Opt for the student residence
Looking for a flat in Aix turned out to be a real challenge. Although I started searching a few months before my arrival, the small size of the city and the large number of students enrolled at the university meant that the offer did not reflect the actual demand.
Therefore, despite the fact that I was very reluctant to take a room in the university residence, a couple of weeks before my arrival I had to accept the International Relations office's offer of a room in a Crous residence.
Despite the limited size of the room, it was very functional and well organised. With a private bathroom and mini fridge, the only thing to share was the kitchen. Fortunately, my floor was so empty (due to Covid and distance learning) that the kitchen was used by me and a few other people. Nevertheless, I still managed to get to know a few people and especially to cook and dine in the company of some of my fellow Master's students.
Another very positive aspect was the cost of rent. I was paying 250€ per month and with state housing aid (APL) I paid more than 50€ less per month.
Therefore, if you plan to stay a short time in Aix and get to know people quickly and low-cost, the Crous residence is probably an ideal choice.
Don’t miss financial benefits for students and young people
Living in France as a student has turned out to be much cheaper than expected. In fact, students and young people in France are generally entitled to various financial aids.
Although the bureaucracy is long and frustrating, the results are very satisfying.
If, like me, you choose to opt for a university residence, when you sign the contract and pay the monthly fees, you will be given a sheet with the details to communicate when undertaking the procedures for APL (rent aid). If you rent a flat, do not hesitate to ask the landlord if the flat is eligible for APL. First of all, you will have to register on the CAF website, wait to receive your 'allocataire' number and password by post and then proceed to the 'aide au logement' application on the website.
You should also take out a housing insurance policy including student liability via the website assurances-etudiants.com. Thanks to this advantageous formula, I paid only 27 euros for a year, although I only needed it for a few months.
Then, arrange health insurance for foreign students via the etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr website. With this registration you can access various health services for free. In fact, during the pandemic, I was able to take antigenic tests for free.
Finally, get a free, rechargeable transport card that will allow you, if you are under 26, to travel for 24 hours in the surrounding areas for 2 euros, being able to go as far as Marseilles for example.