A complete guide about finding accommodation in Lyon - Sojoourn

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

Do you have an expatriation opportunity? Have you decided to settle in Lyon? Follow the guide in order to make finding accommodation in Lyon easier and avoid errors to save time. Enjoy your experience in France!

To read in this article — A complete guide about finding accommodation in Lyon

5 Things to know before arriving in Lyon

Choosing where to live

The 8 places to live in Lyon

Estimate your budget

Costs to be taken into account during your move 

Estimation of rent in the most requested neighborhood

Finding housing

Websites for finding permanent accommodation 

Websites for finding temporary accommodation

Finding a guarantor

Put together a complete application

The 5 rules to follow

The list of documents that absolutely need to be provided

Finding financial aid  

The 3 measures to know about for the security deposit

ZOOM: Mobili-Pass aid for employees

5 Things to know before arriving in Lyon

1. Be patient in regards to French administrative procedures; finding accommodation takes time.

2. Finding accommodation without a French guarantor is possible but difficult.

3. The cost of living is relatively expensive; plan your budget accordingly.

4. Anticipate your research and prepare your paperwork.

5. But you will love the food, the quality of health care, the culture, and the quality of life.

Need to move to Lyon? We’ll provide the resources and the services you need to make your life just a little bit easier. As expats ourselves, we understand what you need. Discover what we do or get in touch with us to jump start your move abroad!

Choosing where to live

Do you want to know about the atmosphere of your future neighborhood before starting your search for accommodation? Focus on the best places to live in Lyon. The location depends largely on the type of neighborhood that you like and your budget. 

The 8 places to live in Lyon

1.  Les Pentes (1st arrondissement)

Metro stop: Hôtel de ville – Croix paquet

+ Trendy and charming neighborhood, numerous cafes and designer boutiques

- Difficult to park, not a lot of light in the apartments 

2. La Guillotière (7th arrondissement)

Metro stop: Guillotère – Saxe Gambetta

+ Very lively, cool central neighborhood

- Some places are not recommended and some places are noisy

3. La Presque-île (2nd arrondissement)

Métro stop: Ampère

+ Very chic, bustling central neighborhood, numerous bars and restaurants

- Price of apartments

4. Le Vieux Lyon (5th arrondissement)

Métro stop: Vieux Lyon

+ Charming pedestrian streets, historic district. Few convenience stores and local shops 

- Lots of tourists in the Saint Jean area, difficult to park

5. Les Brotteaux (6th arrondissement)

Metro stop: Foch – Massena - Brotteaux

+ Many bars and restaurants, near Parc de la Tête d'Or, chic neighborhood

- Price of apartments

6. La confluence (2nd arrondissement)

Tram stop: Musée des Confluences

+ Many shops, ultra-modern district, museum 

- Not very accessible by public transportation, quite touristy 

7. La Croix-Rousse (4th arrondissement)

Metro stop: Croix-Rousse

+ A real community feel, atypical apartments

- Difficult to park and hilly neighborhood, need to be dependant on public transportation

8. Montchat (3rd arrondissement)

Tram stop: Dauphiné - Lacassagne

+ Possibility of having a yard/garden, calm neighborhood, village atmosphere

- Not well connected to the public transportation network  

Estimate your budget

TIPS: Whether it’s a study abroad period or an expatriation, an international stay requires preparation and it is important to anticipate all of your expenses. In Lyon, traveling by public transportation is relatively expensive since a full price single trip ticket costs 1.90 €.

While you’re settling in, you will have significant amounts of money to pay upfront, so you’ll have to make sure you have enough. To avoid unpleasant surprises, here are the details of the fees to know before arriving.

Costs to be taken into account during your move

Estimation of rent (based on the month of May 2019) in the most requested neighborhood

Finding housing

TIPS: Be careful, do not rely on photos, you should go see the apartment in person or ask someone else to go check it out for you. Never send money to reserve an accommodation; sometimes there are scams on the Internet.

In France, renting an accommodation without a French guarantor (person who cosigns your rental agreement and pledges to pay the rent on your behalf if you can no longer pay it) is complicated. It is easier to rent a furnished accommodation and to deal with private landlords.

Websites for finding permanent accommodation 

1. Private Rentals by Individuals



2. Shared apartment




3. Real Estate Agencies




4. Relocation Agencies


Unless you have friends or family in Lyon, it may be necessary to first stay in temporary accommodations reserved before your arrival.

Websites for finding temporary accommodation

1. Airbnb


2. Hostel

Le Flaneur Guesthouse



3. Homestay


4. Furnished rental sites



Finding a guarantor

A guarantor is a third party, such as a parent or close relative. He will be the one to pay the rent on your behalf if you can no longer pay it.

