Paris Ultimate Au Pair Blog

Live In or Out?

Here’s the big question – do you want to live with the family?

While traditionally au pairs have their own room in the family’s house, there are many families in Paris who rent out small rooms or apartments for their au pair rather than having them live in the same apartment. These rooms can be “chambres de bonne” (old servants quartiers which have a shower and small hob in the same room as the bed), or slightly bigger apartments.

The bigger apartments are more recommended, but harder to come by. If you need help deciding, you can always ask for live in or live out au pair advice from others in forums or on Facebook. Rather than debating all the pros and cons, here’s a few things to think about:

  • How big is the living space provided?
  • Are you able to have some space from the family on your days off?
  • Do you have separate access to your accommodation? (i.e. your own entrance for when you come home from a night out)
  • Is there enough privacy?
  • Does living alone bother you?
  • Are you a big ‘family person’?


Once you have made your decision

When you think you have decided on a family (and whether to live in or out), make sure to ask for pictures of the accommodation or, even better, for a little tour on skype. Additionally, it is a good idea to know exactly what is expected of you in terms of caring for the accommodation – cleaning, keys, coming home late. When the decision is made, you should also find out if you will need to bring your own plates, cups etc. Normally, all furniture, bedding and towels should be provided for you and if they do not offer this then maybe you should think twice about accepting the position.

Why not take a look at some of out other practical advice posts for more info!

Paris Ultimate Au Pair Blog

– Photo by JKleeman (Flickr)


  • Maggie

    Some other important points. Living in means you a) don’t have to pay for your own food and b) get far more exposure to the French language, which is a lot of people’s goal for coming here. Furthermore I know an au pair whose landlord forbids all visitors and policed her every move- which goes to show that you then have to worry about another relationship while living abroad that could make/break your experience. I definitely wish I was live out sometimes in terms of privacy and true time off, but looking at some of these things reminds me that there are lots of factors on both sides that are important to consider.

    • Editor

      You’re right, those are interesting points! I loved living out when I was an au pair because my host family gave me money for food and I got to live with another au pair girl..but at the same time, I know au pairs who felt isolated living alone and didn’t have enough space in their chambre de bonne.

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