Frequently asked questions
“Gate to Paris“ was created in 2019 - as a reference to the Arc de Triomphe - and bundles welcome services in Paris.
For many people, especially expatriates, a change of residence can be stressful, e.g., due to the time pressure before starting a job and many tasks at the old and new place of residence. This is where my service comes in, to make your apartment search easier, to avoid a time-consuming search for information, to offer you orientation in the initial period including recommendations for everyday life, and much more.
If you cannot come to Paris to view apartments for reasons of time, the apartment search can be carried out at a distance with my support.
“Gate to Paris“ offers various solutions to suit your personal situation. Whether you are looking for an apartment, want to find your way around the city quickly, need assistance with administrative formalities or want recommendations on restaurants, doctors, language courses, leisure activities, and much more.
As the founder of “Gate to Paris“, I am able to offer centralized relocation services that would have helped me immensely in my early days in Paris - without an apartment, without language skills, and without a contact person.
In addition to companies, private individuals can also book services which save time and money. My status as an entrepreneur allows me to avoid VAT, so my service is less expensive for clients.
German speaking clients especially appreciate my relocation services in Paris. It goes without saying that my services are available to every customer as long as we can communicate in German, English, or French.
If you need support with visa/entry formalities or with your job search, I recommend one of my many colleagues in Paris who can assist you.
Costs depend on the specific request and the underlying preferences. Please contact me directly for an exact statement and a non-binding offer.
In the case of apartment search, my fee does not include all expenses that may be incurred in a successful search. Those can be agency fees, costs for handing over the apartment and deposit, which the tenant has to pay directly to the real estate agency or the landlord.
Yes, of course you can also book individual services, or I will be happy to put them together according to your requirements.
Payments can be made by bank transfer.
You will receive the general terms and conditions at the same time as the offer.
Service - Orientation
In addition to an orientation day in Paris, you will receive a comprehensive welcome folder containing numerous tips and recommendations. These include information about public transport, doctors, shopping facilities for different needs and much more, so that you can quickly familiarize yourself to everyday life in Paris without having to do extensive research.
In addition, I am available to answer your questions by telephone and via common media.
Duration of support depends on your needs and preferences. Some clients only want short-term support in the first 1 or 2 weeks, others feel more comfortable having a contact person in Paris for different months.
Whether you want a hairdresser appointment or need an artisan, I will be happy to arrange an appointment for you.
Service - Apartment search
After many years in Paris, I know its arrondissements and peculiarities very well. I have lived in various districts as well as the suburbs and have gained a lot of expertise in finding an apartment.
Often clients need to find apartment quickly. To help eliminate the stress for you, I can check your application folder to make sure all the required documents have been properly completed, arrange viewings, and submit offers on your behalf if you are not in Paris. I can also help you rent a temporary apartment until you find a permanent home.
Although requirements such as guarantors and a French bank account are often problematic for international clients, experience has shown that it helps immensely to have a professional guide help in the apartment search to get a bid and open contracts. The “VIP factor“ exists and quickly puts the expenses for a “relocation scout“ into perspective.
While I can help clients at any time, it's best to contact me at least 3-4 weeks before you plan to move.
After signing the contract, you will receive a detailed questionnaire. In this questionnaire you can express all your wishes regarding your desired domicile. Afterwards, we will discuss the details and you will receive a list of recommendations.
Based on your preferences, I will contact the real estate agencies in the individual arrondissements and I will vet the relevant websites. Landlords or agencies will be contacted to arrange viewing appointments - either together with you or on your behalf if you are unable to attend.
You are also welcome to give me an advertisement or a direct contact that you want me to follow up.
This depends on your requirements for the new apartment, the current offer, your availability (in the case of accompanied visits on site) and, above all, the budget you are planning for the rent.
In general, I will introduce you to several properties, whereby up to 10 viewings are planned. Your documents will be forwarded, and the awarding of the contract will be awaited.
After you have filled out the questionnaire to define your wishes for your new domicile, the following research will be coordinated together. This means that you must also decide whether you would like to view the apartments before I make an appointment.
Some clients wish to do this, but it is not advisable in terms of time, because offers can become quickly outdated. And while I am still waiting for your answer, your desired apartment might find another tenant.
Nowadays, it is also very easy to “accompany“ me during the viewing via Skype, Whatsapp etc., if your time allows.
