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Sections

  • Introduction
  • A word about telephone numbers and prices
  • Do I have to learn French?
  • Donna’s story
  • Debby’s story
  • Joan’s story
  • My story
  • Getting acculturated
  • Meeting French people
  • Help for the culture-shocked
  • Useful links
  • Mable’s three-month dip
  • When is the best time to come?
  • Logistics for the dip
  • What should I do for three months?
  • Leaving the City of Light
  • Our office in Paris
  • The big language schools
  • Other language schools
  • Conversation groups and partners
  • Tutors
  • Language vacations
  • How do I apply?
  • Tourist visas
  • Visa de long sejour
  • You’re on your own
  • The paperwork
  • Applying for a carte de sejour
  • Procedures for EU nationals
  • Permanent residence and work permits
  • Carte de commercant
  • Special rules and exemptions
  • Becoming an EU national
  • Marrying a French citizen
  • Students with a French resident parent
  • Becoming an au pair
  • Coming to France as a visitor
  • Becoming a student
  • Working for a French company as a manager or executive
  • Working at international organizations
  • Becoming an intern, trainee, or volunteer
  • Setting up your own business
  • Retiring to France
  • Other recommended reading:
  • Becoming a French citizen
  • For more information
  • The job climate
  • Salaries
  • The European competition
  • Professions requiring French credentials
  • Working at U.S. firms in France
  • Working at embassies in France
  • Working at French companies
  • Employment agencies and headhunters
  • Temporary work agencies
  • American church bulletin board
  • French job culture
  • Real life working in France stories
  • Consultant or company?
  • Stuart’s dilemma
  • Becoming a travailleur independant
  • Creating a company
  • Creating a business presence in France
  • Creating an association
  • Don’t bring the appliances, but do bring…
  • What about the furniture?
  • Finding a mover
  • Relocation companies
  • Finding accommodations
  • Reading a classified ad
  • Temporary lodgings
  • Long-term rentals
  • Telecommunications and utilities
  • Paying bills
  • Internet access
  • Driving you mad
  • Pets
  • Tips for keeping in touch with home
  • Preschool through highschool
  • Secondary education
  • Study-abroad programs
  • Advanced certificate studies: Melissa’s solution
  • Continuing education
  • Distance learning
  • Volunteer learning
  • Obtaining health insurance
  • Finding doctors
  • Dentists
  • Having a baby
  • Emergency services
  • Prescriptions
  • Alternative medicine
  • The euro
  • Exchange rates
  • Banking in France
  • Do you need checking and savings accounts?
  • The art of checks
  • Carte bleue
  • Choosing a bank
  • Opening an account
  • Keeping your home accounts
  • French savings products
  • Choosing an investment adviser
  • Buying a French home?
  • Taxes
  • Insurance
  • Alumni groups
  • Charitable groups
  • Cultural and political groups
  • Health and educational groups
  • Social and support groups
  • Religious institutions
  • Business groups
  • Veterans groups
  • Groups outside Paris
  • About the Author
  • Comments from Guide Users

International Living’s Guide to

Working and Living in France: The Ins and Outs
written by

Rose Marie Burke
and prepared by the staff of International Living

www.InternationalLiving.com

International Living’s Guide to Working and Living in France: The Ins and Outs

Published by Agora Ireland Publishing & Services Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 by Agora Ireland Publishing & Services Ltd., 5 Catherine Street, Waterford, Ireland.
Written by: Rose Burke Publisher: Kathleen Peddicord Managing Editors: Lynn Chestnutt and Robbie McDonald Assistant Editor: Emily Furlong Graphic Designers: Susan Redmond & Ray Holland Cover photography courtesy of Photodisc.com Printed by Victor Graphics

ISBN 0-9547754-2-2
120R0014B4
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording or by any information storage or retrieval system without permission of the publisher. While every effort has been made to provide accurate, up-to-date information, the authors and publisher accept no responsibility for loss, injury, or inconvenience sustained by any person using this book.

International Living’s Guide to

Working and Living in France: The Ins and Outs

.............................................................................................................................28 Conversation groups and partners ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................35 Procedures for EU nationals....................................................................12 Debby’s story ..................................17 Useful links................................................................25 Chapter Three: Learning the Lingo ..................9 A word about telephone numbers and prices ............................10 Chapter One: Adjusting to France .............................................................................................................................................................33 Carte de sejour .....................................24 Leaving the City Of Light ....................................................................29 Language vacations ...................................................................13 Joan’s story ...........................................................................................27 The big language schools .......................................................................................................................36 ...........................................................................................................32 Tourist visa ..........33 You’re on your own .........................................................14 My story ..................................30 Chapter Four: Residency and Work Permits ...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................34 Applying for a carte de sejour ..................................................................................................................................................................Table of Contents Introduction ........................................11 Do I have to learn French? .....................................................................16 Help for the culture-shocked ........................24 Our office in Paris ....................................................................................15 Getting acculturated .........28 Tutors ......................25 Useful links.....................................................................................17 Chapter Two: The Three-Month Dip ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................20 When is the best time to come? .......................................................34 The paperwork ......................................................19 Mable’s three-month dip..........21 What should I do for three months?........................................................................20 Logistics for the dip ....................27 Other language schools.........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................11 Donna’s story .......................................29 Useful links...................................................................................................16 Meeting French people .............31 How do I apply ...33 Visa de long sejour .............................................................................

.......................................................................................41 Becoming an intern......67 ..................................................................................................................52 French job culture................................................................................................................................................42 Working black.................................................................................................................................. white...................................................................49 Working at U........................................................................38 Marrying a French citizen ....41 Working at international organizations...............42 Setting up your own business................................................53 Useful links...............52 Real life working in France stories .............................................................................................................................................................................................50 Employment agencies and headhunters ......... and gray .................................................................................................................................................39 Becoming an au pair......................49 Professions requiring French credentials ...............................................................................................44 Useful links.................................................................................................................................................................................................37 Special rules and exemptions ............................................59 Becoming a travailleur independant .........................S............................................................................................................................................................................................. firms in France ......................... trainee..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Permanent residence and work permits .....51 American Church bulletin board ........66 Creating an association.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................37 Becoming an EU national.....66 Useful links....................................................................57 Chapter Six: Creating a Business .............................................43 Retiring to France ......................................................................................................................................................................................................59 Consultant or company? ........................39 Détaché status.................................................................48 Salaries .........................43 Other recommended reading ...............................44 Becoming a French citizen .................................................................................................................39 Coming to France as a visitor.................................................................36 Carte de commercant ........................................................64 Creating a business presence in France ....................40 Working for a French company as a manager or executive..........................................61 Creating a company ..............................................................................................................................................50 Working at French companies ...............................................45 Chapter Five: Job Hunting in France .....51 Temporary work agencies...................................................................... or volunteer ...........................38 Students with a French resident parent ..........................................................................................................59 Stuart’s dilemma .............44 For more information ........49 Working at embassies in France .......................47 The job climate .............................48 The European competition ..........40 Becoming a student ................................................................................................................................................................................................

................................................................96 Emergency services ........96 Having a baby.................................................................................................74 Reading a classified ad .....................................................................................91 Useful links....................................83 Preschool through high school ..................................................78 Driving you mad.....................................................................................................................71 Finding a mover ...................................................................89 Distance learning ...............................................................................................84 Secondary education...................................................................................................................................69 What about the furniture?....................... but do bring .........................................................77 Internet access........................................................................................................................................97 Prescriptions ...........99 Banking in France.........................................................81 Useful links..................................................................................................................88 Continuing education .........74 Long-term rentals .........................................................................82 Tips for keeping in touch with home ................................75 Telecommunications and utilities ......................................................................................................................................................86 Study-abroad programs....................................................................................................93 Obtaining health insurance .................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Chapter Seven: Making the Move ...........................................................91 Chapter Nine: Health Care and Insurance ........82 Chapter Eight: Education ......................................................99 The euro .........................................................98 Useful links..............................................................................................................................................................................74 Temporary lodgings ...................................................................................................................69 Don’t bring the appliances......................................97 Alternative medicine..................................................................................................................................................98 Chapter Ten: Money and Finance ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................99 Exchange rates .......................................94 Finding doctors .............................................................................................................................................................................100 .......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................91 Volunteer learning...................................................76 Paying bills .....95 Dentists .............79 Pets .............................71 Relocation companies....72 Finding accommodations ...................88 Advanced certificate studies: Melissa’s solution ..................................................................

...................................................................104 French savings products...............................................101 Choosing a bank.........................111 Health and educational groups .............................106 Useful links ............................................105 Buying a French home? ..........................................107 Insurance .............................................................................................................112 Social and support groups ...............................................................................................................................................101 Carte bleue ..................................................................................................................................................................................................120 7 ....................................................111 Cultural and political groups .............................................100 The art of checks ..............Do you need checking and savings accounts?.....................................................................................................................................................................................................108 Chapter Eleven: English-Speaking Organizations 109 Alumni groups ............................................................................................................................................................................114 Business groups ............................119 Comments from Guide Users.................................................................................................................................................104 Choosing an investment adviser .........................................................................................................................................107 Taxes................................................................................................................................110 Charitable groups ...........................................................................................................102 Opening an account .......................115 Veterans groups .............116 About the author.........................115 Groups outside Paris ..............................113 Religious institutions .......103 Keeping your home accounts........................................................................

Working and Living in France 8 .

A good starting point for specific information regarding your personal situation is to contact the French Consulate and a professional 9 . however. Once upon a time. my publisher had some of the original content reviewed by lawyer Sam Okoshken. you still have questions about working or living in France after reading this guide. I have tried my best to cover all the bases. Welcome to the club! France is home to an estimated 130. shall we say. lawyer practicing in Paris. and from the stories of my friends and others. Working and Living in France: The Ins and Outs is also designed to be part of a broader community effort. I’ve included these stories to illustrate how it’s really done.000 Americans and many more foreigners from other countries. I wrote this guide from my personal experience. To ensure that my references to French law are accurate. we fell in love with France. not just how it might or ought to be done. this guide directs you to the great resources of the expatriate community. I’ve used their first names or pseudonyms.Introduction by Rose Burke You are reading this guide because of your interest in working and living in France. or work here some day. While I cannot be responsible for mistakes on referenced web pages. Our dream became to live. which are increasingly found on the Internet. I am for the accuracy of this guide. a U. I will be glad to personally answer them. In the spirit of AngloFiles. co-produced by Stephanie Kidder and I.S. circumvent the system––a great French tradition. To protect the privacy of my sources. We are all here for the same reason. study. my work as a journalist. It started as the website. Sometimes living and working here involves strategies that. If. a pioneer site that provided information for English-speaking foreigners in France. AngloFiles.

At time of writing. If you are in France. 10 . (Outside Paris and the Île-de-France. then the eight digits which follow the (331). such as 02.S. you will certainly find the guide useful though not necessarily applicable in all cases. We recommend Jean Taquet. A word about telephone numbers and prices All Paris phone numbers have 10 digits. the adjustment was difficult. In writing this guide. then the Paris prefix (1). contact Jean Taquet. For personal consultation. Prices throughout the guide are quoted in euro. Embassy in Paris.Working and Living in France specializing in French immigration in your home country.) When dialing from within France.S. This guide has a U. consult your prefecture (police station) or a professional specializing in immigration. but I felt that writing for all of them would be impossible. beginning with (331). I give you my 20-20 hindsight so as to prepare you for a soft landing in France. I realize that France is home to foreigners from countries all over the world. numbers start with another prefix. focus but tries to be as inclusive as possible. Information was hard to come by in those pre-Internet days. as is usually the case.S. author of The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France.S. If you are from a country other than the U.82 euro.. Citizens Residing in France published by the U. US$1 = 0. Contact information for lawyers is available in the Guide for U. I didn’t know what questions to ask. When I came here eight years ago. 03. e-mail: taquet@insiderparisguides . and. dial the country code (33). and so on. When dialing from outside France.com. dial all 10 digits.

and there is no better entrée than the language. You feel a little down. on coming to Paris. You might even want to pack up and go home. In those first few weeks. gradually smooth out and life settles into a routine. The ups and downs. the more we like the French lifestyle. Exhaustion sets in. Your body is hit by thousands of new stimulants a day. Some expatriates believe it isn’t important to learn French. That’s because the shock of a new culture is not just psychological––it’s also physiological. well and good. but if you plan to reside here. it’s helpful to realize that integrating into the French way of life takes a great deal of time. To beat culture shock. Everything is new. Becoming fluent in the French culture can take a lifetime.Chapter 1 Adjusting to France Everyone has heard of culture shock but few. Most Americans believe that they’ll be fluent in French and French-ness in about a month or two. The longer my husband and I stay here. If you are a tourist. Perhaps they are…but maybe they like it that way. believe it will happen to them. It’s the same high you experience as a tourist. and au revoir might get you through. the adrenaline flows. if you survive more than a year in a foreign country. you’re tapped out of adrenaline. Do I have to learn French? One way to beat culture shock is to join ‘em. Pretty soon. especially if you come here with an attitude that the American way is better and that the French are behind the times. bonjour. If you 11 . You’re on a high that you believe will last forever. Merci. your level of French should be commensurate with the length of your stay.

