Anyone looking to rent an apartment in or near Annemasse France should read here first.
Apartment hunting in France mostly consists of going through an agency, which will charge you to use their database. When my wife and I looked for our apartment in Strasbourg in the summer of 2001, we paid a flat fee of around $150 to two agencies. Once you pay the fee then you will be given a list of apartment based on the criteria you demand, number of rooms, price, etc. In Paris most agencies only have listing within a certain arrondissement (district), there are 20 arrondissements in Paris. So when looking for an apartment in Paris make sure to chouse an arrondissement before looking for an apartment.
Getting it rented to you
Once you find an apartment you like you will be asked to fill out an application. This is where it can become difficult, as most landlords in France demand proof of income before they will rent to someone. For my wife and me this was a problem, as nether of us had worked in France before so it was impossible of us to satisfy this requirement. Having money in the bank means nothing! Most landlords will also demand a co-signer, someone that will be legally obligated to pay your rent if you can't. The main reason for this is the fact that in France once someone rents an apartment it is almost impossible to evict them. From November 1st to March 15th it is not possible to legally evict a person under any circumstances in France. Apartment paperwork list.
Once you do find an apartment and rent it, be prepared to find little in the apartment itself. Most apartments come with little more than a sink in the kitchen, a toilet in the bathroom and few if any light fixtures. Culture note here, just about all French apartments and homes have the toilet in one room and the bath/shower in another. It is considered pretentious in France to select the decor of an apartment other then the wallpaper or paint color.
Before renting a property in France, please make sure you understand what your legal responsibilities are. If not it could cost you a lot of money. Make sure you understand what an Etat des Lieux is.
In France the rental agreement is called the Bail.