Getting Student Accommodation in France

Finding Accomodation in France

A brief note on what you need to know about finding a dormitory or other form of accomodation when coming to France to study. While it might seem easier for exchange students to be offered a dormitory, the opportunities also exist for the non-exchange students.  

1. The Most Important Place to Know: CROUS

First of all, let's take a look the CROUS institution. CROUS in an acronym in French for Centre Régional des Œuvres Universitaires et Scolaires, which is an organisation dealing with things related to French universities and their students, among others.

It helps both local and foreign students. Each city / region in France has its own CROUS and there are 20 CROUS centers in France. It is the place for every student in France. In CROUS you will find help on how to:

  • Pay or fund your studies

  • Get help in any situation throughout your studies (social work services)

  • How to find accommodation (University dorms, private housing, flatsharing)

  • University restaurant

  • Get help for your student projects (financial help, organisation, etc.)

Therefore, if you arrive out of the blue to any French city, without having found an accomodation in advance, CROUS is the place you need to head. 

2. You Are On A Foreign Student Exchange Program

You automatically get a file from your University. You need to complete the file and return it with all the necessary documents specified in that file (your id, proof of enrollement, residence permit, bank account details, etc.). The University will inform you whether you will get the University dorm or not. In general, it depends on the number of places and the date your application (the sooner the better).  

Once you have been granted a dormitory, you will have to pay a security deposit (1 month of rent) on the bank account of CROUS to confirm the reservation. You may also be asked to provide  “a commitment of joint and several guarantee” (la caution solidaire in French), which is a security check in case you changed your mind and didn’t want to pay you rent. But it only applies to the private sector in general, so no worries. 

3. You Are NOT On A Foreign Student Exchange Program

If you want to get a university dorm, you must know that you don’t have the priority and all you can do is to put your name on a waiting list at the end of August. Your request should be treated at the beginning of September.  

The places at the University dorms are rapidly taken, so your chances of getting one are rather slim. You’d better start looking for accommodation in private student residence, a private flat or flat sharing (la collocation) opportunities. The are plenty of websites offering flats to rent or flat sharing. However, few of them are in English.    

If you don’t get the University dorm, don’t panic. Finding a private flat or flat sharing may turn out even a better option for you. It might be a stressful and difficult situation to anyone anywhere, but you must know that France has the APL (Aide Personnalisée au Logement), a very unique and interesting way of helping students, whether their are local or foreign, in paying their rent. Check out their information brochure on the CAF website.

How to Get a Student Accomodation in France (1)

More Information: 

  1. Crous
  2. CAF

10 Most Important French Cities

There is more to France than Paris. If the names such as Bordeaux, Strasbourg or Marseille don't mean anything to you, then you'd better read on. And even if they do, you should read on too :-) You won't regret it.

Learning French (through) Geography

A little bit of knowledge of the geography of the country where your target language is spoken may tremendously change the way you interact in that language.

The more you know the better, but let's start with something really simple but really essential at the same time. 

Knowing the most important cities will influence not only your knowledge but may also improve your conversations in French.

Even the simple exchange: – D’où viens-tu ? – Je viens de Bordeaux may either lead to a much more developped conversation or just end up in a simple – Ah, d’accord… 

You will certainly feel much less alienated and overwhelmed by the language because you will know better what the people are talking about. 

Only a couple of days ago I heard a French man making fun of a poor foreign girl because she didn't know well the basic georgraphy of France (she didn't know what and where the French départment of Gers is).

Of course, that's an extreme example but the truth is that the more you know about the country (its history, culture and geography) the easier it is to learn that language and feel at ease with it.

This is what you need to do in order to truely master the language. The famous german polyglot Emil Krebs (1867-1930) is said to have used this kind of approach in his language learning. 


10 Most Important Cities in France

In general, the most populated cities are the most important. But not always.

There are several different reasons why some cities are more important than other, even if they are not bigger, although it is rather rare.

To give you an example: I'm sure that all of you have heard of Cannes but less of Nantes…

Different sources will give the names in slightly different order.

I have decided to choose the biggest but also the most famous ones, so there are chances that you might have heard or read something about this or the other particular French city.

The 10 most important French cities that you need to know are:

Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, Strasbourg, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Lille


The best way to remeber things is practice. Try to place the names of the French cities you saw above into the right spots on the map of France. You may either do it by "trail and error" method, starting first with the things you know best, or first have a look at a map of France ( la carte de la France)  then come back here and try to do the exercise on your own. Good luck !

French Professions and Occupations

Occupations in French

Learn how to speak about jobs and professions in French. It may come in handy when meeting new people (that's one of the questions you will be asked or you will ask) or if you are planning to work in France. This lesson will allow you to make your French small talk richer and more engaging.

Gaël est pompier. Il est pompier volontaire. C'est un pompier très courageux.

No Article Please

In French, contrary to English, you put no article before the name of the profession. So: 

  • Je suis un professeur. I'm teacher. 
  • Il est médecin. He is a doctor. 

Remember !

When you precise things about somebody's the profession (his / her qualities), you need to add an article. However, if you are only precising the category it belongs to, there is still no artilce

  • Mark est un médecin exceptionnel. (quality) 
  • Marie est médecin généraliste. (category) 

When speaking about professions, you need to remember about the masculine / feminine forms of certain professions. Many of them have only the masculine form. 

  • médecin / écrivain / ingénieur / professeur
  • Marie est médecin et Joachim est écrivain

Serving coffee


Exercise 1

Exercise 2

French Adjectives 2 Plurals


The French adjectives can also have a plural form which can also be masculine or feminine. Here are the rules that you need to apply:

Adding ” -s” to the adjective

They agree in number and gender, as usual. Normally, all you need to do is to add ” s” to the adjective in the singular.

Singular Plural
Masculine un étudiant américain des étudiants américains
Feminine une étudiante américaine des étudiantes américaines

Continue reading “French Adjectives 2 Plurals”

French Adjectives 1


It’s really important to master well the French adjectives as they are a lot different from the English ones for example. The French adjectives reflect the gender and the number of the noun(s) they describe. The French adjective can be either masculine, feminine, singular or plural. It seems like a lot but it is not that hard. Besides there are some simple rules that apply and the truth is that even the French sometimes confuse the correct forms of their adjectives. Here are the rules:

Continue reading “French Adjectives 1”