Readers’ tips: Which website is the best for property hunting in France?

Each week The Local asks its readers to share their tips about various aspects of living in France. This week we asked their opinion on which website is the best for property hunting in France. Here's what they had to say.

Readers' tips: Which website is the best for property hunting in France?
Photo: AFP

Which website is the best for property hunting in France?

Our readers chose Le Bon Coin as the best website for property hunting in France.

What is Le Bon Coin?    

Le Bon Coin is France's most popular classified ads website so it came as something of a surprise to us that it was also our readers favourite property hunting website. 

It is a free website where people can place and read adverts for free and people use it to find anything from pets to lawnmowers to buttered toast and ski stations. 
Le Bon Coin was created in 2006.
Photo: AFP
Why is it so popular?
Readers said that the big benefit of using Le Bon Coin is that it “cuts out the middle man” meaning there are no agency fees and often no need to jump through the hoops necessary with the big property sites.
“We went through the agency route and it was massively complicated – they also charge a huge sum and need an exhaustive 'dossier',” said Christos Tiger from the Bordeaux Expats blog.
“Le Bon Coin was quick and simple – the owners posted photos on the site and we went to visit. We waited a few weeks and they lowered the price! We've been there now for three years.”
Another reader said that it was an “interesting site” for property hunting that was “a lot less hassle to deal with than others out there”. 
Were any other sites recommended?
Other readers mentioned that for Anglophones Leggett Immobilier was a good option with its English listings and English-speaking agents.  
Some also recommended Immonot a notaires (solicitors) listings site which, like Le Bon Coin, means there's no need to pay agency fees as there is with the more traditional property sites. 
One of our readers, Lina Agabani Puch advised that instead of sticking on site people should shop around. 
“I found my studio on but I wouldn’t say it’s the best website,” she said. “The trick is to try a bunch of sites, go on as many apartment visits as possible to increase your chances, prepare a good dossier, and then be annoyingly persistent once you’ve found “The One”.
If you would like to ask The Local's readers a question to hear their tips on life in France, email us at [email protected].
Readers' tips: Which bank offers the best account for foreigners in France?

Member comments

  1. Many people around here are using iVendre to produce webpages of their properties for sale. They then use the links to their webpages in various places, e.g. Leboncoin as well as on posters. IVendre also show the properties on their website Been very successful in getting houses sold

  2. Surprised at no mention of the excellent web site (pap = particulier à particulier, so absolutely no middleman there, just individuals dealing with other individuals). pap will also do evaluations of your property,and carry out the now-obligatory environment audit on your property (for a reasonable fee). They are extremely trustworthy both for buying and selling property.

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Readers reveal the worst places in France for pickpockets… and tips to avoid them

If you're someone who has had their holiday to France ruined by a pickpocket, then you're certainly not alone. And it isn't only in the French capital that you have to watch out.

Readers reveal the worst places in France for pickpockets... and tips to avoid them
One reader said that people should watch out for pickpockets at Lyon train station (pictured above). Photo: AFP
A recent report revealed that 2019 has seen a surge of cases of pickpocketing on the Paris metro. But the French capital isn't the only place in France where you need to watch out for petty crime. 
We asked our readers who know France well to tell us where else in the country you need to be that extra bit cautious about your handbag, wallet or phone and for any advice on keeping possessions safe.  
Unsurprisingly many of the places mentioned by readers were in cities with high levels of tourism. 
One of the places that came up again and again was the eastern French city of Strasbourg, with readers noting that thieves tend to operate around the train station, old town and the very popular Christmas markets. 

Photo: AFP

“I was targeted by pickpockets in Strasbourg walking near the old town. Two women – a 40-year-old woman with a 20-year-old girl — walked very close behind me, as I was walking very fast, and tried opening a small shoulder bag,” said Greg Moore from the US. 
Another reader said that they “watched a group of girls working the crowd at the Christmas markets.”
The beautiful southern French city of Nice was also highlighted by several readers as a place where it is wise to keep a close eye on your belongings. 
One reader noted that there are “pickpockets in abundance” and that the city in general “is horrible for pickpocketing”. 
“My credit and debit cards were stolen and used when we visited there a few years ago,” they said. 
Lyon, the capital city in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, is very popular with tourists who are drawn to the city for its architecture, culture – and of course the world famous cuisine. 
But while it's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security by beautiful surroundings, Lyon was also highlighted by readers as a place to be cautious. 
Linda Martz, who has lived in the city for three years, told us that a pickpocket stole her wallet while she boarded a train. 
And another reader Sandra Beard told us that drivers should be particularly careful due to “scam artists” targeting people with cars.      
There are “scam artists who “help” you at parking ticket machines while they palm (and take) your credit card (and tells you the machine took your card),” she said.
“They have your PIN after looking over your shoulder,” she said, adding that when this happened to her the man “withdrew €5,000 from three banks before we froze our account (within 10 mins).”
Photo: AFP
It might not be so surprising that the resort town of Cannes on the French Riviera, which has a reputation as a bit of a playground for the rich, was also on readers' lists, with one saying that his brother was pickpocketed as he stepped onto a train at Cannes train station. 
Meanwhile reader Leslie White, who lives in Paris, said she and her husband were “hit with the 'bird poop scam'” while strolling in the grounds of the Domaine de Chantilly in northern France. 
“A plop of green goop landed on my head. A helpful couple walking behind us helped to clean us off with disposable wipes. My husband somehow had some on him too. They also cleaned out his wallet and of course it was they who had thrown the 'poop' at me in the first place. We didn’t figure it out until the next day,” she said. 
Other readers mentioned Tours train station and tram stop, the market in Arles – where reader Sue Byford said her gold necklace was snatched from her neck – and Disneyland, where one person told us they had their new phone stolen, as specific places where pickpockets operate.  
Police around France are aware of the high levels of pickpocketing in certain cities and have offered advice on how to avoid becoming a target, including avoiding the “temptation to make valuables, such as expensive handbags and jewellery, too visible or easy to take”. 
They have also advised caution when sitting on the terrasse of a bar or café. 
It's important to be “very vigilant, do not leave a wallet or phone on a table, in front of everyone” or leave your valuables in your jacket if you leave it slung over a chair,” the Rouen police previously told the French press. 
Our readers also had some suggestions of their own, including using zip ties on bags and neck pouches for credit cards and your phone. 
One reader said they take the extra precaution of putting mini-locks on all the zippers on their backpack. 
Two readers pointed out that unfortunately it is “necessary to be wary of friendly people”.
“Any distraction is an opportunity,” said one.