1. The traditional guarantor also called "caution d’un tiers"

The first option is to have a “traditional” guarantor which in the case of renting an apartment in France is a French guarantor. A guarantor allows you to pay your apartment monthly with just one month deposit.

If you don’t have a guarantor you will have to pay your rents in advance in most cases, sometimes 3 to 6 months’ rents in advance, every 6 months and in other cases the whole stay!

2. Garantme

The second option is to have a "private" guarantor. Garantme is a solution that replaces traditional guarantor. They help you find an apartment as your guarantor in France. Their role is to reassure landlords about your profile and your ability to pay your rent every month.

How does it work?

To be eligible, you need to have enough revenues or financial resources to pay your rent or find a sponsor who has enough revenues or financial resources. Resources can come from abroad and they can be savings. You pay 3.5% of your rent for the rental period as the Garantme fee. Garantme helps you with a network of partners.

Ex : for a rent of 500 € and a term lease of 12 months The annual price is 500 * 12* 3,5%= 210 € (17,5€ per month)

More information available on https://www.garantme.fr/

Put together a complete application 

TIPS: Remember to translate the guarantor’s documents in French and prepare a complete application in both digital and paper format before making the visits. The competition is tough and sometimes for the same listing, 10 or even 20 applications are submitted. Anticipate as much as possible! 

It is imperative to take care with your rental application to reassure the landlord about your seriousness and to put the odds in your favor in order to find accommodation more quickly.

Your attitude, your appearance, the form and content of your application are all elements that you need to pay attention to.

The 5 rules to follow

1. Put together your application with all of the supporting documents (see list below).

2. In the application, include the originals of your documents as much as possible.

3. Consider the form of your application, which should attract the reader’s eye – opt for the PDF format.

4. Write an introductory letter or email for each accommodation you apply for; it will appear as the first page of your application (refer to the example in the bonus section).

5. The same as if you were going to a job interview, be mindful of your appearance.

The supporting documents should be included in your application to increase your chances of finding accommodation.

The list of documents that absolutely need to be provided!

1. Proof of identity (passport, ID card, residence permit)

2. Proof of status (student ID, employment contract, internship contract)

3. Proof of residency (rent receipt, proof of accommodation in your home country)

4. Proof of financial means (recent paystubs, income tax return)

5. Proof of financial means of your guarantor (tax assessment, recent paystubs)

6. Estimation of housing benefits (rent assistance program “CAF”) (see below)

7. An introductory letter (see bonus section)

Finding financial aid

TIPS: Remember to translate the guarantor’s documents into French or English if they are not in one of the following languages: French, English, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian or Japanese.

There are also solutions for foreigners who do not have French guarantors. Here are the existing measures and programs that assist with the security deposit.

The 4 measures to know about for the security deposit!

1. The Visale guarantee


- Accommodation in the private sector

- Young people under 30 years old or people over 30 years old who have been employed for less than 6 months

- You must have sufficient financial means

- You must have a valid visa or residence permit

- The landlord must accept Visale as a guarantee

- Guarantee limited to the first 3 years of the rental agreement


You must apply for the measure before signing the lease.

More information available on www.visale.fr

2. The Loca-pass guarantee


- Accommodation belonging to a legal entity (social services, federal housing programs, non-profit organizations...)

- Young people under 30 years old in professional training, looking for work, or employed; students with a fixed-term work contract, on scholarship, or with an internship of at least 3 months; and salaried employees in the private sector (non-agricultural)


Make the request no later than 2 months after moving into your accommodation.

More information available on www.actionlogement.fr

3. The CLE deposit

Conditions ?

- students under 28 years old or for foreign nationals over 28 enrolled in a doctoral programme.

- can pay 1.5% of the amount of rent

- maximum amount of rent for one person: 500€


As soon as you have proof of school registration or an internship contract.

More information available on www.messervices.etudiant.gouv.fr

4. Bank Guarantee (caution bancaire)

The bank undertakes to pay any outstanding rent. In exchange, the tenant pays a sum of money into a frozen bank account. Administrative fees vary between 20 and 100 euros, and the service costs around 2% of the annual rent.

ZOOM: Mobili-Pass aid for employees

MOBILI-PASS® aid, mobility assistance is available for employees of companies with 10 or more employees needing to move more than 70 km.

It is available once every 24 months.

Employees may be eligible for the MOBILI-PASS®, a housing support program funded by companies who pay into the 1% housing contribution scheme. 

If you are being transferred or recruited, you might be entitled to Mobili-Pass® aid, there will be no cost nor for you, nor for your company.

Do not hesitate to contact our Partner, Lyon Expat Agency to check if you or your partner (wife/husband) is entitled to this Mobili pass aid. contact@lyon-expat.com

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