In order to “sustain” this blog and keep it up to date for future promotions, we’ve decided to turn this blog into a WIKI! That way students can keep the info up to date and others can contribute long after I’ve left INSEAD. Please go to the WIKI at: http://all-insead.wikispaces.com/, instead of continuing to read this blog, the wiki will be more up to date (and I’m going to delete this content in a few weeks). Thanks everyone!
Now for the blog …
I hope this write-up helps students looking for housing in Fontainebleau (in my ’11J class and potentially future students as well). This blog focuses primarily on large (8+) shared housing in Fontainebleau. If you’re not sure about what kind of housing you want, then you should read this blog post (INSEAD – the journey) which outlines the different types of housing and the questions you should ask yourself to help decide what is right for you.
Once you’ve decided that large shared housing is the right choice for you, you should read on :). I’ve organized this blog into the following sections
- What I was looking for
- My short-list based on houses I saw
- Houses that did not make my short list
- All the info on housing I have collected => This last section does NOT reflect MY OPINION (the previous ones did). It is consolidated from information I received from other students who have lived there or have heard about it. Negative comments may not reflect reality and you should investigate further to see if the houses meet your needs.
What I was looking for
- Big group house or chateau (although, I think this term is used quite liberally by INSEAD folks ;))
- Hosts weekly dinner parties
- Throws good/big parties
- Room is bright and gives me a good vibe the second I walk in (this is obviously the most subjective of all my criteria)
- Shower is big enough for me to extend my elbows and reach my back (seriously … this is a concern in some of the showers I saw :))
Houses that made my short-list
Net-Net: I did not find a single house that met EVERY one of my criteria :(. I have settled on Villa Foch because it was the nicest house (in terms of quality) of all the places I saw (also the most expensive). I’m going for Room #1 (so please dont try to take that one away from me :)). Villa Vivante seems like a fun place and I would take it as well (Villa Foch was nicer). The key problem with Tavers is that not all the rooms are good and its not possible to choose your room (until much later – see below). That’s the only reason I did not pursue it (but seems like the funnest party house … this was a tough one). I also would have been content with Club 16, Salamandre, Flaming Buddha. All good choices.
|House||Pros||Cons||Favorite Room #||Comment||Cost|
|Villa Foch||Great overall, Patio, Kitchen, Rooms esp.1st floor. Good for party. On direct bus line||No weekly dinners. 25 min walk||1 (Ground floor)||Smallest room, but enough; bath is small-ish, but acceptable||990|
|2 (ground floor)||BIG room, quite nice||1100|
|3 (1st floor)||big closet||1210|
|4 (1st floor)||Very bright||1250|
|5 (1st floor)||OK, with little balcony?||1110|
|Others||2nd floor: 7 with bedroom separate, only one small window, 10 is better than 7, lighter but office room is too small|
|Villa Vivante||Basement is remodeled and nicest area of home. Good party layout. Pics on site look slightly better than in real life (but still good rooms)||Weekly dinners not systematic. 30-40? min walk||Milano||Remodeled in basement, nice bathroom, spacious. Windows may not be enough; ppl hang out in basement could be noisy||1100|
|Livorno||Remodeled in basement, bth smaller than Milano but nice too. Windows may not be enough; ppl hang out in basement could be noisy||1010|
|Modena||Largest room, has sofa; non-en-suite bth, but biggest bth with huge tub||1150|
|Club 16||Lots of people. Good general condition. Very close to school. Rooms nice. Nice terrace||Layout doesn’t make it feel like a big house (disjointed)||11 (1st? floor)||Shared bth, but very bright; small-ish, but sufficient||960|
|13 (1st? floor)||Also nice||1030|
|2 (grnd floor)||Very large and nice, but next to TV room||1170|
|Tavers||Parties and weekly dinners. Kitchen nice. Great cleaning lady (folded laundry!!!)||Far from school (20-40 min drive). Suicide stairs in tower||1st floor right (but curtain instead of bathroom door)2nd floor right is OK. Middle rooms on 2nd floor are small?||Room choice not guaranteed. Some rooms are great, but others are not. Current students pick future tenants. Everyone pays the same rent. Room choice is given based on seniority (i.e. P3 vs. P1), then women get to choose, then its based on how early you put your deposit.||800|
|Flaming Buddha||Great location. Modern rooms||Rooms on smallish side||No more vacancy for Aug 2010|
|Puits Carree||Great bedrooms on 1st floor. Good party potential (not exploited for the moment) => large living room, kitchen, and decent sized grounds||2nd floor rooms not very good. No weekly dinners||The three on 1st floor, especially Bourgogne which is huge. Middle one is nice but toilet separate. One on the right is nice with full bathroom integrated. 2nd floor rooms are smaller, lack closet space and don’t have enough windows||I didn’t go for this one because while it has potential, I didn’t want to go through the effort of getting the right group of roommates together to make it work. If I already had a good group of people together, I’d have definitely considered this.|
Houses that did not make my short-list
- Nice house with lovely grounds. Very rustic charming old house.
