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Accommodation in France


Please note: Only EU citizens may reside in neighbouring France because of the rules governing the issue of residence/work permits in Switzerland.

Living in France or Switzerland

Some people wish to opt for accommodation in France because prices may be lower, but please note that this option is not always possible and has several limitations:

  • If you are a Scholarship Holder (from the Swiss Confederation or your home country), you may be required to live in Switzerland. Check with your HR advisor.
  • Pay attention to your partner’s professional integration: if they live in France, they will not be able to obtain a work permit in Switzerland through family reunification.
  • Beware of cross-border traffic: access roads are saturated and public transport services vary greatly from one area to another. 

Where to look?

Finding accommodation in France is complicated for people who are not already in France and for people who have just started working, which is probably the case for you. Therefore, it’s highly likely that you won’t be able to rent a flat through an estate agency because you won’t have the necessary documentation. Instead, you will have to rent a flat directly from an owner.

The main search engines for (furnished and unfurnished) accommodation are as follows: 

  • SeLoger
  • Glocals (this site also contains accommodation in Switzerland)
  • LeBonCoin  – Warning : this site mainly contains ads from private individuals, which allows for a lot of scams. Never send money via Western Union or similar services.
  • CERN marketplace (France and Switzerland)
  • Acheter-Louer
  • Pap (peer-to-peer – beware of scams)
  • Loca-Colocs (Furnished flat shares in Annemasse, Ferney-Voltaire, Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, etc.)

Résidences meublées

Submitting your application

With the owners

We strongly recommend that you apply directly with the owners, as they can be more flexible about the documents required. 

If you see an ad from a private individual for a flat that interests you, you can send the following documents to the owners:

  • Copy of your ID card
  • Copy of your permit application
  • Copy of your employment contract or certificate from your employer stating your position, employment start date and salary.

Owners may also ask you for other documents. This is a matter for negotiation between yourselves.

With a French estate agency

Applying for a flat in neighbouring France is particularly complicated if you are not already a resident in France. It will be almost impossible for you to gather all the necessary documents for an application through an estate agency.

Usually, accommodation owners take out what is called an “unpaid rent insurance” and these insurances do not accept people who are on probation in their new job.

You should also look out for accommodation governed by certain laws, such as the “PINEL law”. These are properties that allow tax deductions for owners if they are rented to people in a specific income bracket. Prospective tenants must present their latest French tax return. Only people who have lived in France for 2 years can apply.