Paris is divided into 20 numbered districts called arrondissements. Our program office and classes are located in Reid Hall at Columbia University's Global Center in the 6th arrondiseement, on the edge of the 14th arrondissement. This is in the Montparnasse district, near the Vavin stop on Metro Line 4 or the Port Royal stop on RER line B.
USD does not offer campus housing in Paris. The on-site administrator can assist in suggesting general apartment information, and has generally screened a number of available apartments and negotiated reduced security deposits. Some such apartments were rented by our students in prior years. The program office posts a city map showing locations and size of available rentals. Students are put in contact with owners to view the premises and make their own rental arrangements. It is best to arrive a few days before classes begin as there are no weekend USD program office hours or apartment viewings.
Some apartments in the 5th, 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th and 15th arrondissements are within walking distance. Paris has a robust public transportation system, so some students opt to stay in more distant housing along a metro line. Past students have stayed in all sizes of accommodation, from studios to larger apartments for sharing. Cooking utensils and linens are generally furnished, but most Paris apartments do not have air conditioning, full laundry equipment, or internet service. Instead of an apartment, students may rent a room with a Paris family, or stay in a hostel, dormitory or hotel (the most costly option). Be aware of security issues in hostels as it may be difficult to safeguard possessions.
The median housing cost for students in the 2013 Paris program was $1,350. When searching for apartments, housing prices are frequently quoted in Euros. If you are renting your own apartment before arriving in Paris, landlords typically require the deposit amount you have negotiated to be sent by wire transfer in Euros. The full rent also may be demanded in advance. You are unlikely to get a refund if you change your mind or do not like the apartment after seeing it. Do not send money without verifying that the landlord is a reputable estate agent or has the right to rent to you. Retain a copy of all records.
- Hostelworld: Some of the least expensive housing; may be in multi-share rooms.
- TripAdvisor: Paris apartments of higher quality and price are offered.
- Lonely Planet: Within Paris, see Hotels and Hostels for choices in various price ranges.
- Rental France: Offers high quality apartments direct from owners.
Alerts and Warnings
- Living in a Paris suburb is not recommended. You will see little of Paris and commutes are long and costly.
- Do not arrive without a room reservation for at least the first night in Paris.
- Print out a map of the neighborhood and directions for reaching your housing location by public transportation from the airport (taxis are easy but costly).
- Take copies of all communications and receipts regarding your housing arrangements.