Working and Living in France are going to live permanently in Paris head for Fluency 900. If you’re only here for three months, set your sights at Functionality 101. If you want a professional job, you’ll more than likely need a fluency in oral as well as written French. Some U.S. job seekers believe that their American skills will be such an asset that the French will tolerate their learning the language on the job. That might be true if you are high-powered, high-tech, or with a multinational company. Remember, though, that you have a lot of qualified English-speaking competition from Britain and Ireland and they, unlike non-EU nationals, have the automatic right to work in France. There is also competition from the multilingual Nordic countries, where people have impressive job, language, and people skills. Even if you snag a job despite your weak language skills, life outside the office will suffer as you’ll be cut off from the culture: French newspapers, books, movies, theater, restaurants, and ordinary French people. That would be a shame. Yes, you can learn much through immersion, but that’s assuming you know the basics first. We Americans tend to inflate our knowledge of foreign languages. Those awful language-school placement tests are certainly a wakeup call! You are a fledgling if you can order a baguette in a bakery. You’re conversant if you can order an airline ticket over the phone. Fluency is being able to discuss the drama of a Renoir film in a noisy café with a group of French people. You want to hit the ground running rather than spend the first year learning the basics and puzzling over cultural differences. That said, there are many ways to adapt to the new culture, ranging from the laid-back to the hardheaded, 100% immersion technique. Check out the following personal accounts about how it is actually done: Donna’s story Donna, a native Californian, has been living in Paris for over 20 years and works as a professional researcher. She adapted to Paris on her own. As she says, “I did not go to a support group. There was good reason for this. In 1965-66, there weren’t any… We first lived in France for nine months… We arrived on Dec. 1, 1965. We did not have to suffer jet lag––in those days transatlantic steamers were still

12

Adjusting to France running at reasonable prices. “On the advice of our concierge, I enrolled our five year-old daughter at the local école maternelle (preschool) cold turkey. I told her that for the first few weeks she would not understand what people were saying to her, but she would learn. We were somewhat concerned for most of the year, because when we asked her if she was learning French, she always told us no. It was only at the end of the year, when we met some of the other parents, who were stunned to learn that we were not French, that we knew she had been speaking French a long time. She just didn’t realize it. “I had no friends, but this did not really bother me a great deal. I had had almost no friends in our California suburb. I did not really enjoy the suburban housewife and mother way of life, which was standard at the time, and thus had never been able to make many friends. Instead, I opened up my intellect. During that year I discovered, quite by accident, French history and, in particular, the Second World War period, the German occupation of France, and the Vichy government. It was an interest that has continued to this day, only now I have turned it into my profession. I never did adjust to American suburban life. In fact, after living in Paris, I found it even worse than before…when we got the chance to move to Paris permanently, I offered no objections. Quite the opposite.” Debby’s story This freelance journalist came to Paris from the U.S. with her husband and teenage daughter in the early 1990s. “When we left Washington, ‘A’ (who would kill me if I used her real name) was 13 and had long straight hair and a pleasant, forgiving demeanor. Everyone rushed to tell us how lucky she was to be moving to Paris at such an ideal age. It would give her a second language, expand her horizons, and alter her awareness forever. No one warned us that we might be creating a monster. “These days at the breakfast table I confront a tall (well, taller than me), thin, sophisticated Parisienne with masses of thick curly hair, a

13

Working and Living in France closet full of interesting clothes, and a quintessentially French inability to suffer fools gladly…and she isn’t exactly asking us to pass the tartines (buttered bread). French girls, it seems, never eat bread and butter, preferring to tackle the seven-hour school day with a cup of weak tea. If you think it’s hard speaking French after 45 years as a mono-linguist, try speaking French with a walking authority on pronunciation right at your elbow. I now take my phone calls in another room. “I should quickly add that living abroad has brought us together as a family. When push comes to shove, after all, we only have each other, and on Friday nights it’s either find an American film all three of us can enjoy—or contemplate the frightening thought of seeing a film only one of us can understand.” P.S. Last year, Debby moved back to the U.S. after her daughter merited a mention très bien (very high honors) on her bac (high-school exit exam). This is very rare, even for a French student. Joan’s story Joan arrived on her own from the U.S. in June 1996. As a corporate librarian, she had begun to openly fantasize about moving to Paris after life as a suburban housewife and mother. As she says, “Be careful about your fantasies, or they may become a reality before you are ready. “One day a vice president of my company told me he had heard I was thinking of moving to France. The company had won a large contract in England and would like me to do part-time consulting in Europe if I could be there within two months... “In Paris I checked into a small hotel and told the desk clerk I would be there for five days or until I found an apartment. He said it might take a little longer, but they would try to help me. After three weeks I was discouraged enough to wonder why moving to Paris had seemed like such a good idea. I missed my family and friends at home. I envied the Parisians I saw casually coming in and out of their apartment buildings, while I had only my tiny hotel room. Most of all, I worried about the money, that seemed to be pouring out endlessly for this little room. “Every day the hotel staff asked me how things were going, and I

14

I needed to get to grips with the language again…and fast.fiaf. it would best be spent learning the language. John secured a job at an international organization.” My story When I came to France with my husband. So now we are neighbors.org) in New York. I realized that the opposite was true. I thought. So I decided I’d keep up my skills and make contacts by freelancing. So I did. and coming to France again seems like [it was] a good idea. “Gradually I realized that these French people were my family. which lists all streets and has detailed arrondissement maps. we formulated a oneyear plan with an option to stay for five. I purchased my little red book.lefigaro. I looked for a job.Adjusting to France told them. One of the maids told me about a trip to visit a daughter in Portugal. Piece of cake. The desk clerk mentioned that he had a degree in art history and brought in a book he thought I would like to read. Paris Par Arrondissement. They encouraged me to speak French and asked me to check the English grammar in their latest brochures. In fact. which wasn’t as serious as I had hoped. (Remember.) If I only had a year.) Rental ads in Le Figaro (www.fr) helped me to figure out the going rates for apartments as well as how to interpret the lingo. that was the pre-Internet era. but after several failed attempts. (You 15 . I took a course at Alliance Française (www. I began to learn their names and we started to have conversations. The pluses. but mine didn’t allow me to work. To help me locate the apartments. I had three months’ notice before my move to Paris. one of them even gave me the ultimate assistance when he alerted me to a nearby apartment that was to become available. but at the same time. however. He filed for visas and we received our residency permits upon arrival. and the hotel my home. because I wanted to tell someone. (France is now considering giving trailing spouses of employees at international organizations working papers. The manager told me that after I found my apartment I could still use the hotel’s 24-hour fax service. which carried the French newspapers. With vague memories of my high-school French and a couple of French courses taken here and there. were the other students (one of whom was also heading to France and is still a friend today) and the school’s library.

but declining. will put you on the right social footing. 16 . A colleague clued me in about FUSAC (www. and current affairs.pollyplatt. Find out about the French and how they differ culturally from Anglo-Saxons.” Armed with that book and Le Figaro. Learn everything you can about France including its history. I was able to pinpoint exactly where I wanted to live prior to my arrival in Paris. the less the shock. appliances. It’s also hard if you have small children and are essentially housebound. a magazine filled with classified ads for the English-speaking community in Paris. unemployment rate? That labor shortages exist and are predicted to deepen? North Americans live in countries that are short on history whereas France lives in its past. There are all sorts of ads: for furniture.fr). geography. Did you know that France has a high.Working and Living in France may purchase the book at most newsstands in France or through an online bookseller. Now that we have had our baby. Savoir Flair. and services ranging from French-English conversation groups to yoga instructors. pharmacist. search using the terms “plan de Paris” and “par arrondissements.com) like French or Foe or her newest one. Meeting French people It can be hard to meet French people. and they know us inside and out. Some studies show that business and social interactions with the French are among the most complicated on the planet! Books by Polly Platt (www. striking up conversation with the French has become easier. and beautician. It took years. housing. but we now know the baker. It’s especially hard for the “trailing spouse” (one who follows a spouse who has found a job). For some reason I dismissed the publication until I got to Paris— a mistake I have been lucky to learn about the French culture through my work as a freelance journalist in which I review restaurants and write about the quirky side of French life. the butcher. Don’t assume that the French will adore your native customs. Getting acculturated The more you know about French culture.fusac.

Background notes on France. Published for Irish expats in Paris. Ask at your local town hall about area activities. clubs.state. I trailed a husband who worked in an English-speaking organization staffed with people from all over the world. have children in a French school. daily.com.m. At the very least. whose common language was usually English.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn /3842. too. Help for the culture-shocked If you find yourself seriously affected by culture shock. 17 . you cut yourself off in practical ways. are a student. It’s easier if you live outside Paris.Adjusting to France though babies attract a lot of attention. As for myself. This strategy could leave you lonely for a long time. U.html. don’t hesitate to obtain help. The American edition of Le Figaro.fr/index.net/amcathedralparis (look under “Ministries” in the “About Us” section).m. to 11 p. Help. There are first-rate psychological services through the Counseling Center at the American Cathedral: www. We would have been silly to pass up the chance to meet these people. There is an English-language crisis line in Paris called S.irisheyes. Then. website: www. or even have a dog! Dog walkers love to compare notes. website: www. Some people promise to ignore all English speakers and only socialize with French people. (331)47-23-80-80 that operates from 3 p. if you avoid English speakers in France. One of the best ways to meet French people is through organizations.htm. especially if your French isn’t up to par. published in New York. Useful links France-Amérique. tel.france-amerique. or associations.us.S.S. Irish Eyes magazine.O. your fellow English speakers have a wealth of experience about living here and are usually generous about sharing it. have a job in a French or French-speaking company. for the narrower possibility of meeting only French people. website: www. Department of State.

Military Woman: website: www. For women in the U. A nonprofit association dedicated to serving and defending the interests of individual U..org. website: http://frenchculture.S. citizens living worldwide.S. American Citizens Abroad: website: www.Working and Living in France Cultural Services Office of the French Embassy in the U.aca. 18 .ch.S.org. military based near and far.militarywoman.

an apartment. Moreover. “I’ve been to Paris on vacation.” Before you become a permanent resident. Americans tend to dismiss those who try to “tell it like it is. but there is nothing like being here to prove us wrong. In France.” Yes. a month. Truth in advertising. there is the law. It is applied on a case-by-case 19 . Americans. A splash of cold water to bring some realism to the situation. Some manage to find their feet while others experience great difficulty. Many people move to France cold turkey. Consider it reconnaissance. 10 days. It was great! I’d love to move there. application of the law is a different matter. I thought the same thing. I’m sure you know the phrase. this guidebook can only go so far.. day out. We believe that we will effortlessly master a different language and culture and erroneously assume we have the right to work and live in a different country. or become some other kind of permanent resident of Paris. establish a business. through damp gray winters as well as “City of Light” summers. especially if you plan to find a full-time job. day in. It is one of our best and worst traits. We can tell you that it is impossible in your situation to find a job. I was there for one week. I recommend a three-month stay. Each person brings an individual life to Paris and with him or her.. etc.” But there is a big difference between being on vacation and actually living here. a certain amount of “chutzpah” and plain old luck. take a dip.Chapter Two The Three-Month Dip Anyone thinking about a move to Paris should first take a fact-finding trip. tend to be optimists. A sabbatical. “It’s a great place to visit.. in particular. You may be saying something to the effect of.

What three months? You may be tempted to visit France in the summer. these months are arguably the least desirable for determining whether you want to live 20 . and work out of Paris. in the future. She found a housesitting opportunity for her first weeks in Paris.Working and Living in France basis. find interesting people and projects and possibly set up a company in the future either in California. After your trial run. A large number of French people depart for vacation from June to August. She corresponded with people who already lived here. We advise against it.” North Americans. When is the best time to come? Why three months? Because that’s the length of the “tourist visa. helping it to develop its first website. you will come to one of three revelations: that you want to move here immediately. for example. It is an excellent way to ‘test the waters’ before someone fully commits. A residential visa is only required for stays exceeding three months. She had a great time in Paris and left forever a Francophile. The trip was revelatory and intriguing. or possibly even in Paris. with the dream still in her heart. Mable’s three-month dip Mable came to Paris on a three-month break from work in the mid-1990s. It also answered my questions about wanting to live and work in Paris and furthered my decision to come back and live [there] in the near future. automatically have the right to stay in France for three months. which gave her time to find an apartment. For this reason.” To prepare for her three-month trip. The exception often seems to disprove the rule. There is no paperwork to file. or not at all. She found the apartment by running into a French man on the street who noticed that she was studying a map of Paris. She also got involved at a non-profit association. Mable blitzed the Internet. “I was interested in seeing what it would be like to live in Paris… It was exploratory to see if I could live there longer.

com. 2004 . available at: www. I carry one with me at all times––and I don’t even have school-age children. 3.woac. a great introduction-to-Paris program offered on Tuesdays in October. 4. 2004 Oct. e-mail: DAClifton@compuserve. 23 . and get answers to your questions about living and working here. We recommend that you plan your visit either from mid-September through mid-December or from February to April.Nov. 2005 July 2. 2004 Dec. usually in April and October. you’re coming to meet French people. For more information on this special program. It’s offered about twice a year on a Saturday.net. 2005 Logistics for the dip The beauty of the three-month plan is that you can travel light and keep your distance from many everyday administrative hassles such as signing a long-term lease. 1. people get back to work and school.May 9.fr/prat/calendrier /calendrier. 19 . 18. visit: www. Remember.The Three-Month Dip here. and opening a bank account.Jan. 2005 Feb. In the fall. It’s a good idea to carry a French school calendar as most work and social activities follow the same schedule. and fills with tourists. Also bear in mind that few employers hire during the summer months. becomes devoid of Parisians. For more information. 2005 April 23 . By way of illustration.education.gouv. here’s the school calendar for 2004 to 2005 for the Paris region. If you come during the fall. especially. A new one-day version of the program especially for working people called Bloom While You Work is also available. (Even the politicians have their rentrée (re-entry). As a part of the three-month plan we recommend: 21 . contact Danielle Clifton. take advantage of Bloom Where You Are Planted.php • Rentrée Scolaire (Back to School) • Toussaint (All Saints’ Day Break) • Noël (Christmas Break) • Hiver (Winter Break) • Printemps (Spring Break) • Vacances d’Eté (Summer Vacation) Sept. Paris. hooking up utilities. network.March 7.

americanlibraryinparis. A four-month membership is 37 euro ($45).cybercafeparis. there are two main operators: Orange (www. Access Academy (www. com). Time slots at the library’s two terminals are available in half-hour increments and can be reserved in advance or on a walk-in basis. Like other access providers.org). and SFR (www. at France Telecom offices. or at tabacs (cafés with the right to sell cigarettes. lottery tickets. • Using your ATM and credit cards for expenses rather than opening a French bank account. This is not possible if you have no French bank account or long-term visa. Cards are available for sale through the Internet. Its base package is five hours for 25 euro ($30). If your accommodation doesn’t offer Internet access. • Accessing the Internet at a café or at the American Library of Paris rather than from your French accommodation. You may purchase a mobile phone at any telecommunications store or online. France Telecom stores. utilities included (see the Chapter Seven for more info). If the cost sounds prohibitive keep in mind that.fr). Shop around for a mobile phone. where Internet access is free to members. while most ISPs are inexpensive or free in France.com). • Using public transportation or walking rather than driving. transportation tickets. as of this writing. include Cybercafé de Paris (www.accessacademy.24) cent for each additional minute thereafter. for example. They come and go quickly but. of course.fr). etc. • Purchasing a mobile phone or using public phones rather than home telephone service.sfr. consider going online at a cybercafé. and XS Arena Luxembourg (www. Stores will try to sell you a mobile phone with a year-long phone service or abonnement (subscription). excluding the card. Budget about 100 euro ($121) for an SMS mobile phone. it also offers forfaits (package deals).Working and Living in France • Renting a furnished apartment.24) for the first five minutes and 20 ($0. Orange is also available. Regarding mobile telephone service. The rates at Cybercafé de Paris. Call ahead to confirm that the location is still in business.). we recommend that you order a service sans abonnement (without a subscription) that offers telecom credits by card. run by France Telecom.xsarena. Instead. a trademark of Cegetel. Also consider the American Library of Paris (www.com). are 20 cent ($0.orange. the 22 .

