What would it be like to retire in Paris, France? Wake up every morning and wander down to the local café, sit outside with your coffee and pastry? The most visited city in the world has so much to offer – you need to stay for at least 3 months, if not a lifetime. Although Paris can certainly keep you busy, it is also the central location that makes it perfect for exploring the rest of the country on either day trips or a weekend get-away.
Renting a free-standing house in the city is almost impossible and very, very expensive. Most everyone lives in apartments/flats in dozens of neighborhoods that surround the center of the city. The area is divided into rings extending out from the Louvre and they are numbered and named. Seizieme-16e-Passy is 16 rings out from the center in the neighborhood called Passy.
Passy is a popular upscale neighborhood for expats and sits on the western part of the city from the Arc de Triomph to the Bois de Boulogne. Benjamin Franklin lived here for 9 years during the Revolutionary War. Passy is known as an artists community and shopping areas. The neighborhood includes a couple of English speaking colleges and a French Immersion School. There are several markets with fresh fruit and vegetables. A flat will run you about $1800 US a month to thousands more, which is quite reasonable for Paris. The neighborhood is connected to the city center by busses. Parking is horrible. The area is mostly residential with cafes and restaurants most everywhere. The architecture is both old and new and there are families living in this area. And many flats are privately owned (condos) mixed in with rental properties.
Some things you should know about renting in France. Unfurnished means simply nothing – including no stove or refrigerator, no kitchen cabinets, cupboards or counters. It may or may not have a shared bathroom. Furnished will include some or all of those things and minimum furnishings so you may have to round up dishes, table and chairs, or a sofa. Obviously, they charge more for furnished. You will need to have a rental agent to get a flat in the neighborhood you want. This provides a bit of security for both you and the landlord. Make sure you know what the Agent will charge before you negotiate. In older buildings the utilities are divided by the number of units. Another thing, you must have a bank account in France and be able to prove your monthly income and balance. Furnished contracts are generally for one year, unfurnished are for 3 years. The damage deposit is controlled by law and is generally equal to one month’s rent. Having a rental agent will help you get a good contract and help you get back your deposit.
Personally, when I go to France for a short time, say 3 months, I make arrangements with a Bed and Breakfast or a Hotel for a long-term stay. Everything is included including housekeeping, laundry, some meals and no contracts. I do not have to find furnishings and then be stuck with them at the end of the visit. It also gives me the opportunity to know a local and seek their counsel on events and attractions. Another choice is to have a “Holiday Let” that is intended for vacationers for two week stays. See if you can get a longer rental in one of these, but expect to pay. There is really no need to have a car in Paris. The train, busses and taxis run everywhere. Paris is easy to navigate.