bunch of stimulating places one should visit when not working, to get away from it all.

Happy new 2009! (Will be a better one than most think.)
posted by avocade to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like fun! I've spent three months in Paris and then later, one month, renting apartments.

Find a place to live is easy; there are zillions of people who want to visit Paris for a long stay, there's lots of French people who own city apartments they don't use, and plenty of services to introduce each other. Finding an inexpensive place is considerably harder, though. I have some notes on my blog here and here for options. I'd rent an apartment with Guest Apartment Services again without hestiation. It is expensive, at least 220€/night, but you get an apartment in the very middle of the city and a concierge staff who can help you with Internet access, restaurants, etc.

You mentioned Cité and Montmartre as two likely places to stay. Those are very far from each other. Cité itself has little in the way of places to live on it, although the Ile St. Louis next door is fully residential (and where the apartment service I mentioned above focuses). Montmartre is quite a ways out to the northeast of town, I wouldn't enjoy staying there very much. Paris is a city of many little neighbourhoods and you can't go wrong almost anywhere within the Peripherique except a couple of rough areas. When considering locations I suggest you look at how close they are to a Metro and what the character of the immediate surroundings are.

I can't help you with the immigration questions other than to say no one in France is going to care much about what you're doing there for a few weeks. Living in Paris is very easy. Looking back on it, I found the thing I enjoyed doing the most was just walking, getting a sense of the different neighbourhoods and being surprised by what I found.
posted by Nelson at 2:18 PM on January 3, 2009

Unless you are super picky I wouldn't say there were many areas to avoid completely. I'd say Barbes, the area between Montmartre and Vilette, is the only one to steer clear of. The rest is down to your personal taste and needs. Recommendations? You can't go wrong with the Marais.

Looks for films at the cinema with "VO" written on the poster - version originale.

Fusac carries adverts in English.

Check out the Paris tags on AskMe, there is a ton of advice there about living and visitng there.
posted by fire&wings at 2:54 PM on January 3, 2009

The first stop for apartment rentals is Particulier à Particulier, but if you're only there for a few months, perhaps the abovementioned Fusac would be better.
posted by idiomatika at 4:44 PM on January 3, 2009

Get on a couchsurfing group and you can find some better inside info as your gradually transition into this. Don't narrow yourself into specific neighborhoods. I will echo Nelson's sentiment that Paris is a conglomeration of many little neighborhoods that are greatly accessible via metro. Outside there, is a suburban web that I wouldn't suggest moving out to, unless budget is paramount. Be judicious and make connections. Bon chance
posted by stratastar at 8:13 PM on January 3, 2009

I'd say Barbes, the area between Montmartre and Vilette, is the only one to steer clear of.

I spent about nine months in that neighbourhood and found it fascinating, but there are indeed many nicer places to live. If I were to go back I'd be looking at the XIXth, I think, behind Père Lachaise. I checked out an apartment there and found it, as they say, sympa and fairly quiet.
posted by Wolof at 9:17 PM on January 3, 2009

Best answer: One of my friends had success finding a really nice studio apt in the Marais for 800 euros a month - I think she used either sublet.com or craigslist. From memory it was a bit hit and miss though. I lived in a sharehouse in the 17th (near Ternes - a bit posh and not very funky, but safe and with a nice little market and good metro lines) which I found on appartager.fr, but my flatmates were kinda nutso. I looked at Fusac too, and the ads at the American Church in Paris. As people have said, there's no really dangerous parts of Paris proper, but I'd avoid living too close to any of the really big stations (Gare du Nord, Gare de l'Est, Monparnasse etc). In general, closer to the centre is considered more desirable, and west is posher than east. Then again, one of my friends lived near Pyrenees and it seemed like a really cool little area.

Good coffee in Paris? Berk - forget it. Or nearly forget it...the only one I ever had was at Pozzetto.

Random tips: there's free wifi in all the parks in Paris. If you're 25 or under, you can get abonnements to the big museums really cheaply, and also the SNCF Carte 12-25 which gives you much cheaper long-distance rail travel if you want to do some day-trips. The bakery on the Rue Vieille du Temple, just up from the Rue de Rivoli on the right (I think it's the Boulangerie Mulineau but not sure), makes amazing pain au chocolat with banana. Incredible tea at Mariage Freres - but you'll pay through the nose.
posted by Emilyisnow at 12:00 AM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]

We went through this a couple of months ago. The rental market in Paris isn't very efficient as most landlords rent through small agencies. The agencies do absolutely nothing for the renter, but the renter has to pay the fee, usually around 10% of rent.

We tried craigslist, but it was 90% scams. We did rent one sublet for a month through CL, I think you need to look for the ones with phone numbers where a human is looking to sublet while away.

We ended up renting a furnished apartment through Paris Attitude. They have a decent website and were trustworthy. We found the agency route the easiest because we weren't French (others required statements of income, etc), we wanted something furnished and we wanted internet access ready to go when we moved in. We have a nice place in the 9th and pay a king's ransom for it.

We saw a bunch of neighborhoods and all had their good points. When looking check everything and take nothing for granted. Check water pressure, the thickness of the windows (cold and noise) and even the pots and pans. Make sure it's close to a Metro stop and you should have no problem getting anywhere.

Give me a MeMail when you get in if you want to go for some drinks.
posted by dripdripdrop at 1:20 AM on January 4, 2009

I don't think I'd recommend the Marais for someone new to town who didn't speak the language well. Though it does sound like you have an adaptable and open sort of temperament, I just found that the Marais was a bit touristy in places (ergo, expensive & bland) whilst being a bit salty in places (heading towards the garment district). In both sorts of spots, I kind of found myself being really aware of where my wallet was... and I'm normally on the other side of the spectrum.

Personally, if you are OK with the idea of not being in the most central or glamourous spot, I'd recommend Batignolles - the 17th arrondissement. Some parts of it are a bit dodgy, particularly as you head towards the Pigalle, but overall, it's a great neighbourhood. Frequent and well-marked Metro stops with good connections to the rest of the city, and great neighbourhood cafes. It really feels like a normal sort of neighbourhood, much closer to the other places I lived in France.
posted by Grrlscout at 4:17 AM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: dripdripdrop: Yeah, craigslist has been even worse than I expected. How about "a 2-room appartement in Cité for 500 EUR/month, plz wire moneys to Nigeria great thanks let me know 2nite! Kbye!" Unbe-expletive-lievable.

Fusac.fr looked very nice and I found a lot of good ads there. Another fun one is www.appartager.com. I've got something going with an acquaintance of a telephone-contact who works in the Swedish Embassy in Paris, which feels very secure (she's Swedish-born with a French husband). She lives around Metro Alésia, what do you think about that location? Not in 5éme as I would like, it's not that far.
posted by avocade at 12:01 PM on February 3, 2009

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