Accommodation In Lyon: Learn from my mistakes

Accommodation In Lyon: Learn from my mistakes Bicycle on a balcony by Dimitrios Dalagiorgos

This article was written by Emma Obank, published on 31st October 2012 and has been read 18505 times.

I spent my English summer days endlessly procrastinating and putting off the thought of my forever looming Year Abroad. I wanted to enjoy every last moment back home, and therefore half-heartedly signed up to Appartager as an effort to find somewhere to live in Lyon. Veteran year abroaders reassured me that I wouldn’t really need to bother finding any accommodation until I arrived there, and it would be easy peasy. However in hindsight I can see how wrong they really were...
I’m seven weeks into my year abroad and still have friends who are staying in the local youth hostel unable to find an apartment. I myself have had to flee my apartment due to my landlady being absolutely barmy.

When I arrived I decided I wanted to live with fellow young French students, so I could practice the art of the French language. I therefore left all of my hopes and dreams with Appartager to find a colocation. After €80 of fees to Appartager and two weeks’ worth of bills for a hotel, I panicked and decided to look elsewhere. I therefore found the CRIJ website (a site for young people in Rhone Alps) and was given the recommendation of signing up to a site called ‘Lokaviz’ which is similar to Appartager.

What went wrong for me

I must have sent 100 emails - so many, that when people started calling me I didn’t know to which apartment they were referring. I received a phone call from an elderly woman offering a room in her flat in the heart of Lyon: the second arrondissement, right next to Bellecour. I arranged a viewing and decided to take the room even though in my heart of hearts I knew the apartment wasn’t for me. I was desperate.

In hindsight I should never have taken the flat. The rent was practically theft at €600 a month; and all that bought me was half of a bedroom with a sofa bed. The landlady hadn’t even bothered to clear out her stuff, and some of her clothes were still lingering in the wardrobe. To add further to this hellish situation, she lived with two small kittens and disguised their unworldly smell by putting sample sticks from Sephora all over the flat. Realistically you should be able to find an entire apartment to yourself in Lyon for just €500, or a collocation for €200-400 a month.

Two weeks ago I had to flee my apartment, and now live in a student residency in Villeurbanne (a suburb of Lyon). I fled my apartment because in the end it turned out my Landlady was an alcoholic, and I found her one evening passed out on the floor. I didn’t feel safe there anymore and quite selfishly decided to leave. My advice for you is therefore never to sign a contract unless you are 100 percent sure you want to live there. It’s always best to wait, otherwise you may find yourself in a situation like mine.

How to do it right

Appartager is definitely a good place to start, and you should definitely always call people if you can to get an immediate response. If you can, I’d recommend visiting Lyon in the summer to ease the blow of finding an apartment and get the know the city and its many arrondissements. My student residency is called Nexity and I couldn’t recommend it more. I have my own studio apartment and there are several Nexity residencies about in Lyon. You could also try looking to stay in a Foyer, which is a residence for young workers. If you’re looking for a hostel to stay then I can recommend Cool & Bed - it is a great place to meet other people who have also just arrived in Lyon for their Year Abroad.

Where to live

As for a great location, Presqu’île is the heart of the city in Lyon with the two rivers surrounding it. Vieux-Lyon is also a great place to live on the other side of La Saône as it is the capital of Lyon’s history and architecture! Also, don’t be put off by my horrendous experience with a landlady. Several of my friends live with a ‘propriétaire’ or a host family and haven’t had a single problem. It is also a great way to improve your French language!

Anyway, bonne courage et profitez de ton année à l’étranger!

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