After every visit I will send your application folder to the relevant authorities and keep you up to date at all times.
Usually there is not much time to decide after visiting the property. If you like the apartment, the dossier should be sent in immediately.
But what if you could rent a particular apartment and would like to think about it a little more? Again, a short-term answer is expected, and the luxury of time is only offered when other commitments are almost certain, and the deadline pressure is not too high.
Since the research is based on your preferences specified in initial intake questionnaire, please let me know immediately if you don’t like any of the apartments I have identified (e.g., what disturbed you about the properties? What was missing? And was there possibly no willingness to compromise?).
Especially in a housing market like Paris, it is difficult to meet all preferences and requirements. Quite a few people overestimate their budget and what can be rent for it. Furthermore, despite high rents, the condition of many apartments leaves a lot to be desired (e.g., badly laid pipes or draughty windows).
If no apartment meets your requirements, we will agree at short notice whether the search can be adjusted and to what extent further inspections can be carried out and in which framework.
However, as I have been commissioned to do exactly this work for you, you are not allowed to act yourself during the defined period. Otherwise the full amount is due.
The management fee is a small percentage and covers certain expenses that are necessary for the search. You only pay the full amount when an apartment has been found or when the aforementioned case occurs.
General tips for finding an apartment in Paris
There is no general answer to this question. Even shared rooms or small apartments can be very expensive, so that 1,000 € for unfurnished 25-30 sqm are not uncommon.
It would be a miracle to stumble upon a landlord in Paris who rents out a studio for 500 € “intra muros“ that also offers adequate living space. But the sky's the limit, especially if you're looking for a studio in trendy districts like Montmartre or Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
As Paris is one of the most famous and popular European cities, the demand is correspondingly high. In addition, providers such as Airbnb exacerbate the situation on the housing market when thousands of apartments are no longer available for “normal“ tenancies, thus reducing supply.
Furthermore, the requirements for the application folder represent a major hurdle. Not everyone can show a permanent employment contract, a domestic guarantor or a French bank account. Many agencies and landlords are not satisfied with an international bank account, although the SEPA procedure is established throughout Europe. Without a French residence it is almost impossible to open a French bank account and without a French bank account it is difficult to find an apartment. It's chasing one's own tail.
Generally speaking, it's always challenging to find an apartment in Paris no matter what time of year. Especially in summer, when many students are looking for a place to stay, one-room apartments are rare, and it is not uncommon to have to stand in line for visits.
Finding an apartment is quite “easy“ in spring and winter, but here too supply and demand can vary.
At least four weeks in advance - after all, you want to find something and also have time to move and hand over the apartment.
It is more advisable to start earlier rather than later. However, everyone has to decide whether the financial double burden of overlapping tenancy agreements weighs more than the stress just before starting university or a job, when no apartment is in sight.
As a private person, I can say from my own experience that the search can take between a few days to a few months. However, a long search phase usually occurs when there is not much time for viewing and the search is constantly interrupted by other commitments. Also, of course the budget for the rent is an important factor.
Before you start your search, write down wishes and relevant variables such as the amount of rent and consider where you’ll be willing to compromise: Does it have to be the 16th district? A balcony? Or an elevator leading to the second floor? Mark some requirements that are essential, but above all, it is important to adjust your own expectations: you will not find a 60 sqm apartment in the centre of Paris for 800 €.
There are different suggestions as to when it is best to start looking for an apartment. Many people prefer to start only a few weeks before a moving date, others prefer to start earlier. Even if this means that for a certain period of time the old and new apartment will have to be paid at the same time. As long as this double burden is financially possible, it is advantageous to start earlier rather than later, especially in a housing market like Paris.
Before the first telephone call, put together a meaningful application folder (= dossier, detailed below). This dossier should be available from the moment you start your search; although, in most cases, it is sufficient to have scanned all the necessary documents so that you can email them to the relevant agency or landlord.
Some useful housing portals are Seloger.com, Bienici.com, Logic-Immo.com or Avendrealouer.fr, for example, where both housing companies and individuals advertise. The latter, on the other hand, are concentrated on Pap.fr or Leboncoin.fr - of interest to anyone who wants to avoid the agency commission.
It is also advisable to make ample use of the apps of the various providers. Set up a search in which budget, place of residence, etc. are defined and react quickly to push news or newsletters when an offer appeals to you.
