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Paris Advice

Moving to Paris is one of those things on my “list.” (See here, here, and here.) Paul and I recently realized we are in a window in our life right now where it is possible since we both can work remotely and our kids are little. (This is where I pass out from excitement.) It isn’t a done deal but we are just starting to do research (and take French lessons!) So here are my questions for people who have lived in Paris for extended periods of time.

1. Do you know anyone that wants to rent out a two or three bedroom apartment in Paris in 2011?

2. What sites (besides Craigslist or vrbo) should I look for long term housing?

The dreamy polaroids below were taken by Nicole Hill Gerulat of A Little Sussy see more of these on her site under “personal work.”

  1. Starfish and Sundresses

    June 23, 2010

    What a dream come true! I hope to someday live in Paris. At least I'd be putting my 8 years of French to good use! xx

  2. Kathryn

    June 23, 2010

    Just when I finally move to San Francisco you're going to move to Paris!? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. amy turn sharp of doobleh-vay

    June 23, 2010

    you should hook up with Nichole from xoxox

  4. simone

    June 23, 2010

    Wow! No recommendations, just wishing good luck in your search–I'm so jealous! You're the second blog I follow that's doing this sort of thing (Claire at Loobylu just decided to live the dream and move too). So great!

  5. Christy

    June 23, 2010

    I wish I had advice for you, but I don't. I have stumbled across a blog called something like The French Skinny Experiment – written by two Americans, one of whom is living in Paris. If you can find it, they respond to comments in the comments section and I'm sure she'd be a great help for you! Fingers crossed for you! ps – longtime reader of your sister's blog and recently found and love yours too!

  6. Ashley

    June 23, 2010

    That is SO exciting!!

    Some bloggers you might find helpful (which you may or may not already know): Nichole at Little Brown Pen, Anne at Pret a Voyager, and the girls at Haven in Paris (blog + apartment rentals).

  7. pillarboxpost

    June 23, 2010

    Well done on the 'living the dream'….we are going through a bit of the ' we should do this now' as well about Paris. We live in London at the moment, so it's a bit less of an upheaval though ( I'm originally from America, but live in London with my English husband). Anywho…I can't say our search has properly kicked off, and this information might not be useful but I thought I'd chime in when I saw Craigsilst being on your list of go to. Craigslist does exist in the UK, but really isn't used that much (making it a bit useless) and I thought it might be the same for the rest of Europe. Gumtree is the equivalent here..might want to give it a go for Paris. You could try, sadly my French is non existent so…not sure if it's right.

    Good luck, can't wait to hear more about it!

  8. josephine

    June 23, 2010

    I can't think of a particular post, but I'm sure David Lebovitz must have written a post on moving to Paris. Also, a great memoir to read to prepare you for your trip is From Paris to the Moon.

    Bonne chance!

  9. Diana Hulme

    June 23, 2010

    WOW! Amazing…congratulations! I hope it all works out! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Angie

    June 23, 2010

    but that still doesn't qualify how one would work in a french speaking country??

  11. bM

    June 23, 2010

    for paris apartments:

    They charge a "finders fee" but still a decently good deal…

  12. chelsea

    June 23, 2010


  13. jordan

    June 23, 2010

    @Angie: "Work remotely" means we can continue to do our current jobs from far away.

  14. nichole

    June 23, 2010

    yay! You are doing it.

    Funny, but your reasons for moving are the very same we did (Kids were young and not yet in school, and we both were freelancing/working from home).

    Definitely check out Haven in Paris ( for apartments. I would also email Erica directly as she can offer suggestions for longer term stays.

    Definitely feel free to reach out again. I have also learned a thing or two about what to do (and NOT do!) with kids in Paris.

    Such exciting news!

  15. desaline

    June 23, 2010

    When I needed a place to live for a few months in Paris, I found it though fusac, which is (was? this was in 2003) a great french-english resource.

  16. sm

    June 23, 2010

    This is the David Lebovitz post and it's HILARIOUS! Read it, and also David Sedaris' writings on France are great too. YAY for you!

  17. maia

    June 23, 2010

    try or

  18. Suzanne

    June 23, 2010

    Contact Bardot in Blue and her mom Charmaine @ Charmaine mentioned an apartment in a post earlier this week that is available and although she lives in Santa Barbara her daughter lives and works in Paris. These are two of my favorite blogs. Good for you for following your dreams!

