August 10, 2012

Finding Apartments in Nice, Antibes, Juan les pins, or Sophia Antipolis: For PhDs, Erasmus, and Interns

When I began my Doctoral studies at INRIA Sophia Antipolis, the biggest worry I had was finding a place to live and getting adjusted to life in France. Luckily the French Riviera is an amazing place for International students. The people here are nice and finding an apartment is not very difficult.

Useful Websites 

Here is a list of websites that I found useful during my apartment search.
  • : This is good site if you would like to move in a colocation (flatshare). I found the places I lived in [ and] using this site. The site is very nice and it uses google maps really well to give an idea of the neighborhood. The site is also well managed and to be honest a bit addictive. Another reason why I like this site is because I got to interact with the owners directly and I did not have to pay any money to agents.
  • This site is good if you want to rent an apartment with with your friends. A couple of my friends used this site to get in touch with agents in Nice. Nice is full of rental agencies and most of the houses are managed by agencies. It is very rare that you can get in touch with the owner of the house sans agencies to rent a house. 
Apart from these two sites, the other sites me and some of my friends found useful were: 
  • : This site is for university residences and private residences suggested by the university. You can also see some listing of the private residences in internal list of Univ of Nice. The University office at Sophia has some boards where people can post their rental ads. I saw similar boards at the Fac de Lettres as well.  
  • A site for private residences where you can find studios to rent.
  • : This is specific for studios in Sophia Antipolis. I lived in their Oxford residence for close to a year. 
  • : This is like the craigslist site in the US. 
INRIA Newsgroup

If you are in intern, doctoral student, or a post doc at INRIA then you have access the inria logement news group. Ask you colleagues for the steps to subscribe to this internal news group. Similar news groups exist for CNRS, Eurecom, and other research institutes. 

Some other pointers and terms used

There were some terms that I found confusing and it took me some time to get used to their meaning. Also there were some things about renting places that are specific to France. Once you meet a couple of owners and agencies you get used to these terms and their usage. 
  • garant : It is the caution money that needs to be paid to the owner. In most cases this is refundable and, like all caution, some amount may be deducted based on the damages during your stay. I would recommend that you explicitly confirm to make sure that you will get this money back. Feedback from past tenants is useful on the promptness of the owner and agency on refunding the garant.
  • Insurance: Most likely you will have to buy insurance for the place to rent -- even if it is a single room in a colocation. Depending on the place you rent most banks support insurance from individual rooms to the entire apartment. The charges at most banks are similar. Contact the bank where you have an account for details. In some cases some agencies include the insurance price in the rent. So it is better if you get this clarified
  • Electricite,  Eau et Telephone: These were the three things I could not live. In some cases the price of water, electricity and telephone (internet) is included in the rent. These are typically mentioned as (tout compris). In any case explicitly ask your owner and agency for the amount you need to pay. At times you might also need to pay something more for building maintenance such as cleaning of floors, heating, and collection of garbage.
Attend Parties

However, despite all these pointers, the best way approach for a doctoral student is to find a temporary place, attend parties of lab-mates, and talk to people and get their feedback. This clarified most of my doubts.  Also this is the best way to get feedback about agencies and house owners. 

I must confess I have been lucky on the places I found, and the people with whom I lived in Nice. I therefore hope that you too have a good luck for your house hunting along with an amazing time during you stay in French Riviera.


hardik soni said...

I have options of selecting university residence of University Nice Sophia Antipolis or residence outside the university. I wanted to know about the rent and other living expenses if I go for residence outside the university. I have offer from programm and I will be doing internship at INRIA after 6 months.

Jithin K. Sreedharan said...


From my little experience here, I have learned that the university residences are much cheaper than the outside ones. And you also might get the opportunity to stay with your batch mates.

Manashi Das said...

I will be attending SKEMA Business School from September. I am having a hard time looking for appartments in Nice and Antibes, however I did go through the sites you mentioned on your post. It is either expensive or requires me to sign up as a premium member. Do you happen to know anyone who is looking for a roommate, or mail me a couple of apartments which won't rob me off? thanks

Manashi Das said...

I will be attending SKEMA Business School from September. I am having a hard time looking for apartments in Antibes and Nice. I did go through the links you shared on your post, but some of them turns out to be expensive and others require me signing as a premium member. Do you happen to know anyone who is looking for a roommate in the areas mentioned above, or could you kindly mail me a couple of places that you know are cheap.

Kevin Geoffrey said...

Hi I will also be attending SKEMA BUSINESS SCHOOL from September. I am also finding it very difficult to find apartments/hostel/accomodation near Antibes, Juan les pins.

I can join you in staying so that the rentals & other things can be shared. Please stay in touch.

Kevin Geoffrey said...

Hi, I am also joining Skema Business school in Sep 14. Wish to join you so that we can search together & if you are willing we can co-share. Please let me know. Feel a bit relieved that someone is sailing in the same boat as me in this difficult search for an accomodation