The Practical Things for TAPIF: Housing Guide

I hardly know what all those abbreviations for housing mean in English. So in French? As a French person may say while puffing their cheeks, “pffffff”. I thought I’d share my research on French housing terminology in case future or current assistants find it useful.

Rooms, pièces, can be any room but those with water (the bathroom and kitchen). A 2-bedroom apartment with a kitchen, living room, dining room, and one bathroom would be 4 pièces (T4 or F4).


ALF- Ok, so this one doesn’t really apply to most assistants. It’s the allocation given by *CAF (see def) to families or individuals with dependants.

APL- An allocation from *CAF given to people living in government housing (so, the French version of low-income housing, so maybe useful for we assistants).

ALS-  The allocation from *CAF (see def) for people making under a certain amount of money (that’s us!).

amménagé- equipped

bail- Lease (agreement)

bis- Signifies a distinct separation of a room into two parts.

*CAF– Caisse d’allocations familiales- The magical French housing money fairy.

caution- security deposit, given back at the end if no damage done (like in the states)

charges (comprises)- utilities (included)

clic clac- sofa bed

coin douche- Bathroom consisting of a shower and sink

colocation- to live with roommates/ apartment mates

cuisine américaine- open kitchen with a bar separating it from the dining room

cuisine électrique- Kitchen with burners.

cuisine équipée- Kitchen with refrigerators and stovetop. Maybe an oven if you’re lucky.

cuisine non-équipée- This version of a kitchen basically just means there’s a sink.

douche à l’italienne- walk-in shower

dépôt de garantie- see “Caution”

honoraires- fees paid to an agency

locataire- renter

location- renting

loyer- rent (price)

meublé- furnished

particulier- a private individual

plaque- See “cuisine électrique”

propriétaire- Landlord

salle de bain- Full bathroom (meaning there’s a tub or shower)

taxe d’habitation- Housing tax expected to be paid at the end of the year. May be hefty, so talk to the landlord about it so you’re not in for a surprise.

T1- Type 1. Which means there is only one room (not including bathrooms). May also be written as *F1.

T2, T3- Types 2 and 3 where the numbers again represent the number of rooms (excluding the bathroom). May also be written as *F2, F3.

toilette sur le palier- Communal toilet on the same floor.

*NOTE: One does not receive CAF funds automatically! You have to apply for them. It takes a few months to start receiving this, BUT you are entitled to receive your allocation going back about 3 months from when you started to receive the allocation. I think… Also, this reimbursement must be requested. Did you really expect to get away from French bureaucracy?

*Is there a difference between a T and F? Scouring the wordreference forums, if there is, it’s minor. The T’s may be used for smaller living spaces and F’s for larger ones. Or not. Or maybe it’s regional. Or not. Qui sait?


American Assistant Handbook 2013-14 (Carolyn Collins)


About Quiche Lauren

A blog by an English teaching assistant in Nîmes (Académie de Montpellier) through the TAPIF program.
This entry was posted in Housing, Practical Things, TAPIF and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Practical Things for TAPIF: Housing Guide

  1. Merci for following 24/7 in France, author of “Solitary Desire-One Woman’s Journey to France” See video

  2. Pingback: TAPIF Housing | Unconventional (and totally normal) ways to find a place to live -

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