We do not recommend that you draw cash on a credit card as the interest rates on these cash advance transactions are exorbitant. You can pay utility bills in cash at the post office for a 1% handling fee. and not all credit cards impose a fee. While practices at individual banks vary. at that level.S.S. If you must change foreign bills for euro. it’s still cheaper and more convenient than changing our dollars or using travelers’ checks. If your U. pin contains five digits. the least expensive place in Paris to do so is at Changes et Monnaies. Remember to pack your e-mail address. or Hotmail. It doesn’t take long to traverse the city by subway—about 45 minutes if there are no changes involved. You may get around that with cable Internet. Putting larger purchases on your U. If you require a check. credit cards as the dollar was strong at the time. We’ve determined that. So. There was no fee on overseas purchases until recently. For about six years. Compuserve. 34 rue Croix-des-Petits-Champs in the 1st arrondissement. credit card can be cost-effective despite any conversion fees. most give you a very good exchange rate (close to the Interbank rate). Visa and MasterCard are both accepted here. we purchased most of our goods in France with our U. that is accessible via the web. across the street from the Banque de France. Most of my intercity commutes on the subway aver- 23 . Most Parisians walk or take public transportation. but there is sometimes a wait for hookup and subscriptions are for a year term. user name. As for living expenses. set up a free or paid account with an Internet service provider.The Three-Month Dip underlying telephone service is charged by the minute. Keep in mind however that personal identification numbers (PIN) in Europe are four digits.S. we recommend obtaining a money order from the post office. Our credit card now carries a fee of 1% on overseas purchases. before you leave home. We suggest you do the math yourself and read the fine print. the most convenient and cost-effective method is to use your home banking card to get euro cash from ATM machines. and charge no extra fee (other than home bank ATM charges) for withdrawals of cash at a French ATM. such as AOL. and password. you can convert it to four by contacting your bank’s customer service department.

.S. Not because I didn’t love it. driver’s license is legal in France for the three-month tourist period.parisnotes. Why did he finally leave the City of Light? Here’s his answer: “Ultimately. your fact-finding trip should make clear how long you want to live in France.S. I asked myself. If you sign up for an intensive course. To save money. Your networking should include as many of the organizations and people that we list in the chapter on English-language organizations in France as possible. you’ll find little time for anything but class and homework.ratp. Leaving the City of Light Lastly. ask the subway clerk for the card plus materials for the ID card.Working and Living in France age 30 minutes door to door. The important questions to ask yourself are: Where do I want to live? Will I take any kind of job just to live in France or do I want to stay on my career track? Is my French good enough or do I need time to improve it? Before you leave the U. Trains and buses will take you to most of the famous sightseeing spots outside of the city. ‘Do I want to stay here the rest of my life?’ My answer was no. If you choose to sign up for language lessons. purchase a monthly or weekly pass. now publisher of the U. join a French-English conversation group to practice your French and to network. You may even purchase transit passes online on the RATP site (www. You assemble the ID card yourself with a passport-sized photo.S.fr). called a carte orange (orange card). contact people and organizations in France and tell them you are coming.-based newsletter Paris Notes (www. but because I wanted to start my own business and I viewed that as ‘not an option’ in 24 . In addition. A year…several years…the rest of your life? Mark Eversman. On your first purchase. What should I do for three months? Your fact-finding mission to France should help you clarify or reset your goals. If you choose to drive. limit them to a few times per week.com)—another great resource—lived here for seven years. your U. Your future in France depends on what kind of social network you can build here. Set up appointments if possible.

com. I came to realize that no matter how well I had integrated into the French way of life. for rentals contact Porter Scott at parisrentals@InternationalLiving. which then seemed like a challenge.html.france. website: www. help you to find property to rent or buy. and keep you connected to the local goings-on.expatexchange.fr /index. write to: France@InternationalLiving. For general inquiries. and for real estate write to Jocelyn Carnegie at parisproperty@InternationalLiving. Living.com. therefore.gb. while pursuing my career dreams. began to aggravate me rather than fascinate me. but its specialness began to fade with time. The only way I could continue to keep it special.The Three-Month Dip France.diplomatie. • Expat Exchange.” Our office in Paris The staff of our Paris office can answer your questions on day-today living in France.com Useful links • French Foreign Ministry. Also. I would never be accepted as French and would. An online community for English-speaking expats. The same barriers I faced on my first day. working. and studying in France. website: www. was to leave it. 25 . Paris was always special. always face certain barriers.com.

Working and Living in France 26 .

you’ll need to study several hours a week for about a year. there are no shortcuts. Europeans from Nordic countries tend to pick the language up more quickly than do people from the U. Speaking for myself. That is not the case in France. as I headed a queue that went out the door. I am corrected frequently. English speakers. in the U. One recent Sunday. tolerate bad English. I 27 . we have to. I would have preferred that the joke had remained private. as I don’t articulate the “l” enough for her.” If you need to become fluent.Chapter Three Learning the Lingo “It is easy to learn to speak English badly. Perhaps we overestimate our ability to speak French or to learn it.” There is a lot of truth to this French saying. If you are starting from scratch.S.S. While I feel my French is pas mal (pretty good) after 10 years here. “I’m giving myself three months to become fluent in French. and then I’ll find a job. set modest goals. It is hard to learn to speak French well. If you don’t have that kind of time. Do you really need to become fluent or do you just want to feel less embarrassed at the bakery? The big language schools I’ve tried to learn French just about every way I can imagine. at least. I have often heard newly transplanted Americans make statements to the effect of. Perhaps she thinks this is our private joke. Americans seem to have the hardest time. the sales girl in our local bakery again corrected my pronunciation of palmier (a type of pastry). I don’t correct my fellow Americans when they make grammatical mistakes. As a land of immigrants. or Asia. It is a long road to speaking French well. It was embarrassing.

org) full-time upon arrival in France.fle.fr/ilcf) and the Sorbonne (www. a stimulating series of lectures on grammar and culture. I happened into a class with an excellent instructor with whom I took several classes. After an entrance exam. The exchange lasted for more than a year. Their prices are reasonable and I found the teachers with the intensive (fulltime) program to be excellent and professional.html). is more suited to the younger student who plans to go onto university or professional life in France. You’ll most likely get mixed reviews about Alliance Française. such as those available through WICE (www. a jobs office with plentiful postings.Working and Living in France attended Alliance Française (www. I was somewhat less impressed with those who teach the extensive (part-time) program. The full-time program involves four hours of class and an average of four hours of homework per day. I found a partner closer to home by placing an ad myself in FUSAC. with a heavy focus on the written word.langueonzeparis. Aside from the courses. The second time. Other language schools There are other schools and language programs. See the links at the end of this section for names and addresses. Its classical. The only downside was that my partner lived on the other side of Paris.alliancefr.icp. Conversation groups and partners After my schooling at Alliance Française. I was placed in a beginner’s course (after four years of high-school French and a recent course at Alliance Française in New York). academic style.wice-paris. On the other hand. which might better suit an adult learner. I received over 50 replies.com/us/index. It was hard to 28 . particularly if he or she has a busy life and needs to learn French at an accelerated pace. I sought out a conversation partner through a language school called Langue Onze (www. Alliance probably isn’t the best way to become functionally French rapidly. the Alliance has a good language lab.org). as well as a cheap cafeteria. The other wellknown programs of this type in Paris are at Institut Catholique (www.fr/sorbonne/ang/intro. These other language schools usually allow prospective students to attend one class free of charge.html).

I also tried two conversation groups in Paris and have concluded that conversation groups are a good and inexpensive complement to language classes as well as a good way to meet Francophones informally. Teachers may charge less. who can’t abide a classroom atmosphere and was only available after work hours. I found an ad for this teacher on the bulletin board at WICE. Coprom Langues (www. she insisted I study more grammar. Language vacations My husband and I also spent a two-week vacation learning French at a school practicing what is referred to as the “immersion method. The fee for private tutors is 15 euro ($18) an hour and up. now in its sixth year. She was. Afternoons were usually free. the Paris Free Voice (www. a small school set in an old farmhouse on France’s west coast near La Rochelle. more effective for my husband.com).com) on Wednesdays and Saturdays. a faux débutante (begin- 29 . however.eurocentres. Plus. but may be working without credentials or en noir (under the table).la-ferme. Although I told her I wanted conversational French. is housed at two professional language schools. Parler Parlor is run by Adrian Leeds. I found the experience to be somewhat of a struggle. Although I learned a great deal from this teacher. author of the Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris Restaurants and Elisabeth Crochard. and Eurocentres (www.com). At this conversation group and at Parler Parlor (www. Tutors Next I tried a professeur particulier (tutor). Parler Parlor.fr) on Tuesdays and Thursdays.com). There were lessons in the mornings. You can also find French teachers through classified ads in FUSAC. a past director of Berlitz. but we opted for lessons in the afternoon as well. there’s no homework.copromlangues. and bulletin boards.Learning the Lingo choose. but I found a suitable match and we stayed at it for a year. half the time is devoted to French and the other half to English.parisvoice.parlerparlor. I participated with an ongoing group at WICE (free to members) regularly for a few months. We found little time to complete our homework let alone go for an outing. the school seemed to work better for my husband. As for results.” It was hardly a vacation! We picked La Ferme (www.

fr. than for me. 30 .org.fr.europapages .paris.Working and Living in France ner with some experience) who was speaking the subjunctive by the end.html. the perennial intermediate.fle.fr.html.souffle. website: www.europa-pages. Useful links • SOUFFLE is a consortium of French schools and universities offering French language instruction.com/france/exam. • The Europa Pages site has links to a number of language schools: www.wfi. • FLE has links for dozens of language schools in France. website: www.asso.html and an explanation of French language exams and certificates: website: www.fr/volterre/francophone.speakelite. website: www. • ELITE (European Federation of National Associations for Teaching Mother Tongues to Foreign Students).” • Volterre’s “Learn and Teach French” page has a wide range of resources: www.com/france/courses. website: www. From the main page click on “Education” then “Cours municipaux d’adultes. • The City of Paris also offers French-language lessons.

