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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, my name is Angela and this is my first post.

My husband's just been offered a nice job in Paris, and we want to live in Versailles. He'll be moving after Christmas and I'll be joining him in March. We have a dog - an gentle and friendly older spaniel. I have a few questions and I was really hoping somebody may be able to advise.

1 - will be be able to rent with a dog?
2 - roughly how much would it cost to rent a large two/three bedroomed house with a garden (we have a budget of around 2,000-2,500 euros in mind, would that be enough?
3 - I couldn't live anywhere too crowded, but am I hoping for too much to want somewhere fairly rural with easy access to transport that takes me to Paris. Can you recommend somewhere suitable?
4 - I don't speak French yet and wondered how hard it will be while I'm learning. Are here are English speaking doctors, dentists and vets - that's just to get my head around what is ahead.

I would be immensely grateful for some advice from those that know. I'm excited, but so anxious about the move, and don't know anybody who lives in France.

Angie x
 

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Hi, and welcome to the forum! Let's take your questions one by one:

1 - will be be able to rent with a dog?
Generally shouldn't be a problem. Though most folks say not to mention the dog until you've gotten the ok to rent.
2 - roughly how much would it cost to rent a large two/three bedroomed house with a garden (we have a budget of around 2,000-2,500 euros in mind, would that be enough?
What do you consider "large"? There are websites you can start looking on to see what's available in the various areas. But they are pretty much all in French. (Main thing to know is that "louer" means rent, "maison" means house. Sometimes you'll find the word "location" used which actually refers to a rental property and not where it's located. Try Century 21, PAP (Particulier à Particulier - an agent-free site), seloger and FUSAC (which is an English language want-ad publication - with much more than rental ads)
3 - I couldn't live anywhere too crowded, but am I hoping for too much to want somewhere fairly rural with easy access to transport that takes me to Paris. Can you recommend somewhere suitable?
You're talking about the area west of Paris, which is pretty built up and tends to be a bit pricey. For "fairly rural" you may want to consider more south or maybe even east or south-east of Paris, though you tend to give up the "easy" access to transport.
4 - I don't speak French yet and wondered how hard it will be while I'm learning. Are here are English speaking doctors, dentists and vets - that's just to get my head around what is ahead.
Within Paris, you can often get away with little or no French - for a while - but do concentrate on learning the language at first. Outside Paris, English speaking professionals of all sorts become less common (or at least they are less likely to admit to speaking English). Most doctors, etc. will attempt to communicate however they can (including pantomime) if you show them you're trying to use your French, however badly you speak it.

The US Consulate in Paris publishes a number of lists of English speaking professionals (including Private Eyes, which I've always found interesting) in their "resources" section: Resources for US Citizens | Embassy of the United States Paris, France (I think the private investigators are included at the end of the attorneys listing....)

There are also the two "anglophone" hospitals in Paris you can use until you get your confidence in French: The American Hospital in Paris (actually in Neuilly) or Hertford British Hospital (in Levallois-Perret).

There are a number of anglophone expat groups in Paris where you can make friends - check out WICE and of course there are always the various AVF groups. AVF is an organization for newcomers to a town or area. Many of the AVFs in the Paris area have activities for newly arrived foreigners in both French and English.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Bev. I've heard that about dogs too - keeping quiet until you get your place - but what if the landlord finds out when you've got the place? Won't he/she be able to evict you? Or do most landlords live away from their houses? I have no ethical problem lying to get good accommodation.

Sorry, by large accommodation, I mean that we could have visitors and we wouldn't feel too cramped. Unfortunately I'm spoilt for space where we live now in Wales with a large Victorian property, so I've measured my expectations.

Best wishes
Ange
 

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My understanding is that a landlord can't evict you for having a dog (or cat). What they can do, however, is to "choose another tenant" if they know up front that you have a pet. There is generally a shortage of decent rental property here in France, so the landlord usually has some choice in which one of the potential tenants he takes on.