- Weekly dinner tradition (large dining rooms and living rooms)
- Landlord lives on-site; very kind, sweet, old man
- Little pond with geese and ducks.
- Older house / rooms. Just didn’t like it too much.
- No BIG parties
- Lots of rooms. Rooms are HUGE (bigger than some apts I’ve lived in)
- Two campuses, one a little quieter and the other is more “party-ish”
- Lots of different ‘houses’ within Villecerf giving people options of having a smaller place with few people interaction on daily basis, with the option of strolling over and finding more people to socialize with (depending on your mood)
- Supposedly have the best/biggest parties in Fonty!
- Rooms felt a little heavy and dark (used to be granary or something like that before).
- Walking distance
- Some rooms were very nice, others were OK (definitely livable).
- Beautiful (but compact) living room
- Not really room for parties or big dinners
Veneux Les Sabons
- Bedrooms seemed large enough and spacious
- Just didn’t like this one. Quality of shared areas was lower compared to other places we’ve seen. Reminded me of some places I lived in during my undergraduate (when I had less money :()
- Caveat: I only viewed House 1 since House 2 was already fully booked. House 2 may be better quality (at least the pictures indicate so).
- Set of 6 apartments with 3-4 bedrooms each.
- Nice, clean apts with all amenities and basics you would need
- Quiet and private (only 2-3 other people living with you) – very apt style
- Definitely good option if that’s the lifestyle you prefer.
- Quiet and private :) (i.e. no common rooms with other apts or possibility of big parties)
All the info I have on various houses
This section does NOT REFELCT MY OPINION (please save your hate mail – or provide me links with positive comments and I will include those links in the write-up below as well). I have not visited ALL the houses listed below (see previous sections for that information). So almost all the comments below are from other students who have lived/visited these houses – I have merely consolidated my research below. Since each person has different tastes, I highly recommend you take this info with a grain of salt and do your own research if you are interested in some of the houses that may have received some negative comments.