In their effort to attract skills. the NGO. artist. According to Natalia Eklund. Though initially somewhat vague. R&D.Chapter Four Residency and Work Permits According to a press release dated Dec. international investment. These goals present a large benefit for international business relations in particular. filmmaker. and.com). the French Prime Minister.” The ramifications for American expatriates are not entirely clear as yet. Assistant in International Development at Audit de France-SODIP (www. organized a meeting among the other government ministers to discuss taking measures toward “enhancing the appeal of France” among foreigners. 11. 2003.’ “These measures are among over 40 others concerning this new French policy. life just became a bit easier. but also benefiting the student. an international partner with the Ironbridge Group (www.net): “The first priorities are threefold: attracting skills.sodip. For those impatriates working in France with their company. finance center. this statement quickly led to the dawning of a new French policy in which expatriates would be termed “impatriates.” 31 . But more changes are to come since a second government seminar has recently taken place. Jean-Pierre Raffarin. and targeting key sectors for development. researcher. Their changes should be put in place during the first quarter of 2004. most especially. the French government decided on ‘radical improvement in conditions of entry and residence for impatriate managers and their families. We can look forward not only to changes benefiting the working expatriate. and business entrepreneur.ironbridgegroup.

study. or just hang out here. In this respect. may turn in one’s favor. Liechtenstein.S. To sign up for the newsletter. You need a visa whether you want to work. Before complaining about French bureaucracy.” that was passed on November 26. Officials may apply the rules according to their own interpretation. Ads requiring working papers mean that the employer is unable or unwilling to “sponsor” you and obtain working papers on your behalf. Worldwide Immigration: An Executive Guide. U. Read on for more information about visas and carte de séjours. citizens should keep in mind that France’s rules are less stringent than our own. stamped or noted salarié (salaried). 32 . French regulations for nationals of the European Union. Your residency permit. That’s the flip side of the French bureaucracy. you must show proof of a job.Working and Living in France How do I apply? If you are a U. I quoted Jean Taquet’s e-letter. on occasion. Taquet at: qa@jeantaquet. send an e-mail to Mr.com. 2003. and Norway are less stringent. and once you land here. you must apply for a visa—advance permission from the French government that is obtained at the closest French consulate in your home country or current country of residence—before you move to France. you may see references to the need for French work permits or working papers. but the term “working papers” is the shorthand. EU citizens with valid passports and ID papers may reside and work in France and may enter without visas. These terms are misleading. If you apply for a visa to work in France. A special thanks goes to partner Jack Anderson for letting me cite this information as needed. you’ll need to register with the police and obtain a carte de séjour (residency card). especially about the new law regarding immigration. citizen who wants to live in France for more than three months. which. often called the “loi Sarkozy.S. If you peruse job ads. One of my main sources of information was Ernst & Young’s publication. doubles as a work permit. Iceland. Americans also tend to complain that the rules are applied unevenly. In addition. they would be correct.

it doesn’t mean you have an open-ended visa. This visa gives the bearer permission to enter France legally but he or she must apply for a carte de séjour (a residency permit good for a year) within a week of arrival. Don’t let your permit expire. in France. and profession artistique et culturelle (artists and people in the arts). membre de famille (family member of carte de séjour holder). 33 . the presumption of innocence is a new concept. be ready to show proof that you’ve filed a declaration (French income tax return). Carte de séjour There are several kinds of cartes de séjour including: visiteur (visitor). Even if French passport control doesn’t stamp your passport. reapply two months prior to the expiration date. it’s up to you to prove you are in the country legally and may be expected to present the return portion of your airline ticket.S. If you are stopped by the police. The clerk at the prefecture scolded us for this illegality then went back to processing our new residency card. salarié (salaried worker). Visa de long sejour Americans and other non-EU citizens planning to stay longer than three months must apply for a visa de long séjour (long-stay visa) in their home country. which is valid for 10 years and provides the bearer with the right to work.” but this notion is more virtual than real. The carte de séjour is good for one year. Keep in mind that. you may be eligible for a carte de résident (permanent residency permit). After three consecutive years with a carte de séjour. Americans might say they are in France on a “tourist visa.Residency and Work Permits Tourist visas U. we had let the old one lapse. Whew! At renewal. citizens visiting France for 90 days or less do not need a visa. When my husband and I were applying for our most recent residency permit. We erroneously thought that simply leaving the country and re-entering would automatically give us tourist status for three additional months. scientifique (researcher or university lecturer). étudiant (student).

These expectations are unlikely to be fulfilled and personal hardship may result. by the way. And.amb-usa.htm) warns that the Embassy is not in a position to intercede with French authorities on behalf of Americans seeking visa exemptions and work permits.” (The U. would never advise one to follow suit. you’ll want to retain your original documents and provide duplicates to the prefecture. many expats do live and work here illegally. is an invaluable resource for anyone planning to live in France. there are those who came to Paris for several months and land the job of a lifetime––laws or no laws.fr/consul/guideoas/guidehome. In fact. Most foreigners are not eligible for French Social Security and unemployment benefits.S.S.S. we recommend that you carry 34 . however. Citizens Residing in France (www. of course. I. The most common documents requested are: • A passport with long-stay visa • A birth certificate • Three black-and-white passport-size photos • Proof of residence (such as a utility bill) • Stamped and self-addressed envelope • Proof of financial resources • Proof of health insurance • Marriage or divorce papers • An employment contract Of course. individuals may have difficulties with the French authorities and may face expulsion. getting paid cash and never declaring it. and neither does the U.Working and Living in France You’re on your own Of course.) The paperwork The path to obtaining a residency permit is strewn with a great deal of paper. The guide. Embassy in Paris’ Guide for U. In some cases. Embassy in Paris: “Americans should not come to France in the expectation of being able to find a job and to regularize their status after arrival.

fr). the employee is notified by the French consulate and asked to undergo a medical exam before receiving a long-term visa.gouv. Senior executives transferring with international companies can expect a shorter processing time of approximately one month. you’ll be expected to present your passport and other supporting documents. of which there are several. you must first visit the appropriate Centre de Réception des Etrangers (Center for the Reception of Aliens). inquire at the local police station or mairie (town hall) about where to apply. At the Centre de Réception (reception area). In Paris. Applicants may be required to go back to their home country and await notification by the French consulate at which time they’ll be asked to undergo the medical exam. For basic information. or businessperson. it may not prove beneficial. see the website for the Prefecture de Police Paris (www. you can also visit the prefecture in Paris at 1. The normal time for processing work permit applications is six to eight weeks from the date when all required documents are completed and filed with the administrative departments. Work permits are processed by the French Immigration and Labor Departments. Barring any 35 . Within eight days after arrival in France. Also note that this is not a complete list. there is an acceuil (welcome desk) that can field basic questions and direct you to the right place. depending on where you live in Paris and whether you are applying as an EU citizen.pref. After the application is approved. After entering through security. If you live outside of Paris. We’ve heard stories of applicants carrying shopping bags full of papers to the prefecture as their clerks are notorious for asking for “just one more thing.Residency and Work Permits the documents in duplicate or triplicate. For the appropriate center.S. and other non-EU citizens must apply for visas and work permits through the French consulate in their home country or current country of residence.” Applying for a carte de sejour U. student. rue de Lutèce (place Louis Lépine) in the 4th arrondissement. you must present your documentation to the local prefecture or town hall in order to acquire a carte de séjour.paris. Although it is possible to file an application for a work permit while in France.

which allows the individual to work for any employer in France or as self-employed and exempts 36 . as is often the case. a déclaration de détachement (declaration of detachment) providing the name of his or her employer and the duration of the secondment. you’ll receive a récépissé de demande de carte de séjour. However. This change in the law pretty much means that people from these European countries should be treated like French people.Working and Living in France problems. EEE. “since France has always been suspicious of foreigners and thus tried to control and monitor those living on its territory. Permanent residence and work permits After three years of residence in France. and is another step in the direction of setting up a federal state at European level. Additionally. the French employers must submit a déclaration d’engagement to obtain French social security numbers for the EU-national employees. he or she must complete Form E101 to remain under his or her country’s social security system. must be submitted.” If the employee is seconded by his or her home company and remains on that company’s payroll. If you are already in France legally on one type of residency card and want to change to another. the holder of a carte de séjour may apply for a carte de resident (permanent resident card).” says Jean Taquet. The clerks at the prefecture may require additional paperwork. and Swiss citizens no longer need a carte de séjour as their national ID is now deemed valid as a French ID. they are not required to fill out Form E101 in their home countries. which is valid for 10 years and is renewable. go to your prefecture for more information. Procedures for EU nationals EU. you’ll be granted an appointment at the prefecture. and should be carried with his or her ID papers. If the prefecture can’t issue a carte de séjour immediately. This receipt is good for several months. The administration has substantial discretion to approve a carte de résident. “This is quite a revolution. Because EU nationals hired by French companies are covered under the French social security system. allows the bearer to travel outside France.

the holder may respectfully demand a carte de résident. Unfortunately. If the applicant does not intend to reside in France.” says Jean Taquet. The application must be made simultaneously with the application for the carte de commerçant étranger. “This provision makes it almost impossible for illegal aliens to get legal status. the application is filed with the French consulate nearest the applicant’s place of residence abroad. “since almost all need to work. France doesn’t want to shut out all non-European foreigners. Special rules and exemptions France’s residency and work rules undoubtedly favor the employment of French nationals as well as citizens of EU countries. one way or another.” Carte de commercant Foreign traders’ cards (cartes de commerçant étranger) are compulsory for non-EU individuals who do business in France and who hold the positions of president or general manager of société anonyme (joint stock companies) or société à résponsabilité limitée (limited liability companies) regardless of whether they reside in France. After 10 years of residing in France with cartes de séjour. A carte de commerçant étranger is valid initially for one year and may be renewed indefinitely. The procedure takes up to three months from the date of filing with the French authorities. The carte de commerçant étranger requirement also applies to non-EU commercial agents and representatives of liaison offices. On the other hand. However. If the applicant intends to reside in France. Also. keep in mind that France now counts each year worked illegally against the applicant for the 10-year card. France has set up a number of rules and exemptions 37 . To that end. the application is filed directly with the relevant prefecture in France. If such an individual wishes to reside in France. he or she must apply for a visa de long séjour (long-term visa) to be issued by the French consulate nearest his or her residence abroad. to survive in France. it is possible to obtain temporary authorization within two or three weeks after receipt of the application.Residency and Work Permits him or her from the carte de commerçant étranger (foreign traders’ card) requirements. any years residing in France on a student visa will not be counted toward the 10-year requirement.

Now a carte de résident cannot be requested until the person has lived in France for five years––that is.Working and Living in France for special categories of people: spouses of French citizens. U. executives. or already married to. spouses of French citizens have the right to live and work in France. for example. Those on a tourist visa may marry provided they comply with French law. having held a total of five cartes de séjour (not three years as was formerly the case). workers at international organizations. students. 38 . managers. as Jean Taquet says. grants grandchildren of Irish-born nationals an Irish passport. the 10-year card. you may also be so entitled. If your spouse or common-law partner retains the right to live and work in France. “There is increasing suspicion regarding foreigners marrying. a civil ceremony is required before any religious one. It is advisable to apply for a long-stay visa upon entering France and then apply for a carte de résident (permanent residency card carrying the right to work). A couple must now be married two full years before the foreign spouse can hold a carte de résident. The rules have been tightened under the new “loi Sarkozy” and. it is especially important that one follow the rules before coming to France with one’s French spouse. Ireland. or grandparents were born in an EU country. to get the 10-year card. a foreigner who tries to marry a French citizen without first having adequate residency status will definitely be suspected of a fake marriage. and interns. owners of businesses. but you may also enter as a tourist and then apply for the residency card. Becoming an EU national If you. In France. which can be quite difficult. you may be eligible for a passport from that country. French citizens. And one must prove complete integration into France. your parents. citizens intending to come to France to marry and take up residence in France for more than three months should apply for a visa de long séjour pour mariage (long-stay visa for marriage). au pairs. Marrying a French citizen After a waiting period. At least one party to the marriage must have resided in France for 40 days preceding the date of the civil ceremony. Further.” Thus.S. the independently wealthy.

we suggest that you apply for a long-stay visa as well as a carte de séjour temporaire visiteur (temporary resident card). It isn’t possible to come to France as a tourist and then apply for au pair status. They must obtain a visa de long séjour as a stagiaire aide familiale (family help assistant) from the French consulate in their home country. Because an au pair is looked on as a student who works. The length of stay is usually one year. those who have student status can switch to au pair status after arrival in France. Work will be limited to 30 hours per week. You will be required to prove that you have the financial means to support yourself for a year in France and that you have valid health insurance. which is valid for one year.Residency and Work Permits Students with a French resident parent Students who have studied in France for at least two years and have a parent who has been resident in France for four years or more have the right to work in France. 39 . This contract must be approved by the Service de la Main d’Oeuvre Etrangère (Foreign Labor Branch) of the French Ministry of Labor. you are required to file French income taxes each year. While it is illegal to work with this residency permit. Becoming an au pair France has special programs and procedures for people who want to work as au pairs. In any case. Au pairs should arrange a contract directly with a French family or through an agency. the au pair must apply for a residency permit within eight days after which he or she returns to the Service de la Main d’Oeuvre for a temporary work permit. Coming to France as a visitor If you want to remain in France for more than three months and have the means to do so. knowledge or study of French during his or her stay in France is required. many temporary resident card holders freelance for home-country companies and accept payment in their home country bank accounts. An au pair must be between the ages of 18 and 30. After arriving in France. However. as you will be considered a French tax resident.

the subsequent card can be issued for up to four years at renewal time. These individuals must remain on the payroll of the foreign company and may not stay in France longer than 60 months.5 hours per week. or is a recent graduate of. To work during the school year. valid for nine months. students must provide evidence of economic necessity.S.ciee.) If you are a student in the U. or for performing reporting functions. However. some legal and fiscal considerations now make it easier and cheaper for these foreigners to live in France. as well as a carte de séjour temporaire (temporary residence permit) valid for the same period of time.” says Jean Taquet. (See the Education chapter for information on enrollment. an expatriate receives a carte de séjour. For expatriates working in France for American corporations. the easiest way to find work is through an agency such as the Council for International Education Exchange (www. A student is defined as one who is currently enrolled at.org). which assists participants in finding three- 40 . valid for one year. This status is extended primarily to those seconded for the purpose of providing technical assistance and auditing services.” After such a worker receives his or her first carte de séjour for one year. “This is now the only carte de séjour that will be for more than one year. there is also a favorable new regulation under the “loi Sarkozy. in most of these cases. foreign students in France who are not EU nationals may obtain temporary work permits that authorize them to work up to 19.” Becoming a student Under certain conditions.Working and Living in France Détaché status Individuals sent to France by companies located outside the country may obtain détaché status. Both are renewable for the duration of the assignment. Employees with détaché status should receive an autorisation provisoire de travail (temporary work permit) valid for nine months. “In addition. an institution of higher learning. and a temporary work permit.. Students are only permitted to work full-time during the summer and must prove their registration at a qualified educational institution in France or elsewhere.

