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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

My husband is applying for the C&T visa next month. Assuming he gets approved, we need to start deciding where we want to live. He has work in both Toulouse and Nice, however we don't have that much knowledge on the pluses and minuses of living in each.

In Toulouse, the only areas we know are the Capitole, Place Wilson and Esquirol. Unfortunately, we can't afford an apartment in those areas, so we're wondering if there are any nice but more affordable parts of the city.

In Nice, we've stayed near Notre Dame in the city centre and have spent some time in Les Musiciens, Gambetta, the port area and vieux Nice. I know there are some cheaper areas in the north, but I'm wondering if they're nice or perhaps a bit sketchy.

Our goal (and we may have to revise this depending on how realistic it is) is to find a studio for around 600euro (or cheaper.)

Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated! Cheers everyone! :)
 

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Hi Audrey,

Firstly, having frequented both cities, I'd have to ask what type of lifestyle/getaway you're after? Toulouse and Nice are very very different.

Lloyd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Lloyd,

Thank you so much for responding! To be honest, I'm not completely sure what we're looking for. I won't be working-just looking to study french (formally and informally.) I'm pretty flexible as far as what kind of vibe we're looking for. In the past I've lived in London and New York so I'm pretty much up for anything (but completely relieved that both Toulouse and Nice are considerably smaller.)

I know Nice is more touristy, but I'm having a hard time ascertaining if it is more expensive or cheaper than Toulouse. I think my biggest obstacle is that I didn't do enough exploring beyond the city centres of each so I don't have a good idea what the pace of normal life is in these cities or what the outer neighborhoods look like.
 
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Accommodation in Toulouse is fairly easy to find, although very expensive as you say in the city centre.

It is more reasonable obviously the further out you go and public transport is quite good and affordable (bus, train, metro, tram).

If you intend to get a car, you could live in the suburbs and drive in and out every day.

So it all depends on where your workplace is, whether you want an appartment or a house, the size, your budget, whether you will have a car or not.

You could take a look at seloger.com for Toulouse for an idea of what is available and prices. You might want to check for A/C as it can get very hot in the summer. Toulouse is in a dip so the heat tends to build up.

There is plenty to do in and around Toulouse and facilities for studying French as there is a very big student population. A fairly big population of British, German and American workers involved in the aviation/space industry too.

The Pyrenees are just an hour and a half away, same goes for the sea (Med).

Let me know if you need information about the different areas of Toulouse once you have a clearer idea of what you are looking for.

Good luck!
 

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I live in the Saint Cyprien neighborhood of Toulouse, which is very nice and very close to Esquirol (just across the Pont Neuf). It's also getting expensive though. Minimes is also on the metro and slightly more affordable, I would say. I'm not sure what you're comparing to, but I guess I've never lived anywhere with affordable rents (I moved here from Manhattan) and I find Toulouse to be quite reasonable. When we first moved here we saw nice places near Carmes, Marengo, etc. When you look at the map of the metro, you just don't want to go further out than Arenes on the line A - that's when you get into the Mirail, which is considered the dangerous neighborhood of Toulouse. Heading in the other directions I think everywhere is fine. I think 600 euros for a studio is reasonable. I rented a 2 br for 750 not that long ago and it wasn't considered very inexpensive.

I have only visited Nice so I can't really compare in terms of what it's like to live there. People from Toulouse like to say how everything is close - you're close but not that close. The beach is over an hour away, the mountains are over an hour away. Spain is a few hours away. We're not very well connected by train - I think the TGV is coming in 2018. But the airport is expanding and now you can fly to European cities more easily.

I've never had air conditioning - it gets hot in the summer but not very humid so I find it easy to tolerate. It's usually hot in the sun and cool in the shade. I think Nice gets more humid.

There are a lot of English-speaking groups in Toulouse which is nice. There are also a lot of Germans and Spanish people. There's a lot of local pride which seems to be centered largely around rugby and duck. If you speak Parisian French here people will tell you that you have an accent.

Anyway, let me know if I can help you with anything related to Toulouse.

Debra
 

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I live in Nice, and from what I've heard, the rent prices are slowly going down. I live in a one-bedroom apartment and I'm paying 700€ with utilities, except power (I'm paying around 70€ every two months), and I live 10 minutes away by foot from the old town.

It does get hot in the summer, and air conditioning is a plus, because as qiubuo said, it get pretty humid in the summer. AC helps drying up the air.

Good thing is, Nice being very touristy, there are plenty of English-speaking people here. Monaco is nearby, the mountains are an hour away, and we have the sea :) Italy is 45 minutes away by train. From what I see in Debra's reply, Toulouse and Nice are not THAT different in the end!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all so much for your replies. I am sorry I am so late in updating this thread. We have decided to move to Nice. It was really a hard choice for us, but in the end Nice had 2 advantages for us. The major one was the international airport. My husband works 4 months a year in the US and he felt like he would be happier without having to add another connecting flight. The second factor was that we have more friends in Nice and more people who are willing to help us navigate the bureaucracy there.

I am a bit sad about Toulouse. I really like the vibe there and especially the local cuisine. (I can't get enough duck, foie gras and cassoulet!) I also liked that it wasn't nearly as touristy.

I'm truly astonished at how reasonable apartment prices are in Nice. We're looking in the 800EUR and under range (wish it could be higher, but we also have to keep a place in the US so double bills plague us.) I don't know if we should rule out somewhere that doesn't have a/c or not. I never had a/c in New York (which can reach the high 90s in the summer.) My main requirements are that it has a washing machine (or a least a connection to add one) and the ability (space) to have both an oven and a 4 burner range top.
 

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Well, I can tell you that my husband's grandparents live in Nice and they just decided to get air conditioning last year because the summer was getting too hot for them - but they are in their late 80s. I think it depends on whether you will be there in July and August or not. It also depends on the construction - after living in New York I was pleasantly surprised by the insulation in French buildings. When we first moved here we lived in a "briques et galets" old house and it was always cool. Then we moved to a house built in 2000 but it's made of thick concrete and it is really never hot inside. I'm a bit annoyed by the way French people in the south close all the shutters and windows in the middle of the day in the summer - it can be quite annoying to sit inside in the dark. At any rate, if you survived New York without AC you can survive Nice too. And you can always add a small AC unit if necessary - they are becoming more popular in Toulouse. But I think if you're willing to keep your shutters closed in the summer you won't need AC.
 

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I lived in New York for half a year and the heat is not as bad as Nice. While it's not too common for the temperatures to break the 100-deg barrier, there's no comparison. I heard so many people complaining how New York is humid (perhaps more than Nice on paper) but Nice has this humid, salty heat that can get really unbearable at times. A friend who lived in NJ for most of his live agreed too, Nice can get awfully hot.
 
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