|House||Cost||Landlord Contact||Notes (comments from current/past students … anonymized -> not MY opinions)||Address||# bed rooms||Distance||Social|
|950 to 1150 all incl.||http://www.spl-location.com/contact/
|some rooms share bathroom with one more,Everything was ready the minute I stepped in the house. You can’t organize heavy parties because of its location in the heart of fontainebleau and police will come if you make lot of noise but we used to organize many dinners and barbecues. club 16 does not have as nice outdoor areas as other places outside fontainebleau. I lived in rooms 8 and 2. 8 is amazing b/c it is located on 2nd floor and at the other end of the house, so far from noise. 2 is bigger than 8 but the bathroom was outside the room which was a bit annoying. try to avoid the ones close to the st because the garbage truck is noisy in early mornings. landlord is very sweet and flexible. She was the one to find me someone to sublet my room to. pick rooms in the 3rd block which is far away from the party place||14 rue Ferrare 77300 FONTAINEBLEAU||16 bd||10 min walk; 800 metres walk from Insead , and very close to the city center|
|1000 – 1200 all incl.||same as for Club 16||We have an awesome TV room which we use as a chill room, gym, movie-night room, and party room.On the social side, we’ve had some great parties at the house (first INSEAD party for 10J, with 200+ ppl). The house’s relatively small size (8 ppl) combined with the common dining room make it a great place for dinner parties as well.As for the room, I particularly like mine (Jasmin) because it’s quiet (the only one on the ground floor) and it has its own private entrance. The rooms upstairs are larger and quite nice as well. The only one I’d avoid is the one on the main floor by the entrance. It doesn’t have its own bathroom and it’s right by the entrance/kitchen/living room, so it suffers from quite a bit of noise.Rent is a bit on the high end, but totally worth it (and it includes all expenses, which turns out to be very good since you won’t have too much time to deal with all the utilities, etc.) roommates—depends on your luck. Parties/social: nice big 8-ppl table, big kitchen, can host dinners. For parties there is a big, nice yard and a TV room in the basement—perfect for dancing and music. Proximity to campus, very warm in cold weather, all expenses included (also cleaning lady every week), and the best landlord to deal ever—makes things very easy to deal with if needed.I would definitely recommend it, especially the upper floors. Bambou = has bathroom inside, large enough for my needs. The walls are not sound proof; , the wireless does not work on the upper floors (but cable works);||20 rue carnot 77300 FONTAINEBLEAU||8 bd||8 min walk; 600 metres walk from Insead, and it is at 400 metres from the city center|
|1000 – 1200 all incl(50 EUR per mon. discount for upfront payment)||firstname.lastname@example.org||5 min drive; rent is avg and includes everything, lots of parties – the house has a tradition for throwing some wicked parties; i love the place – it close to school, rooms are big, bathroom are nice, lots of living space; the walls are very thick stone and it can be a very quiet house to work in. Contact tenant in current room and arrange to see the room with him/her||9 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt, AVON 77210. The little private road at the side of the house is called impasse st Marie||11 bd; 3 floors (have been reserved are Roma, Volluto & Livanto )||5 min drive; 40 min walk||Dinners and large parties – corroborated by landlord|
|Villecerf http://ilovehouse.free.fr/||700 – 950; if you rent for 11 months we decrease the price on last month, totally 5 email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
+33 (0) 607 261 045
Contact Michel (the guardian) for a tour +33 6 24 26 82 05)
|contact in email; 25 min drive;Social : the best place to be. Dinners: Weekly dinner where we invite random INSEADeres, best way to know people you just cross at the campus);Dinner competitions with other chateaux. And we organize the BIGGEST parties at Fonty (300 ppl in January, next one in P2). Normally you can just pop by or call Michel (the guardian) for a tour.his number is +33 6 24 26 82 05*rated super-expensive and not great value. Landlord asks one student to get the entire group together (that student gets 10% discount on rent)||GPS: N 48.32213, E 2.86031||20 bd; 7 houses across two compounds;Mini campus (10 students) is available in Aug||20 min Drive||Biggest parties; weekly dinners – corroborated by landlord|
|Vivier||400 to 500 plus util This year was crazy cold so we ended up paying about an extra 100 per month.||Monsieur Jean Dupeu
+33 (0) 1 60 69 65 51