html.org) and the World Bank (www. To qualify for this status.escapeartist. International organizations based in Paris include the OECD (www. See the Education chapter for details. Those with offices in Paris are the International Labour Office at 1 rue Miollis in the 15th.info-france-usa. please refer to the next chapter on jobhunting in France. Be sure to check out the short-term jobs at EscapeArtist.icao. as well as the International Monetary Fund (www.int/export/esaCP/index. citizens.org).html). an employee must possess specialized knowledge that justifies the hiring of a non-French national for the position and must receive a minimum monthly salary of about 3.oecd. However. adjusted annually for inflation. visit the Council’s offices at 1 place de l’Odéon in the 6th arrondissement. The most common opportunities occur in secretarial or data-entry positions.worldbank. For information on how to find these French or multinational companies.esa.com: www. U. the applicant must be a national of a member country of the organization to which he or she applies. a French company may hire you under certain circumstances.org).Residency and Work Permits month term.org). Teaching assistantships. UNESCO (www. both located at 66 avenue d’Iéna in the 16th.html). are offered on a nine-month term basis. they are free to hire individuals who do not technically have the right to work here. Business students can try AISEC internships (www.700 euro ($4.unesco.com/efam21/transitions2_jobs. aren’t eligible for posts at the European Space Agency.org/culture/education/support/assistant/index.imf.S. the European Space Agency (www. Working at international organizations Because international organizations based in France are exempt from French work rules.org).600). You can also apply directly to a French university for student status. Working for a French company as a manager or executive If you are a cadre supérieur (manager or executive).aiesec. 41 . If you are in Paris. organized by the French Embassy in New York (www. for example. full-time temporary placements.org/exchange). The rules are even more lax for senior executives with multinational companies. Competition for jobs at international organizations is stiff. and the International Civil Aviation Organization (www.

html). she got an assignment teaching French cuisine to African immigrants. handle the formalities for applicants who have found their own position. that the center isn’t used to finding suitable placements for foreign volunteers. These are offered to students and professionals. An American friend of mine registered with the center but had trouble finding an outlet for her skills. Creating Your Own Business. trainee. think about volunteering for an English-speaking association. Check out the dozens of volunteer work leads at EscapeArtist.org/culture/education/support/internship/index. but it wasn’t the French experience she was expecting! Setting up your own business See Chapter Six. the Association for International Practical Training (www. Volunteering is a common activity in France. Unpaid U. Non-students should inquire at their nearest French consulate.com (www. 42 .S.aipt. Students can apply for three-month internships co-sponsored by the French Embassy in New York (www. AIPT can either make the placement. If you are in France legally and your French is so-so. summer volunteers and non-paid interns of any age or status are welcome to visit France on a tourist visa.info-franceusa. Be aware. contact the Centre Nationale du Volontariat (National Volunteer Center). Eventually. (Refer to the chapter on organizations for a list of such associations. There are thousands of such organizations in France with many thousands of bénévoles (volunteers). Since 1950. or help to arrange short-term informational visits and trade missions. as social life often revolves around the non-profit association. com/efam21/transitions2_jobs. however. has offered on-the-job practical training opportunities in countries around the world.org).html). My friend had a great time. an agency.) If your French is good. or a government office. including France.Working and Living in France Becoming an intern.escapeartist. or volunteer Stagiaires (interns) generally obtain posts as students or recent graduates through their university.

and working as a contractor or employee of the home company. There is no unemployment insurance. and gray While we would never recommend that you do so. statements from your pension plan should be enough to satisfy the authorities. published by the Association of American Wives of Europeans (www. French and foreign. paid vacation. I recommend the excellent book Vital Issues: How to Survive Officialdom While Living in France. Escape Artist’s 43 . One such gray area involves setting up a company in one’s home country. Retiring to France Yes.aarp. Other expatriates in France work in gray areas of which there are many variations. Companies and organizations are much less likely to hire an individual under these conditions. or obtain a suitable French plan. and the cost of living are cheaper.Residency and Work Permits Working black. Because Paris is the most expensive place to live in France. senior care.org/intl) are a terrific resource regarding social security matters as well as for general tips on retiring overseas. These workers accept cash for payment and never declare it to authorities. For more detailed information on retiring to France. you may want to consider retiring to the country. it has to be said that many people. as well as wills and inheritance. rents. entering France on a carte de séjour temporaire visiteur (temporary residency card for visitors) or as a tourist. The downside to working illegally is that neither the worker nor the employer is protected by the law. The book also fields money-related questions involving marriage.org). it is possible to retire to France. To prove you have the financial means. Be sure that your health plan covers you in France.aaweparis. We advise that you exercise extreme caution should you decide to engage in such practices. To this end. white. where real estate. work en noir (illegally) in France. The American Association of Retired Persons’ International pages (www. health. divorce. or pension. We still recommend the three-month dip in France to find your home base and to network with other retirees. you would apply for a long-term visa at the nearest French consulate in your home country after which you would obtain a carte de séjour visiteur.

The law pertaining to this technicality can be found in the Code Civil. and Montana.org/open/archive /anthony. Arkansas.Working and Living in France overseas retirement pages (www.html. Minnesota. If you are a native of a former French territory.escapeartist. Becoming a French citizen A French citizen has the right to work in his or her country. you must demonstrate a good command of the language. South Dakota. you are not required to give up your U. The road to French citizenship is a long one: it requires five years of legal residence as well as proof of complete assimilation into a French community.com/odsamples/foreigntest. Missouri. an understanding of current events as well as proof that you are de bonnes vie et moeurs (not a criminal).S. However. Good legal counsel is advised should you choose to pursue this avenue. Kansas. Iowa. comprising 13 states or parts of states: Louisiana. a native of New Orleans. La Loi du Mars 1998— La Loi du 29 Décembre 1999.html. As such. Colorado.S. The correct answer is yes.overseasdigest. Article 21-19 (5).S. one of the questions the French authorities may ask you in the process of acquiring citizenship is if you are willing to give that up. regardless of your actual intention. for this information. Other recommended reading: “France can be a low tax jurisdiction:” www. Wyoming.) For more information A good first step for more information is the French consulate or a 44 . “How You Can Lose Your U. the five-year residency rule can be waived in some instances.htm) have hundreds of general links.itpa. North Dakota. Social Security Retirement Benefits:” www. Oklahoma. We are not aware of anyone seeking citizenship using this argument. So why not become a citizen? If you are an American citizen. citizenship.. Nebraska. the term “French territory” also technically includes Louisiana Purchase Territories of the U. (My thanks to Francophile Dale Novick. As a matter of interest.com/retirement/havens.

org/visitingfrance.taf?country=France%20Other. • Study Abroad.S.studyabroad.. 45 .fr/vieprat/emploi.edu/college/studyabroad/europe/paris. The university’s study/internship program in Paris. who has helped us with this guide. website: www. Leads on French internships via StudyAbroad.pratique. com/au_pair. If you are in France. consult your prefecture or a locally based immigration attorney.html.html. • The Au Pair Centre on Europa Pages: website: www. Published by the French Government. website: www. assistantships. Contact information for other lawyers is available in the Guide for U.Residency and Work Permits lawyer specializing in French immigration law in your home country.S. in downloadable format. Embassy in Paris. website: www.irs.French civil service information online. • France Pratique.S. U.rochester. website: www.service-public. and au-pair work. • University of Rochester: website: www. website: http://listings.gov/formspubs /index.html. • Service Public.S. Useful links • Embassy of France in the U. Information on full-time work. Legalities of working in France (in French from France Pratique).europpages.fr/etranger/english. student part-time. tax forms. • Internal Revenue Services. lawyer practicing in Paris. We recommend Sam Okoshken.com/sab_tango /sab_exp.S.ustreas.com. Citizens Residing in France published by the U. a U.info-franceusa.

Working and Living in France 46 .

there would be a way. if I found a job. If you don’t have the right to work and live here. first see if your situation lets you take advantage of any special rules and exemptions to the work visa rules mentioned in the previous chapter. your job search may be long and difficult––though not impossible. while on vacation in Provence. I couldn’t even exchange the card for one which would allow me to work should I find a job. Read on for a few suggestions on maximizing possibilities in your home country: 47 . In fact. I must warn you to be realistic. we obtained residency cards called cartes spèciales. While I don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm. (That situation should be changing soon with France’s new “expatriates are impatriates” policy. thinking that it would be a cinch to snatch a full-time job. there was no way around it for me. Because you’re competent and well-educated.Chapter Five Job-Hunting in France Now that you know a bit about the legalities of living and working here. which did not allow me to work. certain that. you’re probably thinking it won’t be too difficult. it’s time to find a job. Take the three-month dip and network in France. He sowed the seeds for the job.) Somehow I refused to process that information. That’s why I ultimately chose to freelance. If you do have the right to work and live in France and your French is excellent. like so many others in my situation. I came to France. your job search will be like any normal one. In fact. by visiting former colleagues who work there. My husband John had secured a job here at an international organization. Realize that you may have an easier time finding a job in a high-demand sector such as the high-technology or hospitality industries. If you don’t have the right to live and work here. Through John’s employer.

The economy had been improving for a few years before Sept. people don’t usually talk about their salaries as it’s generally considered bad taste. or a car. an annual salary of 160.S. For the full survey. the cost of living is lower and social services broader and deeper here. Also. For that same family. with headhunters reporting shortages in certain areas: high-tech. In France. depending on whether they are bragging about their job or complaining about taxes. The job climate The official unemployment rate in France is high (over 9%) and has been for quite some time. • Create a company or set up your current business in France.000) nets 71% for a couple with two children (before taxes). the French tend to talk in either brut (gross) or net (take-home pay not including income taxes). English-language teachers and bilingual secretaries are currently in high demand. Nevertheless.000) nets 64%.apec. such as a computer for home use.finfacts.700 euro ($56.000 euro ($195. hotel and restaurant work.000 euro ($98. • Apply for a position at a French subsidiary and research transfer possibilities. a mere 8% report that they are satisfied with their salaries. According to the Courrier Cadres survey. But when they do. it’s usually talked about in monthly rather than yearly terms. the median salary for a cadre (managerial or executive position) is 45. sales and marketing.. According to a survey by the magazine Courrier Cadres. as well as insurance and banking. But the economy is poor again. The co-payments for such services are taken directly out of one’s paycheck in the U. 48 .fr/index_infosmarche. an annual salary of 80. 11. For information on the comparative cost of living in France see Finfacts Worldwide 2002 Cost of Living Survey (www. If you have working papers and your mother tongue is English.000) per year. • Approach home-based multinational corporations with offices in France. see Enquête Rémunérations 2002 on the Cadres Courrier website (www. Salaries While salaries are generally lower in France than in the U.html). Approximately 62% of cadres receive a perk in the form of equipment.S.htm).ie/costofliving1.Working and Living in France • Contact international headhunters.

Job-Hunting in France The European competition While you may be well-qualified. Bar Exam. Private schools are more likely to hire a non-French teacher than are public schools. but will still eventually have to take the equivalent of the U. organizations. firms in France Job opportunities for Americans at established U. Working at U. The American Chamber of Commerce (www.S. and risk of hiring you? Your combination of skills has to be so attractive and unique that you’ll beat out a whole continent of candidates.S. Contact the French consulate in your home country for more information as there are a few exceptions. the key to finding a job in Paris is to seek out expatriate firms. the makeup of the company will tend to become more French as the subsidiary matures.S. specialized posts. with the exception of a few temporary. The American Hospital of Paris hires a certain number of U. For example. and associations. companies may rely on American employees during the initial stages. Professions requiring French credentials Possessing the right to work in France does not necessarily guarantee the right to work in one’s chosen profession.amchamfrance. lawyer can’t practice in France without obtaining French credentials. employees. firms seeking to establish a presence in France may well be more likely to value the services of U. companies in France are quite limited.S.S. Similarly. a U.S. If you are a professional. a U. As such.S. You’ll also want to acquaint your- 49 .S. Qualified individuals are often given assistance by local firms anxious to retain their services. speak some French and perfect English.S.org) has a complete list of U. While U. New U. Why would an employer go through the bureaucracy. lawyer may increase his or her chances by contacting firms in France catering to expatriates. doctors annually.S. civil servants must be French citizens. cost. keep in mind that there are plenty of good candidates from Britain and Ireland who have the right to work in France. The situation is similar for health care workers and teachers. firms in France for purchase via their website. or to be an exception to the rule.