Most of the time, it is more advisable to pick up the phone than to leave an e-mail. It is easier to arrange visits and to get important key information. I recommend asking whether a guarantor is necessary or whether the landlord insists on a so-called “assurance loyer impayé“. In this case, prospective tenants without a permanent employment contract (“CDI“) and also self-employed persons with a manageable income can directly save an appointment for viewing - they are excluded from this option and have no chance of a rental contract.
Be punctual for viewings, don't expect too much, but also don't let yourself be unsettled. It is not uncommon to enter a property and feel unhappy immediately. So, unless there is absolute urgency to obtain housing quickly, it is better to wait and view a few more options.
In summary: Be realistic, start on time, and send in your application folder for several offers. Persistence and friendliness also pay off in Paris.
There are said to be people who have found an apartment at very short notice through classified advertisements on light posts. Or have a nice French neighbour who spontaneously had something to rent. But unfortunately, the usual route is rather arduous.
But of course, “Gate to Paris“ is a possibility to help you to find a domicile in Paris in a much less stressful way!
Paris offers something for every taste in its 20 arrondissements. In this respect, it is difficult to speak of the “best districts“. A lot depends on personal preference. Do you like it a bit livelier? Do you prefer quiet residential areas? Or do you prefer more classic Haussmann style?
Each arrondissement has its pros and cons. There is so much to discover, and it is often a good idea to look through advertisements all over Paris. You will be surprised how quickly plans can change!
Basically, in Paris as in any other place, you should have a healthy dose of common sense. A confident manner and the knowledge not to venture into dark, lonely corners alone at night is advisable. But even the somewhat despicable corner around Barbès-Rochechouart/Pigalle is far from being a no-go area in Paris.
It is neither necessary to develop paranoid traits nor to be afraid of contact: Paris is a wonderful city where nothing more or less happens than in other big cities.
You can find housing advertisements on Seloger.com, Bienici.com, Logic-Immo.com or Avendrealouer.fr. Private individuals often advertise on Pap.fr and Leboncoin.fr.
Set up a search in many places, activate notification alerts and use the push functions of the apps.
A dossier is an application folder for housing agencies and landlords to assess the creditworthiness of interested parties.
Several documents are required to present a meaningful dossier for an apartment. These depend on the personal situation you are in.
A typical dossier contains not only identification documents, but also information about the employment. Sometimes a completed questionnaire is also requested, as well as information about a French bank account.
Basic documents that almost every applicant (without inheritance of millions) should bring along:
Copy of the identity card or passport
Proof of a French bank account
Proof of current address
The last 3 rental documents or confirmation that you are a home owner
Last tax notice
Additionally, important for employees:
Copy of the employment contract
Proof of income: The last 3 salary statements
Important for self-employed:
Proof of self-employment (e.g., business registration)
Proof of income: The last 2 balance sheets or proof of financial resources
Important for pensioners:
Proof of income: The last 3 pension payments
Important for students:
Certificate of registration
Copy of student ID
Depending on the personal situation, guarantors also have to provide the same documents mentioned above to prove their financial situation.
Nevertheless, landlords are increasingly taking out insurance against loss of rental income (“assurance loyer impayé“), making a classic guarantee superfluous. Looking for an apartment without proof of income or a permanent employment contract can be an obstacle to obtaining a lease.
Of course, it is possible, but it often reduces the chances.
Many landlords and housing companies focus on risk minimization and want to have as little effort as possible when reviewing the incoming application folders. Above all, there is the desire to be covered in case of payment defaults, but unfortunately not every landlord is tolerant enough to accept non-French-dossiers.
The question is often raised as to which official documents need to be translated into French. If you want to take the trouble to have foreign contracts and confirmations translated in their entirety, you are free to do so.
However, as long as a landlord is able to grasp the content by means of a few additional comments on the document, this is usually sufficient. As is often the case, the impression you make at a viewing appointment and the entirety of the documents also count. Nevertheless, it is again true that foreigners do not have an easy time with a dossier that deviates from the norm - as long as you do not have a very high income and financial securities that can more easily open doors for them.
I will be happy to help you with advice and assistance. Please contact me if you have any questions regarding your dossier.
This option is also available to you independently of any assignment for finding accommodation or other services.