University residences in France are managed by regional student-service agencies, known as CROUS. The residences may be located on campus or in town. Spaces are made available according to stringent social criteria.
CROUS residences are far and away the most affordable form of student housing. Monthly rents vary from €120 for a single room to €350 for a studio apartment. Most of the spaces allocated for international students are reserved for recipients of French government grants.
Many universities have reached agreements with CROUS to reserve rooms for international students participating in exchange programs, often under the umbrella of foreign assistance. Some institutions also reserve rooms for international students enrolled in the second year of a master's program or in a doctoral program. If you fall into any of those categories, you should ask your institution or the organization that manages your grant whether reserved housing is available.
Otherwise, your chances of finding a place in a CROUS building are slim. You may still wish to submit a request to CROUS after you arrive, as places sometimes open up in the course of the year.
Basic facts about university housing
Rent: €120 to €350 depending on the accommodation
Security deposit: One month's rent
Co-signer/guarantor: Students must have a guarantor residing in the European Union.
Temporary or short-term housing: No, rental contracts extend over 9 months (for a room) or 12 months (for a studio), except during the summer.
Pre-arrival rentals: Not possible.
Housing assistance (ALE): Possibly. International students are eligible to apply but are not assured of receiving benefits.