Working at French companies If you want to work at a French company and don’t currently reside in France.fr).anpe. The ANPE. State Department (www. which has an extensive online jobs listing.gov/m/dghr/hr) and have passed rigorous exams.fusac.ccip. We’ve compiled the following list of places to visit as well as websites that should prove useful whether or not you are currently in France.com). especially the “Interactif” section of Le Monde. list numerous prospects.. One stop you’ll want to make is the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris (The Paris Chamber of Commerce) (www. such as those pertaining to language education and Anglo-French restaurant work. Rules may vary at other embassies. The FACC’s chapters in the U.html).Working and Living in France self with the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Paris (www. posts listings for positions in France as well as world-wide. we recommend the three-month dip to develop contacts and get a feel for the market. published in Paris.state. If you are looking for a job outside of Paris. Working at embassies in France The U. offers career counseling with an expert 50 . may be helpful. The International Herald Tribune (www. The print publication FUSAC (www. such as the San Francisco branch (www. Embassy and consulates only consider applicants with a valid 10-year carte de résident (work permit). the online edition.S. Unless you have the right to work and want a job that is in demand.faccparisfrance. A security clearance is a plus.com). you’ll have to meet people and maximize the possibility that you’ll be in the right place at the right time. particularly in the high-tech sector. visit the local Chambre de Commerce for the area in question.com/frontpage.faccsf.S. carries far fewer.iht. you’ll find however that most French newspapers’ classifieds aren’t yet available online. The French newspapers. contains extensive job listings. There are some sectors that tend to hire consistently.S. Most upper-level positions are filled by Foreign Service Officers who are employees of the U. Agence Nationale pour l’Emploi (National Employment Agency) (www. posts job listings. however.fr).fr) for information on Paris-based companies.

nomade. high-tech jobs in France (www. Temporary work agencies Work through temporary employment agencies is extended to people who already have the right to live and work in France. HotJobs. Except for the top jobs. EU citizens may work for their first three months in France without a carte de séjour..bilinguagroup. com/ijc/joblist.asp).fr).com). International job sites with French pages include OverseasJob. Here’s an inside tip: Madame Claire de Circourt informs me that her relocation firm.eurosearch-consultants. and maintains a sizeable online database of member companies.overseasjobs.htm).S.com).com’s France page (www.fr (www.com) and TM International (www. Femmes & Carrières (www.hotjobs. com/index. accounting. and Spencer Stuart (www.jobuniverse.Job-Hunting in France in your area of specialization. tel. Try Bilinguagroup (www. Leaders-Trust Inter-national (www. Michael Page International (www.fr).com is seeking bilingual staff in her commercial and administrative departments. and International Job Centers (www. Sheila Burgess (www. De Circourt Associates.femmesetcarrieres. 11 rue Royale in the 8th.michaelpage.manpower. Some headhunters in Paris are Eurosearch Consultants (www.com).spencerstuart.com).com/do/where/jobtree/France). cabinets de recrutement (employment agencies) in France are only helpful for the sectors already in demand: the high-tech and bilingual secretarial industries. Egon Zehnder International (www.fr).zehnder. most agencies seek people with working papers. Last but not least.jerryeden.fr).leaders-trust. it’s best to contact an international headhunting agency there first as you’ll want to be available for interviews.sheilaburgessint. as well as the temp agencies listed below. Refer to Les Pages Jaunes (the French Yellow Pages) 51 . (331)43-12-98-00.com).tmi-paris. If you are in the U. and nursing candidates are currently in high demand. Temporary secretarial. Chasseurs de têtes (headhunters) are helpful for executive positions.com (www. e-mail: circourt@homes-paris. Employment agencies and headhunters In my opinion.com). Manpower (www.com). especially in the high-tech fields. check the French employment sites and portals such as Nomade.

net). Some agencies that offer placements to bilingual FrenchEnglish workers include Kelly Services (www.acparis. The basic tools of the job hunt. the French word resumé isn’t used to refer to a summary of job qualifications.kellyservices.S.Working and Living in France (wge.plusinterim. You may be surprised to learn that you must disclose your age and marital status––even affix a photo––on the CV.manpower. the American Church in Paris (www. In light of the numerous French work rules and benefits. Accountemps (www.cadresonline.pagesjaunes.cgi)––under intérim in the directory and under agences d’intérim on the web––for listings for temporary employment agencies. household work or odd jobs. 52 . As no information can be given by phone.com) has good tips.fr). French CVs are usually more classic in style than U. hiring can be an expensive proposition and firing an employee on a contrat de durée indeterminée (permanent contract) can be problematic. You’ll also find that your lettre de motivation (cover letter) is preferred handwritten in fountain pen. Manpower (www. As such. the resumé and cover letter.fr). Curiously. you’re likely to be offered a contrat de durée determinée (temporary contract). you’ll have to stop by to view the ads in person. The French like to hire people with whom they feel comfortable and tend to be rather slow in making a final decision.accountemps. are the same here in principle but different in form. Look at French CVs on the Web for pointers.org) has bulletin boards with numerous postings. the country prefers the Latin term CV for curriculum vitae. Cadres Online (French Managers Online) (www.S. and Plus International (www. ones. Realize that the average French person is more formal. at least initially. French job culture Finding a job at a French company is more “who you know” than in the U. If you get an interview. be well prepared before you cross that cultural threshold.fr/pj. American church bulletin board If you are in Paris and are looking for babysitting.fr).

This is just a paper that says the company is willing to hire you if the Departement de Travail will issue the correct papers. The week after the wedding. as I did. you need to get a new promesse d’embauche. Although this is perfectly legal. as many people will tell you. I got a récépissé de demande de carte de séjour. My situation changed when I got married to a French man. Veronica. a receipt good for six months proving my request for a carte de séjour. for example. This causes many misconceptions. Every three months I left the country long enough to get a stamp in my passport.S. and deferential to authority than the average American. is more like a whole arm pump than a mere squeeze of the hand. For employers who are a bit unsure. It is my experience that large foreign companies are more used to dealing with this and much more willing to go through the process. With this promesse d’embauche a work permit is issued.Job-Hunting in France mannered. such as nanny or sales clerk. think in terms of a more formal dress code than you would for an interview in the U. it was marked that it was not an authorization to work. Real life working in France stories Here are stories by Tracy. In terms of attire. If you decide to change jobs during this six-month period. Also. Tracy’s story “During my first year in France I was on a tourist visa. usually within a week. and Pamela about how they obtained their residency and working papers in France. 53 . At the end of this period I received my carte de séjour from the Departement de Travail. “One catch that I encountered is that this work permit is issued for a six-month period with the name of the company wishing to hire you indicated. “On this card. many companies don’t know the procedure and are a bit skeptical about doing it. I had this paper. Andrea. The French handshake. With this card you have the right to work if you can find a company who is willing to give you a promesse d’embauche. During this time I worked illegally doing odd jobs. be prepared to explain your CV in terms a French person would understand. all you need to do is convince them that it’s a very simple formality.

which is good for 10 years and allows me to work without restrictions. nine months after my arrival. I met two people who had formed a new company and they wanted me to work for them––part-time at first. It was another three months before they processed the papers. etc. unfortunately. I picked up my visa and that was it. I was notified that my visa was ready and I could pick it up.S. I will have the right to ask for a carte de résident. At the end of this period.” Veronica’s story “I came to Paris on a tourist visa to study French at a language school in Paris.S. “My carte de séjour is subject to renewal each year but. I was required to have a medical exam which. While there. I never encountered any. “Unfortunately. with a little begging. Of course actually having this little card entitled me to many experiences with the French bureaucracy to get my social security card. for the visa and they didn’t work quite as fast. This. My employers posted an announcement at the ANPE (French unemployment office) for my position for two months. but planned to try to find a job in some other European country. a demand was made for work papers. having found no suitable French candidate. then full-time. I managed to get without a prior appointment. As circumstances would have it. I was required to go to a consulate in the U. I was not forced to leave the country every three months for a stamp. “The mother of a friend worked at the Paris prefecture and she told us what she thought was the best solution. If I’ve learned one thing it’s to never 54 . The usual round of paperwork was dealt with and. At the beginning I was paid on a consultant basis to my U. “I actually didn’t intend on staying in Paris after my studies. bank account. was not very practical and I wanted to procure working papers. Although I suppose this could have caused problems. renewing my carte de séjour. about two months later.Working and Living in France “After one year of being married I was able to request a carte de residence. after paying taxes for three years. Having no stamp in my passport that proved the date of my arrival. we received a positive response.

I continued to work for the same place. He went back on the condition that the company get me back to France. my boyfriend and I decided to get married. The process took about 10 months. save about 10 copies of every scrap of paper that you receive during your stay in France. So the following year I enrolled in Nanterres in English literature. My lawyer advised me not to put my name on anything. but good because she had connections. After I got my working papers. but in working. The lawyer was difficult and very expensive. “The company hired a lawyer to help us out with the process. No matter how illogical it may seem you will probably need them. kicked me out of the country because they realized I was not really interested in my studies. legally. I came back to France with him on a tourist visa while he made a demand for a regroupement familial. and I requested a change…to working status.” Pamela’s story “I came to Paris in ‘95 to escape corporate America and with the hope that I could find a good job here and a more balanced lifestyle. but that doesn’t allow you to be a student in the real sense of the term. I had to work because we were broke…I did so illegally. I had to leave the country every three months. We stayed in the U. I could have easily gone back to teaching English. “After three years. but I was 55 . The French authorities.S. it took me a while to find a job I really wanted. for eight months and got married. I had heard that CIEE (Council International Educational Exchange) was a great resource if you’re a recent graduate. I was enrolled at the Sorbonne to learn French. then get the right to work. During that time. the most important thing was to be able to live in France legally. which I was not. teaching English. however. “For me.Job-Hunting in France throw anything away. but this time. and get the authorization to work 20 hours a week. My husband got a leave of absence from his company.” Andrea’s story “I first came to Paris in 1990 with my boyfriend. Although I wasn’t supposed to.

giving me the time to keep looking. I had only three-month contracts that were never certain to be renewed. I saw this as an opportunity to stay in France legally (international organizations are authorized to give cartes spéciales for their employees as they are not obligated to conform to French hiring laws) and with a salary. I’d never forgive myself. “At this point. by chance. I’d go back to the States.S. Then. “I hit the pavement and went to several restaurants and bars with not much luck. I was given a six-month contract. I could get a renewal for another three months. I was constantly told to come back for the summer season. It was February and most places wanted someone they knew they could keep on staff for more than three months. without making a substantial effort.Working and Living in France taking a course at American University in Paris and had a current student ID card. I had been in Paris for 17 months and made the decision to devote all of my energies outside my job to finding what I really wanted—something in marketing or communications in a professional capacity––and if I didn’t find anything by the time my contract expired. The restaurant closed within six weeks of me starting and I was out of a job and unsure how long I could remain in Paris. I heard there was a data-entry position for an English speaker at an international organization. and the company is getting me my work papers—the much coveted CDI or contract indeterminée (permanent contract). but after the first nine months. “From my experience. I found a job within three weeks of this decision. which is one reason I believe they hired me. I can say that being willing to accept all types 56 . At first. I was told that. They knew in advance they’d be closing soon and took the risk of hiring me without ever actually processing the three-month papers I had. if I found a job related to my academic studies. I had not been very serious about my professional job search prior to this decision and knew that. if I returned to the U. “I found a job waitressing with a company that. went bankrupt. This was enough to get my three-month working papers from CIEE. “Amazingly. soon after.

website: www.fr.” Useful links • JobUniverse. website: www.ikea.tm.fr. • Initiatives Emploi. 57 .cadremploi. which allowed me to work and live here legally.fr. and luckier still to have found a company that is willing to get me my papers and be patient with the French system. regardless of your professional background. website: www. I was also extremely lucky to have been offered an external post at an international organization.tm.init-emploi. • IKEA. website: www. A French jobs website. • Cadre Emploi. is the key to success. For high-tech jobs in France.Job-Hunting in France of jobs. French jobs site for managers and executives.fr.jobuniverse.

Working and Living in France 58 .

as do all self-employed persons and businesses in France. It’s a different mentality than in the U. Consultant or company? Many expats get stuck in the belief that becoming a consultant or self-employed travailleur indépendant (independent worker) is the best avenue to securing legal and profitable work status in France. However. It is for some.. he found himself so inextricably tied to the French system that it took him 59 . small-business people are often seen as potential tax cheats. especially those serious businesspersons who intend to remain in France for at least several years and can count on pulling in revenue that is about double their living expenses.Chapter Six Creating a Business Setting up a business can mean many things. a Paris-based TV producer. As unemployment is still high in France. health insurance premiums. from being selfemployed––that includes freelancers and consultants––to creating a corporation. which are seen as investment and job creators. Stuart’s dilemma When Stuart. pay burdensome French social charges. pension payments.S. where freelancing is fairly common. To illustrate that point. becoming an independent is not always a viable solution. for example. France does an excellent job of attracting multinational companies but largely ignores the power of small business to create jobs. the country is keen to attract companies. realized a few years back that being a travailleur indépendant had been a big mistake. many people don’t fully realize that a consultant must. Also. Thus. we offer the following case study. income and value-added taxes. as well as professional.

“It may still be inappropriate for a given individual and may be more difficult to transform into other business forms later on. Internal Revenue.urssaf. On the other hand. individual tax return a form that essentially presents their corporate financial data in U. “It’s like putting yourself into the lion’s den. Okoshken says. Independents have to consider whether they are “in an activity where they are exposed to being sued. citizens who choose to create a company. This form of incorporation allows him to reclaim value-added taxes on overseas purchases of film and video equipment. owners of foreign companies have to attach to their U. no upfront capital is necessary to become a travailleur indépendant.S. serve as a barrier between you and your creditors as well as other predators. Okoshken argues that this isn’t a sufficient reason to opt for selfemployed status. (website: www.S. and immigration lawyer Sam Okoshken of Samuel Okoshken & Associates.” Keep in mind that this is only one person’s experience.Working and Living in France months to win back his freedom. “It can be expensive. “In addition. then it’s generally advisable to set up a company that “will. For Stuart. terms. Forming a company may be more appropriate for some self-employed people. It also frees him from charging value-added tax to foreign customers.” says Paris-based tax.600 euro ($9.” URSSAF.” He also points out that a company may offer more flexible tax planning. That’s why Stuart ultimately set up his own société à responsabilité limitée or SARL (limited liability company).500).” Mr.fr) was actually Stuart’s second brush with the French 60 .S. but there are penalties for not doing it.” says Stuart.” If so.S. Such individuals must report their business earnings to French tax authorities as well as to the U. the French agency for the self-employed. “I look at myself still as a freelancer but use the company to regulate everything. Mr. in many instances. I can bill people properly.” Setting up a for-profit company in France requires an initial capital investment of at least 7. There is at least one drawback for U. a native of Britain. “The most basic consideration is a legal one: limitation of liability. business. these tax breaks alone make the difference for him between profit and loss.

after reading the above. so I can hardly complain.” Independent status may well suit you for the short-term. we thought you should know and understand the official line. Once you have your carte de séjour. If you want to consider becoming a company. Illegal workers risk not being paid. 61 . “finally decided to incorporate myself. but you’ll most likely want to start a proper business at some point. (website: www. a carte de séjour is theoretically required first. read on. particularly when inexpensive noir help is so readily available in this field. a translator. which is fairly standard practice for getting legal work status for an independent in the entertainment industry. It ain’t worth it. Stuart experienced great difficulty securing work through the Congé as many employers tend to find the process involved expensive and unwieldy. move onto the next section. For all applicants. it’s a real pain.” Stuart says. Everybody does it but. etc. to save on taxes and social charges. and don’t receive health or other social benefits. URSSAF takes applications directly for non-commercial independents. as I had no idea whether I would actually make any money or not. However.Creating a Business bureaucracy. you still want to become a travailleur indépendant. at the end of the day. After several years as a travilleur indépendant.” Becoming a travailleur independant If.assedic. Stuart still advises independents to acquire legal business status as it offers the most control over the bottom line. I still think it was a good idea to start as an indépendant. signing up is the easy part. that is only because my business is going so well. While we have heard stories of people who sign up at URSSAF Union de Recouvrement de Securité et d'Allocations . “people with the Congé were getting ripped off. “There is a lot of illegal work. Familiales. However. Katherine. In addition. Soon after he first arrived in Paris in 1992. I’ve acquired personal assets (a house. as a travailleur indépendant first and subsequently acquire a carte de séjour from the préfecture.fr) and Congés Spectacles. Simply put.). he signed up with Assedic. car. and I need the protection of a limited liability company. Although he is frustrated with French bureaucracy. Association pour l’Emploi dans l’Industrie et le Commerce.

