Ask Karen

Ask Karen

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Dear Susan:

you’re speaking of the coming semester, I hope your daughter is coming
to Paris at least ten days before school starts.  She should
immediately check into a youth hostel and start running.  She
might luck out the first day and locate housing.  However, don’t
bet your last Euro on it.
Many questions:

Does her school have a housing office?
Is she coming with a US university’s study program?  If so, it should have some options lined up.
Does she have any friends or fellow students in Paris with whom she could share an apartment?
And lastly, what is your/her housing budget? 
Factoring all of the above:

daughter’s greatest chances will be by networking before she
arrives.  E. G: former students, any friends or friends of
friends, who are currently living in Paris, etc.
should immediately go to the American Church and the American Cathedral
and other Anglophone churches; they have bulletin boards with
housing offers.  Some offers may involve baby-sitting in
exchange for a room and board. Others people might want someone willing
to teach English or do other chores.  Some may be simple room
rentals (expect to pay cash) as a way of the apartment owner generating
some extra income.

Check at the Alliance Francaise (SP) and L’Instistut Catholique and any and all academic centers in Paris. 
Your daughter should pick up a FUSAC (
) (at any Anglohone restaurant/bar or book store), and call on each and
every room or apartment that’s in a convenient location and price
range.  If she finds a suitable situation, tell her NOT to
hesitate.  It’s a sellers’ market and rooms (even dumps) go
quickly if they are decently priced. 

on budget, she may end up renting a chambre de service — that can be
amazingly expensive —  as one frequently has to share a bathroom
with others on the same floor.  And, most of the rooms are located
on the top floor of a building. It’s rare to find an elevator.
those rooms are one of the secrets as to why many young French
women have such good legs and don’t have to go to the gym each day.
Wishing your daughter much success in her hunt and a super time in Paris!