This week we are going to talk about housing at Ohlala French Coffee, you are going to describe yours, you are going to talk about your ideal housing and we are going to talk about the problems related to housing in your country and in France.

Housing refers to all buildings used for habitation: house, apartment, cottage, etc.

Today, I would like to take this opportunity to explain to you how it works to find a place to live in France.


How to find accommodation in France ?

I'm taking the liberty of talking to you about this subject because I recently lived through it, and you could say that it was my first real experience of renting in France. Indeed, before that, of course, I lived in France, with my parents and then when I started my studies I rented a studio.

Renting a studio is, still according to my experience, a little easier. Because, when you rent a studio, you are a student and, of course, when you are a student, you don't have a salary. The real estate agencies and the owners know it, so they are less demanding. They will then generally ask for one or two guarantors. A guarantor is a person who will volunteer to pay the rent if you don't pay it anymore.

Another solution, when you are a student, is also to find accommodation in a university residence through the CROUS (it is the Regional Center of University and School Works, it is a public service that helps students).

When you are a student in France, you benefit from a great thing: the ALS (allocation de logement social) or the APL (aide personnalisée au logement). These are housing aids for people who have little income, and it's really great, when I was a student it paid me half of my rent at the time.

So when I was a student, it wasn't very difficult to find housing. After I was a student, I moved to Malta, then to Belgium. Last year, I decided to come back to France and I had to find accommodation as an adult, without a guarantor. And it wasn't as easy as that!


Step 1: Determine your criteria :

The first step is to determine your criteria, that is, to make a list of the things you want in your home.

- Define where you want to live.
As in other countries, prices are cheaper in the country than in the city. After that, some regions are more popular, such as the Côte d'Azur.

- If you want a house or an apartment.

- If you want an exterior: a yard, a garden, a balcony or a terrace.
If you want a courtyard or a garden, what is the surface you want? The surface is counted in square meters (m2). You can also find the terms ares and hectares. An are is a unit of measurement that represents 100 m2 and a hectare represents 10,000 m2.

- Define the number of rooms you want. In France, we have a special system for counting rooms. 
To be honest, I don't like this system very much, but I will explain it to you. First, we consider a room that is more than 9 m2 and less than 30 m2. If the room is more than 30 m2, it counts as two. Please note that the kitchen, the toilet, the bathroom, the entrance hall, the corridors, the landings, the storeroom, the laundry room, the cellar, the attic, the stairwell and the boiler room do not count as rooms.
You can also find the following designations: T1 or F1. There is no real difference between a T1 or F1 apartment. It just means that it has a kitchen and a bathroom/toilet plus an extra room. If it's a T2 or F2, it's an apartment that has a kitchen and a bathroom/toilet plus two extra rooms and so on for T3, F3, T4, F4.

- Define the rooms you want:
You will have a kitchen and a bathroom, for sure. However, you can decide if you want a separate or open kitchen. If you want the toilet separate from the bathroom or in the bathroom. If you want a bedroom (we don't always specify "bedroom", we often just say "bedroom"), an office, a dressing room, a living room, a dining room or a mezzanine.


Step 2: Search for a home:

There are several options for searching for housing. You can use a real estate agency. A real estate agent will help you find an apartment.
You can also find accommodation on specialized websites. The most famous are : Le bon coin, Se loger and Bien'ici. I advise you the Bien'ici website, it is really great and complete.

You will often hear the word "property" in the real estate world. A property is just a housing (house, apartment, building, etc.) that you can acquire from a professional or a private individual.


Step 3: Create your file:

Well, this is the most annoying part: the paperwork!

You like the accommodation, you want it, and then you are asked to prepare a file.

Whether you are renting or buying, you will be asked for a file which is not totally different.

The rental file will prove to the landlord that you can pay the rent. When you buy, it's a file that will prove to the bank that you can pay your loan. It is true that it is much more difficult to convince a bank, especially in this period.

The documents that you will be asked for are quite similar. There are mandatory documents and optional documents that can be important too.

For a rental, you will be asked for :

  • A photocopy of your identity card
  • If you are employed, your last three payslips
  • If you are self-employed, your last two balance sheets or your declarations to your business formalities center.
  • Proof of address (electricity or telephone bill).
  • If you have a guarantor, he/she will be asked for the same documents.


And you can add the following optional documents:

  • Your last tax notice
  • Your residence permit
  • Rent receipts from your last rental


For a purchase, you will be asked for the same documents and in addition :

  • Your last three statements of all your bank accounts
  • Your last tax notices
  • Your proof of credit if you currently have any


vocabulary of the house :


House vocabulary


Kitchen vocabulary


Living room vocabulary


Vocabulary of the bedroom


Bathroom vocabulary


Garden vocabulary


Your turn: Describe your home? Tell me in comments !

I'll see you soon for new adventures, in French of course! 🇫🇷