The process at URSSAF and the other agencies is similar. The bills will start coming one to three months after the application is filed.100) in the first year of business and the same amount in the second year if net falls under approximately 9. Should they earn no income. as well as the tax authorities.500). Payments for the obligatory health insurance is about 900 euro ($1.500 euro ($11.900 euro ($3. However. AF is currently 5.500) for the first year.600). must go to their professional ordre. chamber. This charge reflects a 30% reduction in health insurance charges for startups in the first 24 months of business.4% of net revenue. By the third year.Working and Living in France such as English teachers or freelance writers. or syndicat. URSSAF bills for AF and CSG are based on estimated annual net of about 6. for the first two years of business. Those considering becoming travailleurs indépendants are advised to project their charges and taxes and to be aware of all bookkeeping requirements beforehand. AF and CSG paid in the first year of business are credited at which time a refund is paid or a makeup payment charged. independents will still be expected to pay significant flat or minimum charges. which bill accordingly. Professionals that are reglementé. URSSAF also alerts a caisse maladie (health insurer) and a caisse de retraite (pension fund).100 euro ($7. It’s difficult to generalize how much the average travailleur indépendant can expect to pay out in charges and taxes as many depend on net revenue (i. whose professions aren’t regulated by the state. As a simple rule of thumb. perhaps the biggest benefit of the “loi 62 . while CSG and other surtaxes equal 10%. URSSAF catches up and bills according to actual net in the first year of business. independents should set aside 40% of total earnings to pay charges and taxes other than income tax. such as lawyers and accountants. Keep in mind that your payments into the French social security system start immediately.e. even if income is zero. Commerçants (businesspeople with a product to sell) or artisans (craftspeople) go through their local Chambre de Commerce. Some independents suggest a budget of approximately 2. earnings after expenses). URSSAF itself bills independents for allocations familiales (aid to families with dependent children) as well as for contribution sociale généralisée (supplemental welfare tax). Our discussion here is limited to this professional category.

two distinct tax regimes with distinct rules about bookkeeping and allowable deductions.600). the charge is 12. The tax authorities require self-employed persons to choose between spécial. While people in this regime can’t bill TVA. The Direction General des Impôts collects income tax as well as value-added tax (TVA) and audits travailleurs indépendants. whose members run less of a chance of being 63 . and declaration controlée. Pension payments vary widely according to the caisse. Travailleurs indépendants have varying views about the value of joining an Association Agréée. for example. Independents are automatically assigned a caisse based on the description they give to URSSAF of their professional activity. This tax category offers highly simplified bookkeeping and an automatic flat deduction of 25% representing business expenses. There are four caisses maladies to choose from. Caisse de Retraite de l’Enseignement et des Arts Appliqués. Language teachers. The special regime can be selected if total earnings are less than 15. In subsequent years. they join an Association de Gestion Agréée.400).4% of net. Last but not least are the tax collectors. which is a blessing. the charge is fixed at 360 euro ($450) plus 1. évaluation administrative which is rarely used. potential travailleurs indépendants can calculate their estimated tax.85% of net less 30% for those in the second year of business. no payment is due if net falls under 2. administrative and legal questions.240 euro ($18. Declaration controlée requires serious and detailed bookkeeping but can offer significant tax breaks. Above that level. within the first three months of starting their business. they also can’t recover TVA paid for equipment and other business purchases.Creating a Business Madelin” (Madelin Law) that came into effect in 1994. a non-profit group that helps professional independents with accounting. people under this regime might reduce their taxable income by 20% if. For example. If net is greater than 9.500 euro. are assigned to CREA. Once the regime is selected.800 euro ($3. No payment is due the first year. but all tend to offer similar services: a 50% reimbursement on routine medical services and 100% on maternity and long-term hospitalization.

Creating a company There are a variety of corporate structures in France of which the most common are: • Société anonyme (SA). requires at least seven shareholders and a minimum capital (in cash.’ Why worry about a nightmare audit? (And it does happen!)” Rodger. a limited liability company similar to an American corporation. Any member who does not comply with their rules to the letter gets snitched on to the tax authorities by the association. An SA. kind. the association will harass the member to no end and require ‘personal interviews’ for accounting review. “The 20% tax reduction is a weak argument unless your net income is subject to an income tax of more than 760 euro ($930). “The accounting aspects are minor when compared to the significant income tax break you get as a member. the lessened probability of a full-fledged income tax audit.” Sam Okoshken is a proponent of the Association Agréée and says. An annual official audit is required. in the interest of doing good business. and do help members keep their accounting straight. which can be quoted on the stock exchange. As for the effort required. ‘a stitch in time saves nine.” and adds that “the Association Agréée requires you to submit your bookkeeping and tax filings in the first quarter of each year.100 euro ($46.” With regard to the bookkeeping classes. Unless the accounting records submitted are perfect. also a travailleur independent. As Katherine puts it.” Professional tax requirements vary from locale to locale and are based on a complex formula including such factors as size of office space. or both) of 38. Inquire about minimums at the local Centre des Impôts. is less enthusiastic about these organizations. Rodger says they “are not very frequent nor do they go into any great depth. he says.000). 64 . “Who wants to risk an audit? They offer some very interesting training seminars. A novice will have a tough time reconstituting a balance. and a somewhat fraternal organization which tries to keep its members on the straight and narrow. In light of the membership dues.Working and Living in France audited by the income tax department. including a balance of assets and liabilities.

lawyers.com.investinfrance. France has tried to trim the red tape with the creation of Centres de Formalités des Entreprises (Business Formalities Centers) (www.fr/cfe/sommaire/sommaire. is needed to create an EURL or SARL. a limited liability company suited to smaller organizations and startups. Embassy in Paris. It’s almost a one-stop shop for creating a business.S. an EURL is easier and. inexpensive to create. Otherwise. The CFE handles all necessary registrations with governmental agencies. You’ll need to apply for a visa de long séjour and a carte de commerçant (foreign traders’ card) before you move to France.htm). For personal consultation. contact Jean Taquet. The bureaucracy involved in setting up a company can be daunting.300). However.620 euro ($9. Dealing directly with a CFE shouldn’t be a problem if your French is good and you have time for the paperwork.S.org).com) maintains a multi-lingual website and is a valuable resource for basic information. There are still some formalities you must handle yourself: registering with the tax authorities. Two outstand- 65 . e-mail: taquet@insiderparisguides. The French Chamber of Commerce has all necessary applications. The other forms of incorporation can set you back at least 760 euro ($920). Accounts must be registered with the Tribunal de Commerce. at approximately 150 euro ($182). The Agence pour la Création d’Entreprise (www.620 euro ($9300). We recommend Jean Taquet. 7. Citizens Residing in France published by the U. your first step should be to contact the French Embassy or consulate in your home country or the nearest Invest in France agency (www. and agencies who can help you for a fee. If you are a sole proprietor. and depositing the share capital. If you are not yet in France. you may wish to become an enterprise unipersonnelle à responsabilité limitée (EURL).apce. there is no dearth of advisers. but there are more legal and accounting obligations for EURLs. The same amount of capital. Contact information for other lawyers is available in the Guide for U. you may apply for the carte de commerçant separately.Creating a Business • Société à responsabilitié limitée (SARL). who is the author of the Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France. If you are already in France with a residency permit.ccip. An SARL requires two shareholders and capital of at least 7.

A commercial agent negotiates in the name of a producer. In any event. We’ve heard of expats who have formed associations for the sole purpose of ensuring themselves a job. the office must ensure that the business conforms to a somewhat rigid definition. Creating a business presence in France Short of creating a business. cultural. creating one is at least as involved as creating an SARL. manufacturer. Creating an association Creating a non-profit association is relatively easy in France.” We don’t want to scare people who have a legitimate reason to associate. directors or officers of the association may not receive a salary or any other form of remuneration from the association. sports.Working and Living in France ing books in French on creating a business are: Créer une Entreprise en Profession Libérale. and philanthropic organizations oper- 66 . you can easily develop a market in France through distribution or agency agreements with French firms and individuals. religious. there are many abuses of the classification.amazon. and commercial activity is prohibited.fr/brocexco/bsit_1. Its activities aren’t taxable in France and foreign personnel aren’t required to obtain a carte de commerçant. Also see accounting firm Cabinet Bruno Broc’s links for starting a company: http://perso. both by Maryse Migliore and available through online booksellers like www. most businesses opt for a liaison office. While there is a minimum of bureaucracy. or merchant whereas a distributor purchases and resells goods for his or her own account. Other options are opening a bureau de représentation (liaison office) or a succursale (branch office). Thus. The activities of a liaison office are essentially limited to marketing.htm. Because non-profits enjoy substantial tax breaks.fr. Sam Okoshken strongly advises against the practice and says.wanadoo. While a branch office can engage in business. While this may not actually allow you to live and work in France. in order to avoid being classified as a taxable entity. and Créer une Entreprise en Prestataire de Services. Many educational. “It is not intended to be used by a commercial or other profit-seeking enterprise. it may be a good first step.

Creating a Business ate legally as nonprofits.ccip. Here are the basics: People can organize into nonprofit associations freely and without declaring themselves to the government. You may also need to declare your association at a CFE if you have employees or if your products or services are taxable. Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris (The Paris Chamber of Commerce). 67 . or seek justice.centragestliberal. buy or sell in its name. after which you can request publication in the Invest in Journal Officiel (www. even if some or all of their members are foreigners.fr. to exist legally. fast. the French government journal that makes it all legal. However. be eligible for aid. website: www.journal-officiel.gouv. • Centragest-Libéral. is simple.com. An association agréée for professions libérales (non-regulated self-employed workers). Useful links • CCIP.fr). an association must be declared. its officers and administrators. website: www. Inclusion in the journal will cost approximately 45 euro ($55). and free. as well as copies of the association’s statutes. Keep in mind that you cannot become eligible for a residency card by creating an association as a for-profit business. the préfecture will issue the association proof of your declaration within five days. If your dossier is in order. The dossier should include basic information on the association. Making a declaration by dossier to the local préfecture.

Working and Living in France 68 .

there is paperwork involved. to France. While converters and transformers affect the voltage of electronic and electrical devices.bhv. The general idea is that you are going to use these items for personal use. the general rule is that you may bring your “personal and household effects” without incurring duties. transformers are for long-term use with high-watt electronics (such as home stereos). We nearly ruined an air cleaner and vacuum cleaner by trying to run them with transformers. Note that while converters are for short-term use with lowwatt electrical devices (such as razors). such as refrigerators.asp. you’ll have to purchase transformers or converters plus plug adapters and may experience a drop in performance. The rules are entirely different if you are importing new goods for sale. whereas U.S. particularly with respect to pets and cars. We purchased most of our transformers and French plug ends at the department store.Chapter Seven Making the Move If you are moving to France permanently.ambafrance-us.org/intheus/customs/1000. rather than sell them for profit.S. and that you’re not going to bring in drugs. Please see the Embassy of France in the U. French current is 220 volts/50 cycles. website for conditions: www. Don’t bring the appliances. they don’t alter cycles. Of course. BHV (www. and other dangerous products. For those coming into France on a carte de séjour visiteur with a substantial number of personal effects. firearms. 69 . but do bring… I don’t recommend bringing large U. legal adviser Jean Taquet recommends requesting a demande de franchise (waiver of customs) from the French consulate that issues the visa. electric appliances. current is 110 volts/60 cycles. If you do.fr).S.

