Downtown or in the suburbs?15-09-2016
Choosing an apartment in France: downtown or in the suburbs?
Let’s immediately forget about the financial side of the issue. Why? Firstly, Quartier Latin offers really good deals in most cities of France, both in the center and in the outskirts. Taking CAF and transport costs into account, the price of an apartment in the city or in the suburbs would be practically the same. By paying just 50-100 euros more per month, you can live in the city center. Is it worth it? Let's look into it.
1. Life in a castle
In most cities in France, houses in the center are old buildings dating back to the 18-19th century and have changed little over that time. Naturally, most of them underwent an overhaul a long time ago, however, expect to find sagging ceilings and creaky floors: the French don’t consider this a drawback. After all, this is all part of their charm!
In contrast, the suburb is full of new buildings that have been freshly renovated. These homes may not have ancient balconies and columns but you can be sure that laminate flooring in your home is not the same age as your parents.
2. Urban hangout
You’ll never get a taste of student life in Europe if you don’t go on walks at night and go to noisy parties in the city’s bars and clubs. Please note, however: even in the capital, the underground and RER close shortly after midnight. This means that going back home to the suburbs at night is tricky: your only chances are rare buses or an expensive taxi.
Therefore, living in the center is an undoubted advantage - you are not dependent on public transport and can stay out all night long!
3. The proximity to the university
Most people mistakenly place high importance on he distance between the apartment and the university, library, campus and so on. Believe me, this is the last thing that should be taken into account. Of course, we're not saying that four changes on your way to classes is nothing, but transport in France and across Europe is designed in such a way that you are going to use it practically every day and, wherever you live, you will have to make changes. In every city you will find a whole host of interesting things that you want to visit and you will get used to the underground and RER really quickly. We therefore suggest that you ignore this point.
4. For lovers of silence
Paris has a unique feature: it is not loud at all. It cannot be compared to New York or Moscow where life pulses and you hear howling sirens, voices of protesters (though they sometimes do occur) and adverts from all sides. On Sundays, Paris totally quietens down, people disappear from the streets and get out to their cosy country houses and city parks.
The suburbs of Paris are even quieter. Here people live a relaxed life, run a family business or go to work in the center - but in the suburbs themselves, the most noisy place is the local market.
You’d be right to think that in any other city, the situation is almost the same. The only exception is Nice during the summer holidays when it attracts tourists from all over Europe.
For those who love peace and quiet, the suburbs is clearly the ideal place to live. And yet, noisy night streets won’t drive you crazy even if you choose the center of the city. This is Europe and its relaxed stolid mentality!
To sum it up. If you want to fully enjoy the atmosphere of this magical country, wander through the cobbled streets, spend the whole night at local clubs and bars and be within walking distance to any famous landmarks - you should definitely look for an option in the center.
If you are sure that you can properly plan your evening leisure time and prefer a quiet life in a quiet area - choose a cosy place in the suburbs or in the outskirts: you will certainly not regret it. This is especially true for small cities in France, where virtually any street is the center!