OK, as far as the size of accommodations here, you need to think in terms of how many square meters. Houses can range from amazingly tiny (like 25 or 30 m2) to rather spacious - sometimes 200 m2 or more. Then there are, of course the chateaux. The size of the house may or may not relate to the number of bedrooms - and bedrooms in France tend to be kind of small. Just big enough for the bed and a nightstand, plus a small cupboard or dresser for keeping your clothes in.

If it's just the two of you, I'd start with looking for something around 100 m2 and see how the size strikes you. Then you can move up or down the scale from there.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh Bev, that's so helpful, thank you!

On another issue, are dogs allowed on the Metro if you can't put them into a carrier? I've heard conflicting answers to that. He won't fit into a bag as he's a cocker spaniel, but he's a good little chap.

Thanks again x
 

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Just checked the RATP site (RATP is the regional transport authority for the Paris area) and according to what's posted there, animals aren't allowed on the métro except for the following:

Small animals carried in a bag or basket, on condition that they can't "dirty" nor bother the other passengers. The maximum dimension for the carrier is 45 cm.

There are two exceptions for guide dogs and guide dogs in training. And then they say that dogs are allowed on the RER (the suburban lines) if on a leash and muzzled.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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We also have a dog who's too large to fit in a carrier. Larger dogs aren't technically allowed on the metro, but they are on the RER. You are supposed to buy a reduced tarif ticket for them (like the child's ticket), it's about half price. We never put the muzzle on our dog, because she hates it, unless an officer asks (only happened once). I have seen dogs on the metro though... I think if it's not rush hour, you can probably get away with it most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks both, and Erin that's at least something. Nobody would take a dog on the Tube in London either, so I know that makes sense. If I lived in Versailles would I be able to walk my dog off leash anywhere? I guess what I'm asking is.. can you think a couple of nice neighbourhoods, within a 30-40 minute commute, where that would be possible - I'm thinking woodlands or countryside. I wouldn't want to keep him on his lead for all his walks as he's used to running free. I may be asking a stupid question but please forgive me if I am, I just want to know there are some options to keep this bit of my life the way it is.
 

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I can't speak about Versailles... but I'm living in Bures-sur-Yvette, which sounds a lot like what you want. It's 40 minutes into Paris on the RER B, and our house is about a 5 minute walk away from the station. We're also about a 5 minute walk away from the woods, and we go for nice, long, off-leash walks every weekend (and during the week in the summer, but now it's dark so early!). It's a really lovely place that might be worth checking out (also in the area... Gif sur Yvette, Orsay, etc..). We have a place much smaller than yours, so I don't know how much the larger places cost. It's a bit more to the south, as Bev suggested before. There is a lot of nice countryside out here, but not all the towns are well connected to transport.
 

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I see dogs, large and small, in the metro all the time. They're probably not supposed to be there, but I've never seen anyone get in trouble for it. That said, I always think "poor dog." They rarely seem happy with the loud, screechy wheels and the huge crowds of people during rush hour. I wouldn't attempt it without a very well behaved dog.
 

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Taking your dog out "off leash" is always something of a challenge. Technically, dogs are supposed to be on a leash - but if they are effectively in voice control of their owner in the countryside, you shouldn't get any hassle.

One issue is that, on the country paths you get quite a few horses (and in our case, donkeys) out on the weekends. There is also the ever-present moto and "quad" traffic at the weekends. As long as your dog can be trusted not to freak out or get aggressive toward other hikers, other species or those blasted mechanical annoyances, you can let him off leash out in the woods or other parklands.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hi Angela,

I just wanted to say hello and that I am also moving to Versailles in early 2014 with my husband and dog (and baby) - I'd love to meet up with another expat English speaker!

Kimmy
 

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Hi Kimmy and Angela,
I'm French but I just moved to Versailles after a 6-year expat abroad. Have you arrived here yet?
Angela, I live next to one of the smaller entrances to the Versailles gardens, I see a lot of dogs there as it's a more "countryside" style part of the gardens.
Kimmy I also have a 14-months old baby and I'm about to start looking for English-speaking kindergartens or nannies, so if you have questions I can let you know how it goes for us.
Cheers!
Mathilde
 
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