|Rents each of 3 houses to 1 person and let’s them find the roommates. coming from INSEAD you pass in front of the gate…..the name “le vivier” written on the wall;An INSEAD alum told me to only go for the house on the right because the one on the left is too dark. I like the quiet as it is a place away from school (I am married). At the same time, it is a very nice place to receive people for dinner. People that are looking for a very active social life tend to not like it as much.||for GPS: Chartrettes … D135 (route départementale 135)||9 bd; 3 houses||20 min drive, 14 kms||Weekly dinner parties for 30 ppl; lots of space for parties;From landlord: “it’s not the night club of INSEAD”Not a party place. No parties but people make it as social as they want as there are great facilities to receive people for dinner.|
|1000 – 1250||Ms Ghislaine Ulaga
Tel between sept 09-july 2010 : 00.1.480.838.8337
marie cleaning lady can show homes (by appt with landlady) : +33 18.104.22.168.27
|It’s one of the nicest house, in fact nicer than most houses in fonty BUT this is france, so dont expect a villa.. downside, it’s also one of the more expensive house in fontyrated super-expensive and not great value||43, boulevard du marecal foch 77300 fontainebelau||5 min drive; 25 min walk||Depends on group;|
|Veneux Les Sabons
|600 – 850 (750 is avg)||same as for Villa Foch||15 to 25 mins;The life in the house depends on your roommates, so I could not offer you any insights about that. I personally would prefer to live in Fonty because I do not enjoy driving too much. Other people prefer the surrounding villages because the houses tend to have more space both inside and outside.The house is nice (more comments in the comments section)||74, avenue de fontainebleau 77250 veneux les sablons.||11 bd; 2 houses (renovated)||20 min drive|
|Auberge du Vieux Moulin
|500 – 700 plus email@example.com
Mobile : : +(00)971 5525 34748 -
Home : +(00)971 4429 2409
Neighbours Francoise and Fabien to show home (by appt with landlord) +33 1. 22.214.171.124
|Pics look ok; 6 bd – so small place. Right on the river and apparently unbearably humid. I also got advice not to go there.Overall I would recommend the Auberge for its charm, its big living room and terrace which is good for parties, and for the bathroom in every room. Not humid||10 rue de la Liberation 77690 Montigny sur Loing||6 bd; 2 floors||10 KM|
|Le Puits Carre
|500 – 800 + util (200)||firstname.lastname@example.org||Looks OK based on pics.The rooms are nice and the house is big. The landlady is lovely and very helpful. If anyone needs info on this house, contact email@example.com.||2 Rue Mürger, Bourron-Marlotte||7-10 bd (suites + cottages)||10 min drive||?|
|400 – 450 + util5% disc. For org firstname.lastname@example.org
+ 33 1 60 71 12 69
|Apts look nice.||16 Rue de la République, Thomery||6 apts (2-4 rooms each); total 17 bd||15 min drive (10 km)||NO Party (designed that way), but can be social with house mates|
|950 – 1000 incl.||Nicolas email@example.com
+33 6 76 12 87 79
|I was in room 5, which was great, although all the rooms are fairly similar. I’d recommend 4-7, which are on the first floor, which means they’re nice and quiet (very good soundproofing from downstairs). 8-10 are on the top floor, and have a lofty feel with angled ceilings etc (I’d avoid 10 though as it has a slightly strange bathroom arrangement). The rooms on the bottom floor (1-3) are all also really nice. Perhaps a bit louder though as they’re close to the kitchen||181 bis rue st merry||10 bd||5 min walk|
|L’arbre sec maison
|1000 to 1100 all firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
+33 (0) 663 296 375
mr granado the gardener 06 81 10 54 83
|Landlord’s initial reply was relatively unhelpful. Need to follow-up with current students; pics on site look nice social is what you make of it… i am not sure who is living here in september, so can’t comment. i don’t think i will be living here then, nor will any of the other current tenants…i pay 980 eur/month right now which is on the pricier side of what other people pay (i.e. non arbre sec people)i like living here, so wouldn’t recommend anything else. Everything is included in the monthly rent – electricity, utilities, internet, etc. There is also a cleaning lady that comes in about 3x a week. No issues at all with the landlord. He is very nice and responsive to emails. We host dinners and parties once in a while. In the summer, you can do a barbecue in the garden
I currently live a L’Arbre Sec. Compared to other places, it’s pricey but it is hassle-free. It is conveniently located and I never worry about things such as heat, internet, and hot water, which can’t be taken for granted here in the countryside.Not huge party house, but organize dinner and smaller parties. It’s a bit expensive.
