Apartments and houses are found throughout the suburbs of Paris and the Ile de France region. These pages concentrate on the areas most favoured by expatriates (but are by no means exhaustive) and give a general overview of the area. We are happy to offer advice on all other areas of the Paris region.
The West Parisian Suburbs
The most popular suburbs of Paris are found to the west, due primarily to the excellent public transport connections, the installation of several international schools, the relative lack of industry in the area and the river Seine basin with its local natural areas.
The area is a favourite with families, and with anyone looking for a more relaxed atmosphere than central Paris. This popularity does, however, put a premium on prices although the price per square metre is generally still less than in central Paris.
The western suburbs are made up of several towns and villages whose boundaries become less evident the closer you get to Paris. Business and Industry has installed itself nearer Paris and along the main communication arteries between the towns.
The most popular areas include St Germain en Laye, Le Pecq, Le Vesinet, Chatou, Reuil Malmaison, Poissy, Maisons Laffittes, Versailles (all of which are serviced by the RER suburban city link) and Garches, Vaucresson, St Cloud, Celle St Cloud Bougival, Croissy sur Seine, Bailly, Marly, and the surrounding areas due to their proximity to the international schools.
Commuting times to Paris range from 25 minutes to over an hour by car depending on the time of day, although using the Rail network you are rarely more than 45 minutes from central Paris and its primary business areas.
The beauty of the area is maintained by forests, hills and valleys, parks, and of course the river seine which meanders gracefully through the region. The architecture itself is a combination of the older village and town centres, the bourgeois residences of old and the more recent implantation of new developments for the growing number of people seeking the quieter life.
More recently these areas are becoming saturated and this has increased the ‘catchment area’ of Paris further. New rail networks are being developed and roads are being improved to allow for a smooth development of the area while maintaining its environment.
Full details of each of the suburbs described here can be found by taking our Virtual tour where you will find rent price comparisons, a description of the area and some photos.
House or Apartment
Most people know whether they prefer a house or apartment, however the market is highly competitive and may limit your choice. It is best to have a plan B if you are in a hurry to find accommodation.
Rarely do properties come furnished in these areas so if you require such housing it is worth starting your search long before your move date.
Town and village centres generally offer a mix of older properties, town houses with limited garden space and apartments in converted older buildings. The further you move away from the centre the greater the variety between old and modern.
In certain areas housing projects have produced mid range comfortable apartments and houses of standard design. Some areas offer the quainter older houses that were the precursor to the more recent developments.
Some regions offer a more bourgeois exclusive community with a great deal more privacy at premium prices.
With such variety it is important to set out your essential criteria and narrow down the possibilities to save you time. Please feel free to contact us for advice.
Old vs New
The more modern apartments and houses offer functionality and comfort but less charm. They generally offer parking, are well insulated, clean and set up for modern living. Modern developments are usually away from the centres of town or village but local bus services operate for families living in these areas. However, it should be noted that a vehicle would be required if you were looking to live in one of these areas..
Older properties do have their charm but varying levels of maintenance over the years lead to varying levels of comfort. Insulation may be low and decorative taste can be an issue.
If an older property has been well looked after then there is little that compares to living in such a romantic comfortable home. However, these properties are not easy to find so you must be prepared to look hard.
Your own set of personal priorities will narrow the search and help you to focus on potential housing that is right for you.
One thing that baffles most overseas tenants is the kitchen situation. Generally when you rent a property in France the kitchen is ENTIRELY EMPTY – normally there will only be a basin with a small cupboard underneath.
The increasing movement of expatriates in the area and the existence of cheaper kitchen units from stores like IKEA has meant that more apartments are available with fitted kitchens – although this is still the exception rather than the rule.
Kitchens will either be supplied:
Vide – empty with a sink and cupboard - assume this unless otherwise stated
Ammenagé – with cupboards but no equipment or white goods
Equipé – fully equipped (usually only in furnished rentals)
An open kitchen (cuisine americain) refers to a kitchen, which is built as part of another room, normally the dining room or the main sitting room. These are popular in smaller apartments and are usually fitted but not necessarily equipped.
Light fittings, curtain rails, picture hooks, and other fixtures are also not generally part of the apartment. Assume that there will be no fixtures unless otherwise stated.