  19. hanner

    June 23, 2010

    my husband and i lived in paris for three months last summer while he did an internship and i just took 4 hours a day of french classes and bummed around the city. we used lodgis to find our apartment (someone already suggested that) and i kind of feel like we got ripped off. 900 euro a month (plus a HEFTY fee) for 128 sq. feet, but we had an amazing view of the eiffel tower and arc de triomphe from our tiny 6th floor balcony. if we were to do it again we would have stayed in a hostel/hotel/short term rental (like a week or so) and then dealt with apartments in person to avoid those finders fees. we knew people who were living in fabulous locations and with decent sized apartments for 300-400 euro a month. my husband does speak fluent french and we don't have kids, so that probably isn't the best option for you unless your husband goes early or something (and has access to a phone).

    my other suggestion would be to try contacting the bishop of the paris ward… there are a lot of americans in the paris/versailles ward and might be able to point you in the right direction.

    sorry for the marathon comment. there are probably some people with better recommendations and more experience. but i thought i'd just throw our experience out there. that is fabulous that you're taking advantage of the time you've got. best of luck.

  20. the southern hostess

    June 23, 2010

    I'm excited for you already! I know how you feel. I'm starting to plan my grand return to New York for later this year, fingers crossed.

  21. kelli

    June 23, 2010

    I think that's the perfect position to be in! Luck you!

    Have you thought about a housing exchange?

  22. j. vorwaller

    June 23, 2010

    How very exciting! We have this on our horizon too- though not as soon. Having lived in South America for over a year and a half, we wanted to do Europe too, but there is that snag of the EU's three month time limit… if you are working remotely-which we did in Buenos Aires and elsewhere-how do you get a work visa to live for an extended time? I would love to know what you find out! And good luck! (Though you could always do three months – it is better than nothing if that is your only option!)

  23. Megan Elizabeth

    June 24, 2010

    What an amazing experience it will be for you.
    My boyfriend and I decided that when we get married we won't have a honeymoon and will instead move to NYC for a year.
    I've dreamed about Paris as well, but New York is definitely number one.

  24. Grace

    June 24, 2010

    How exciting! Courtney of "The Hungry Yogini" blog just spent a few months in Paris…she might be a good person to connect with for info. I recently rented a cottage through Home Away (, and they let you filter by date and size and price and all that good stuff, which is helpful. Best wishes!

  25. suzanne cabrera

    June 24, 2010

    Oh my gosh….this is amazing news!!!!!! Good for you!!!!!

  26. ijoyce

    June 24, 2010

    Hi! I just got linked to your blog. I currently live in Paris and recently decided to extend my stay. Looking for a studio / long-term rentals is actually proving to be NOT that painful.

    I've been using and someone else commented about the site which both charge finders fees, but I think it's worth it.

    Good luck!

  27. Michelle

    June 24, 2010

  28. Grapefruit

    June 24, 2010

    You should definitely read "The Sweet Life" by David Lebovitz. He is an American pastry chef that moved to Paris several years ago and writes about the hilarious adventures of moving to Paris. You can also find tons of advice for Paris trips/living on his blog,

  29. TN

    June 24, 2010

    We just moved to Paris from FL about 2 weeks ago. My Husband is French so it is a little different for us (his family had an apartment in Paris). One of my husbands co-workers is an Expat they are moving into a new apartment and the landlord is requesting 10 months pre-paid rent!!! My husband explained that they do not have someone (French) to "vouch" for them (I believe they mean a co-signer). They are in a posh area so other areas might be different. I do know that there is a way they "calculate" how much you are allowed to rent. YES allowed to rent. I am not sure what it is called. But they take your gross pay and you can only rent a % of your gross pay. It is not much. I could find out what it is called from my husband if you would like.

    We are in a Temp Housing (waiting for our shipment to arrive – that is another thing you should think about…how to ship your items) we rented through Parisian Home. Maybe you can start there.

    You will also need a Long Stay Visa to stay longer than 3 months. The French Gov't has immigration issues as the US so they only allow for certain reasons. If you will be working remotely they might just need proof you can support yourself while in France.

    I have a blog that I started if you want to check it out for ideas on how it's going for us. It is mostly for my family and friends at home. I have a little 1 year old…and that is a whole different story. Just dealing with walking with a stroller is a big ordeal…I haven't attempted the Metro with it yet;-) Good Luck!

  30. Dita Maulani

    June 24, 2010

    I found you via and yes this is a cool site loaded with dreamy pictures.

  31. Lauren

    June 24, 2010

    As other have said…Haven in Paris are the people to speak to.
    I work for a luxury travel company and we will often refer our clients to HIP when they are looking for affordable, beautiful places. Everyone there is a pleasure to work with and they are very responsive.

  32. Maggie

    June 24, 2010

    Yay! If we can be of any service as you move to the best city in the world, please do let us know!


  33. rita

    June 24, 2010

    Try (particularly the forums). That's where I rented my 1 bedroom in France (which comfortably slept 4). I rented directly from the owner, without going through an agent or paying a fee.