|5 rue de l’ arbre sec77300 fontainebleau||7 bd; 3 floors||7 min walk|
|Tavers||Contact students||http://picasaweb.google.com/junsanta/ChateauDeTaversTHEPARTYCHATEAU?feat=directlink# rooms are all pretty much good. some are downright awesome. I like the place, the atmosphere, the social aspect, the dinners, the fireplace, my room and everything else. Internet connection is not that great. Two friends stayed there and loved it because of the weekly dinners and big parties. So maybe that’s worth the long commute. A friend also had a good point: since a lot of the big parties are at Tavers, you are at an advantage because you can drink and not have to drive after :-)||take 40 minutes if you have an 8.30 class. 20 minutes if you want to get to school by 8||amazing from every point of view. very active socially|
|Former Presbytery (moret)http://www.bonapart.org/Lists/aih.asp?ReferenceAnnonce=AIH1046&ReferenceListe=S||700 – 850 plus (100);30 EUR discount per mon. for 11 mon lease;40 cleaning; 65 for util.||Tel Mobile : : 06 86 18 80 97 – firstname.lastname@example.org||Moret-sur-Loing; entertain friends/BBQs||7 bd; 3 floors; 8 rooms avail||15 min drive; 10 KM|
|Chateau / Hameau de Montmelian http://www.chateaudemontmelian.com/hameaudemontmelianGB.email@example.com||The chateau being repaired. Hameau will be available, but will most likely be rented by Mar 17. 3 ‘houses’ with 8 rooms total||8 bd; 3 houses||8 Km from INSEAD (15 min drive)|
|Villa Patton||700 – 800 plus util (150)||Home : +33(0)1 69 68 08 07 -
Mobile : : +33 (0)6 69 12 20 04 -firstname.lastname@example.org
|hey just spoke to someone who knows that place. He told me its a dump so you’re better off avoiding that place. Rooms are tiny, smaller than others.||22 boulevard du Général Lerclerc – 77300FONTAINEBLEAU||11 bd; 3 floors||1.5 KM|
|550 – 850 plus util (200 / mon)||+33 (0)6 15 78 42 33;
+33 (0)6 65 82 34 88 -email@example.com
|Rented thru till DEC (some may open up due to exchanges, but wont know for a few months) Swimming pool; 2 bd with ensuite; 4 bd sharing 2 bath;Heard great things about it||8 bd; 2 floors;||12 KM|
|La Maison de la Mare(Domain de chantermerles)http://www.domainedechantemerles.com/Gb/infos-GB.html||750 (incl.)||firstname.lastname@example.org||3000 + util (1500) div by 7 = 650; 8 km away in Bois Le Roi village. Studios still available; HOUSE has been rented by some folks looking to share.Can leave anytime with 1 month notice (but rents can increase when you leave/come back)The place is really nice, the house and the studios were built last year so it is all brand new and of good taste. The announce price is not too bad as well since it is “all inclusive”. BUT: despite the fact that it is announce in Bonapart.org which should be a free service website for INSEAD students, the landlord does not close the contract with you directly and makes you go over Office D’Immobilier which charges you 10% of the monthly rent as handling fee.||7 QUAI DE LA RUELLE, Bois Le RoiExactly at the PONT DE CHARTRETTES (bridge on Seine)||7 bd||8 KM; 12 min drive||VERY QUIET|
|Fleury||The place is a suite set-up so you have your own studio and not so much interaction with the others. But apparently the place is nice. And it’s one of the closest chateaus. Has a bit of a reputation, so figure out for yourself if it works for you.|
|Minthouses (La Rive du Bois)
|900 – email@example.com||Do not come here for the social, we are all INSEAD students but don’t do much together, if you want to experience the real INSEAD parties, living together etc. find a home with other student but don’t come here. All the roomates are nice though, we just do our stuff on our own but that might change in the future. So I like the privacy aspect but have all my friends in other houses/chateaux|