Things to know about renting in France

Rental Vocabulary


Anne's flat in France

What are the things you need to know to rent an apartment in France?

Rental vocabulary here.

T1, T2, F1, F2

French rentals are classified by size and coded in the following manner: T (type) is for apartment, and F (foncier) is for houses. The number stands for the living space plus the number of bedrooms. The bathroom and toilet are generally not mentioned. The toilet is generally separate from the bathroom. Separate toilets are an important feature for French people.

For instance,

a T2  is a one-bedroom apartment

  • T for apartment
  • 2 for 2 rooms (one living-room and one bedroom)

a F3 is a house with 2 bedrooms

  • F for house
  • 3 for 3 rooms (one living-room and two bedrooms)


Floors and Stories

Premier étage is not first floor, it’s one flight of stairs up from the ground floor (second floor in the States).

Bed sizes

Beds don’t go Twin, Queen sizes and so on. There is a new trend to have bigger beds. However, most 2-person beds measure no more than a US Queen size.

  • Twin & Long Twin bed -- lit (de) 90 -- petit lit
  • Full & Queen bed -- lit (de) 140 -- lit
  • Bigger than Queen -- lit (de) 160 -- très grand lit

Apartment sizes

France uses metric sizes – les mètres carrés.

The abbreviation for a square meter – un mètre carré – is “m2”.

1 m2 = 10.76 sq ft

1 sq ft = 0,09 m2

  • sq ft -- m2 -- m2 -- sq ft
  • 1 -- 0.3 -- 1 -- 10.76
  • 2 -- 0.6 -- 2 -- 21.52
  • 3 -- 0.9 -- 3 -- 32.28
  • 4 -- 1.2 -- 4 -- 43.04
  • 5 -- 1.5 -- 5 -- 53.8
  • 6 -- 1.8 -- 6 -- 64.56
  • 7 -- 2.1 -- 7 -- 75.32
  • 8 -- 2.4 -- 8 -- 86.08
  • 9 -- 2.7 -- 9 -- 96.84
  • 10 -- 3 -- 10 -- 107.6
  • 50 -- 15 -- 50 -- 538
  • 100 -- 30 -- 100 -- 1076

The French use the verb FAIRE when asking about a size:

  • L’appart fait combien ? L’appart fait 50 m2.

Renting in France

The rental process in France is pretty much what’s expected. After you have chosen your apartment, the owner or the agency will ask you for a a part payment which is not refundable if it’s called “un acompte” and should be refundable if called “des arrhes”. Upon entry in the rental property, you might also have to pay “une caution”, a guarantee or a security deposit  that is or is not refundable  depending of the results of the “état des lieux”, the walk through inspection of the rental unit. Your rental fee, should include the trash collection and the cleaning of the common areas, such as the staircase and the elevator. Water and gas make up “les charges”, the utilities. Make sure it is clear to you if “les charges” are or are not included. You may ask: “Les charges sont incluses dans le prix ?”.

Finding a rental in Paris and where

The Internet is the easiest way to find a rental place these days. It didn’t used to be though. There are tons of Web sites to look at. These three host Web sites are used a lot in France. They have an English version as well.

AirBnB - HomelidaysAbritel - From the States, VROB seems to be the way to go.

Many rental apartments in Paris are small and have no elevator.

Left  bank, right bank: the river Seine divides the city into two parts that also defines two different ways of life. The left bank is on the South side of the river, and is generally known for a more bohemian lifestyle. The right bank is on the North side of the Seine, and hosts the more established population.

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