    I wired her a deposit and paid the rest in cash when I got there and saw the apartment in person.

  34. Elle

    June 24, 2010

    This sounds so exciting I can't stand it. I hope you go through with it.

  35. kaili

    June 24, 2010

    This is something we've explored a few different times. It's an experience not to be missed! I found Haven to be very helpful, and I also did endless googling, which depending on your French can be very helpful.

    With kids it would be great to be in the Marais or the 16th. The 16th is so quiet and clean and the Marais is so full of life and lots of youngs families.

    I would also recommend that you read Adam Gopnik's "Paris to the Moon" if you haven't already.

  36. Jennie Lyon

    June 24, 2010

    I would love to rent an apartment in Paris in 2011. Also, check out Airbnb. I have rented through them and it is a great site.

  37. carrie

    June 24, 2010

    so exciting – my husband, baby and i just moved to paris 2 weeks ago and we already dread returning to canada! i would NOT recommend – 2 days before leaving they informed us that the apartment we had rented had flooded and they were not very helpful at all. i would say rent directly through the owner or come here and stay at a hotel for a few days and find something when you arrive, much cheaper it seems. our blog may give you some ideas…

  38. bex

    June 24, 2010

    please find a place with a guest bedroom ; )

  39. carrie

    June 24, 2010

    so exciting – my husband, baby and i just moved to paris 2 weeks ago and we already dread returning to canada! i would NOT recommend – 2 days before leaving they informed us that the apartment we had rented had flooded and they were not very helpful at all. i would say rent directly through the owner or come here and stay at a hotel for a few days and find something when you arrive, much cheaper it seems. our blog may give you some ideas…

  40. mamagnome

    June 24, 2010

    Hi Jordan,

    I live in Paris now and would be happy to talk to you about it. I have two sons as well (3 and 8 months). A good place to start for apartments is, or join Messageparis, an anglophone parenting community with *very* active forums. There is an annual fee, but it is worth it and many many of your questions will be answered in the forums (plus they organize playdates for different ages, by neighborhood, plus other fun events throughout the year). I'll be here next year too, so perhaps we will overlap (I bought some red balloons from you for my 3 year-old's 1st birthday party, when we were still in San Francisco). Good luck!

  41. Lindsey

    June 24, 2010

    Paris To The Moon is an excellent book (as suggested in an earlier post).

    I hope you move to Paris. I live in London and love living abroad…

  42. Kate

    June 24, 2010

    How exciting! I hope someday I have the same realization…

    Good luck – I sadly have no advice to offer, but I can't wait to read more about your journey!

  43. Sarah

    June 24, 2010

    I used to find my apartment in Paris, but I was just renting a room–I don't know if they do full-out apartment rentals.
    I would go with the suggestions that have already been made to find something short-term first and look at everything in person. A lot of apartments in Paris are quite old and dingy, so being able to check them out in person is invaluable–especially because you can be in a great neighborhood and literally a block or two over it's kind of shady.
    If the bishopric of the Paris ward hasn't changed, the bishop is American, so you don't need to speak French to contact him and get any advice or resources from him.
    Good luck!

  44. Angie

    June 24, 2010

    I think this is great! I apologise for being snappy yesterday!

    I must have totally missed the line where you said work remotely, I really think this is great these are the times to do greatness.

  45. Mackenzie {Design Darling}

    June 24, 2010

    i just returned from five months in france โ€” you will absolutely love it! parlez-vous franรงais?

  46. Kiki

    June 24, 2010

    Very exciting!!
    I lived in France for about 18 months several years ago and I managed without a visa by leaving every 3 months for a week or so (very easy to do if you're going to travel around Europe). As long as you have stamps in your passport, I found that there was no problem.
    I would definitely get in touch w/ the ex-pat community in Paris to find out if they have apartment leads.
    Google "expat Paris" and I bet you'll find lots of info.
    You're so lucky! I work as a consultant and am trying to get the nerve up to move to France in a year or so – my family has a house in Brittany! Good luck and bon courage!!

  47. The Willows

    June 24, 2010

    no recommendations, just a huge jealous "lucky you!" all the best and i cannot wait to follow your adventures (you better keep us all posted!)

  48. kelliinc

    June 24, 2010

    I lived in Paris years ago. The toughest part is getting your utilities turned on! Once you arrive the bulletin board at the Eglise American is a great resource to find sitters etc. and perhaps apartments.

  49. rubi

    June 24, 2010

    paris is in our plans too.
    maybe we'll see you there next year. ๐Ÿ™‚
    good luck!

  50. tina

    June 24, 2010

    So excited to think of the possibilities for you in Paris!

    Yay you for even beginning to scope it out – the beginning of a fabulous trajectory for you and your family, I feel!

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