Working and Living in France We recommend that you purchase kitchen appliances here either second-hand or new and resell them upon departure. There is a good market for used appliances in France. For larger second-hard appliances, think ahead about how you’ll transport your bargain home, as delivery is not usually included. We bought our new appliances at Darty (www.darty.fr) and purchased second-hand through ads in FUSAC. Lamps purchased in the U.S. will work here with a change in the plug and a French light bulb; no transformer is needed. Newer PCs and other computer electronics sold in the U.S. are dual voltage and generally don’t need transformers. You will, however, need French plugs and cables. A surge protector purchased in France is recommended. Of course, battery-powered items will work just fine here. As one reader of WLIF noted with respect to power tools, “For some, the charger worked with the transformer. For others, I found the equivalent local charger, which still was less expensive than the tool. For the power tools, I bought new ones. Just as with kitchen appliances, things are made differently here, and it has been a joy to experience European tools. U.S. tools will work with a transformer, [though] slightly slower” (due to the difference in cycles). Because your U.S. television won’t pick up live French signals, you’ll most likely need to purchase a European set. However, if you have an extensive U.S. video collection, and don’t want to give that up, you must bring the U.S. boob tube and VCR, because chances are that your tapes either won’t work here or will play only in black and white on a French TV set and VCR. You’ll obviously need transformers to run them unless they are “multi-format” (i.e. designed to run in both the U.S. and Europe). If you’re in the market for a new TV and video, we recommend that you buy in multi-format. Note that both U.S. TV and video run on the NTSC standard, as opposed to the French SECAM standard. Newer televisions in France can play SECAM as well as PAL, the standard elsewhere in Europe. Used French TVs are highly sought after because second owners can temporarily avoid the dreaded annual audiovisual tax (about $100 per year). When in doubt about whether your electrical device will work in France without a transformer or adapter, read the fine print on the back

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Making the Move of the item or ask the manufacturer. Newer devices may tolerate a range of volts and cycles that work in both the U.S. and Europe. Also visit the following informative websites about buying transformers, multi-system TVs and VCRs, dual-voltage appliances, plug adapters, and telephone conversion jacks: • DVD Overseas Electronics: website: www.dvdoverseas.com/voltage_ converters.htm. • World Gift Center: website: www.world-import.com/info.htm. • Global Connections: website: http://globalconnections-int.com/converters%20&%20transformers.htm. Magazines, such as Que Choisir (www.quechoisir.org) and 60 Million des Consommateurs (www.conso.net), rate consumer goods for value and performance.

What about the furniture?
Note that furnished apartments cost more to rent in France than do unfurnished apartments. When deciding whether to rent furnished or not, consider the length of your stay, whether you or your company is paying for the move, the costs of storage in your home country, and how much it will cost to outfit an apartment in France, be it from the wonderful antiques stores, the fabulous flea markets, or from stores like IKEA (www.ikea.fr). There are four IKEA stores in the suburbs, all of which are accessible via public transportation. They offer a delivery service as well as online shopping. Although my husband came on a one-year contract, we gambled on three and rented an unfurnished apartment. Prior to our move, we bought new furniture from IKEA and a futon shop in the U.S., and had it shipped to France on the company tab. We decided to buy at IKEA in the U.S. rather than France as prices are about 20% more here due to high sales taxes. Another popular store for outfitting the home is Habitat (www.habitat.net/open_france.htm).

Finding a mover
Unless you have few belongings, most people opt for contracting with a moving company to ship their goods abroad. We recommend

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Working and Living in France that you obtain bids from three different companies. A representative from the company will come to your home, eyeball what has to be moved and make an estimate. You may opt to transport some of your goods by air as the shipped items will take several weeks to arrive. What may be tricky is timing the arrival of your shipped goods with the beginning of the lease on your new apartment. In any case, moving companies generally offer storage services. Some reputable international movers are: • Allied Arthur Pierre, website: www.alliedarthurpierre.com. • Tower, website: www.towermovers.com. • Grospiron, website: www.grospiron.com. • Interdean, website: www.interdean.com. • Neer Service Movers, website: www.neerservice.fr. Keep in mind that the moving company will not insure items you pack yourself. A good moving company can offer advice on customs and the required French paperwork, such as the inventaire detaillé (detailed inventory), which is a list of all your items going into France. Also see the section below on pets.

Relocation companies
Relocation companies offer services, which range from finding accommodations to assisting in car, appliance, and furniture purchases. These companies can also provide information on schools and the community. Some well-known relocation companies are: • Cosmopolitain Services Unlimited, website: www.cosmopolitan services.com. • Isiparis, website: www.isiparis.com. • CMI (Consulting Moving International), website: wwwcmiae. com/en/index.htm. Diana Morales, an expat relocation assistant formerly at Cocitra (www.cocitra-relocation.com), says, “Our main job is finding suitable housing. Generally we’re hired by a company to help their employees find housing in a reasonable amount of time so they lose the least

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We warn them that there are not likely to be closets and parking. We also get their home insurance ready and set up basic utilities: telephone. When they choose their home.” Diana finds that a great deal of her time is spent preparing the employee for what to reasonably expect.” She finds that her clients have many questions in the first month. and that the floors are hardwood. we talk to the employee [to] find out what they want.) Will the owner buy sheets for the furnished apartment? (Probably not. she sets up a day to visit them all with the prospective tenant.) The company. Morales says very few individuals contract with the company. gas. and American clients. Once it’s accepted we set up a time to sign the lease and do the inventory and we even sign for them.” Diana. who works mostly with British. We try to clear up those things beforehand. One little known service that Cocitra provides for certain clients is “Loca-Pass. The following are a few of Diana’s favorites: Do pigeons fly into apartments? (Not likely.Making the Move amount of work and are comfortably installed as quickly and as easily as possible. It’s mostly companies who provide the service for employees moving to France. We act as a go-between if they don’t speak French.) Can we add a chain lock on the door? (Probably with permission. finds Americans to be least satisfied with accommodation size and cost. which she tries to answer as respectfully as possible. We research homes that fit their description. a neighborhood orientation tour. a maintenance contract for the furnace. can also set up cable TV. for an additional fee. Norwegian. and a school search. “We go and pick up the person and take them to visit the apartments. electricity. German.” the rental guarantee and the security deposit that is usually equivalent to two months’ rent. people under 30. “A lot of people want old buildings. (Note: Diana has moved onto another job. but we’ve retained her comments because they describe the process so well. The service is geared for employees of companies. send them a questionnaire [and] go over that with them.) 73 . In our basic service. Ms. After Diana searches for available apartments. and water. and students. if necessary. we get the application prepared and do all the talking to the agency.) Can we paint or add something? (Probably with permission.

Temporary lodgings If you are on a three-month dip or need time to find your long-term apartment. and make the rounds of the real-estate agents. We suggest you search the Internet. 3-4 pieces meuble metro exelmans dans un bel immeuble ancien avec ascenceur. There are three options: a cheap hotel.fr). Residence hotels and apartments come equipped with kitchens. digicode. Agent: Cabinet Joujon. oven.lefigaro. and freezer. Reading a classified ad Here’s a typical ad that we’ll decode for you.Working and Living in France Finding accommodations Finding a rental is difficult in France because there is no single realestate market and no central information service as such. a fully equipped kitchen (a nice bonus!) including a washer and dryer. a living room. or even to find an apartment or home to purchase. If you want assistance in locating an apartment to rent short. bel appartement compose d’une entree. lave vaisselle. The latter is hard to find for a term beyond one week and less than one year because these rentals aren’t lucrative for the owner.fusac. (www. a residence hotel.fr).com. a dining room. and De Particulier à Particulier (Person to Person) (www. France-Soir.fr). refrigerator. frigo et congelateur. contact Porter Scott at parisrentals@InternationalLiving. FUSAC (www.fr).or long-term.francesoir. d’un sejour. It’s near shops and transportation. pres des commerces et des transports. or an apartment. scour the classified ads. d’une cuisine entierement equipee lave et seche linge. Cabinet joujon This ad is for a three to four room apartment near the Métro stop Exelmans in a beautiful old building with elevator and a coded access at the door. you’ll probably opt for temporary lodgings in France. stovetop. which makes dining at 74 .pap. fours plaques. This “beautiful apartment” is comprised of a foyer. With regard to Paris. d’une salle a manger. look at the classified ads in the following publications: Le Figaro (www.

My general advice is to live close to work or schools and take public transportation to play.Making the Move home an option. we contracted sight-unseen for a 30-square meter apartment at $2. Although it may seem ideal to live in the center of Paris. and 20th.com.000 per month. contact Porter Scott at parisrentals@InternationalLiving. It still worked out cheaper than a hotel when we took into account the cost-saving advantage dining at home would provide. a sprawling park. because it was close to my husband’s work and close to the Bois de Boulogne. If that scares you. In the big city. and rental taxes. Before our big move. cities are usually run-down while the suburbs are considered desirable places to live. For short-term rentals. For apartments. Cheaper rents apply outside of city limits and in other parts of France. The monthly rental charge doesn’t usually include charges. especially for two-bedroom apartments.30 per square foot). Others dislike the 16th because they find it snobbish. according to the magazine De Particulier à Particulier. U. which are fees covering utilities common to the building. Long-term rentals Rental prices in Paris are a benchmark for the country. it’s now a seller’s market. While Paris has some posh suburbs. I chose the 16th. Note that. the word banlieue in France has about the same connotation as “inner city” does in the U.pap. in France.S. www. There is a shortage of desirable rentals.fr. 75 . As a rule of thumb. The cheapest arrondissements were the 18th. A very common question about Paris is: What arrondissements are the best? I find that there is no cut-and-dried answer.S. 19th. It is the tenant’s responsibility to pay for the annual checks of individual apartment furnaces or chimneys and the municipal taxe d’habitation (property tax). you’ll be subletting or working through an agency. keep in mind that the city’s millions of tourists tend to gravitate to the area. leases usually run for three years. as landlords don’t sign leases for less than a year. and the most expensive was the 6th. note that tenants can terminate a lease with one to three months’ notice should their employment situation change. which also happens to be a favorite of American expats for its proximity to American schools. elevator maintenance costs. such as water. The price for an apartment is around 20 euro per square meter ($2.

and highrises built after 1980. Similarly. state-owned companies that have a unified customer operation. your passport.fr—click on the British flag for the site in English). buildings built after 1960. House rentals. visit your local EDF/GDF center.francetelecom. and the agency fees (often one-month rental). To establish service. be prepared with a caution (deposit) of one to two months. The housing situation in Paris is so tight that your application might be refused just because you are a foreigner. electric. (Tenants need not be concerned about water distribution.Working and Living in France No matter where you live. and telecommunications—is quick and efficient in France. At the signing of the lease. while uncommon in Paris. you’ll generally be required to produce a copy of your lease. landlords will want to know that you can afford the rent. don’t hesitate to avail of the company’s free English-language help line at 0800-36-4775. via the web. be prepared to commit as soon as you see the apartment. may be found in the suburbs and in other parts of the country.) Electricity and gas are handled by Electricité de France and Gaz de France (EDF/GDF) (www. but may lack the closet space and underground parking of newer buildings. Furnished apartments are rare as they are generally on the market only in cases where the owners will be away for several years. find the nearest office of France Telecom (www. To open an account. There are three types of apartment houses: old buildings. It is not out of the question for the landlord to ask for one year’s rent in advance.com to hook up telecommunications service). If you are renting a house. Unfurnished apartments have unequipped kitchens and may even lack kitchen cabinets. Older apartments certainly have their charms. Comprehensive household insurance is mandatory. a one-month advance. Telecommunications and utilities Hooking up utilities—gas. as the building management handles this. and an RIB (see the section on Paying bills) 76 . As such. ask your landlord about water provisions. Since this site can be difficult to navigate if your French is iffy. Landlords offer either furnished or unfurnished apartments.edf. Either you must have the bucks yourself or have a guarantor.

a service sold through Primus Telegroup and resellers such as Affinity Telecom (www. used to be the only telecom company. You may be able to purchase telephones that are compatible with France Telecom’s service at department stores and other shops. or in cash at the post office. We pay our landlord.onetel.fr). France Telecom. For inexpensive cellular and long-distance service outside your region and internationally—I recommend Global Access. France Telecom will accept Carte Bleue and foreign credit cards at its office at 123. 77 . a mobile telephone package.htm). money order.Making the Move or 215 euro ($270) deposit in cash or check. rue La Fontaine in the 16th arrondissement and at 57. Most people pay by prélèvement automatique from a euro bank account. a tearout form in the back of a French checkbook that lists account and bank numbers. To do this.affinitytele. as well as the company’s Wanadoo Internet access. and one France Telecom bill using this method and have never had a problem with the service. France Telecom will be happy to sell you a telephone. formerly entirely state-owned. EDF . Paying bills There are various ways to pay utility and other recurring bills. For its part. The money you owe is automatically taken out of your bank account each payment period. you must send the TIP together with a RIB. Due to deregulation. To set one up. which works automatically from your phone line with no special access number. the bank requires a written request for the prélèvement automatique. Shop around. The post office will charge a nominal fee for cash payments. the payee must request a relevé d’identité bancaire (RIB). You may also pay by check.Tel (www. rue des Archives in the 3rd. Another method is to pay with a titre interbancaire de paiement or TIP. which alerts your bank to pay the other party’s bank. My friends recommend One.com/Spectra-France. there are now many new players.

com).com/portail/pg_intro. which offers savings up to 25% on frequently dialed numbers. but all except one has gone out of business.com) and Chello (www. on the other. Local telephone service is about two euro ($2. keep in mind that you will have to pay for each telephone call made.22) an hour off-peak. and that one is 78 . Câble Wanadoo (France Telecom) (www. (There were a few ISPs who provided completely free service. which is available in many areas of France. there are the “fee” providers.Working and Living in France Internet access Internet access is available through the telephone lines as well as by cable. Cable operates over a dedicated coaxial cable that runs into the home.numericable. By free we mean that access is free whereas telephone service is not. There are many telephone Internet access providers to choose from in France.chello. as cable operators have monopolies over certain areas. With ADSL.cablewanadoo. If you want cable access. which requires the purchase of a modem for about 150 euro ($185). excluding installation fees and deposits.noos. consider cable or high-speed ADSL access (a high-tech telephone line service).44) an hour at peak rates and one euro ($1. How to choose between cable and telephone access? If you are considering standard access through your telephone line.htm) operates throughout Marseille. Noos (www. France Telecom does offer discounts that benefit frequent users such as their Primaliste service. for example. you can telephone and surf the web through the same line. Count on higher bills if you live in a remote location and must make a toll call to access the net. The fees for unlimited cable access start at about 30 euro ($37) per month. if you use the Internet frequently.fr) (formerly Cybercâble) operates in the Paris area. Some Internet service providers now offer packages that include the underlying telephone service. France Telecom offers ADSL access at about 45 euro ($55) per month. offers 10 hours of access at 8 euro ($10) a month and up to 60 hours for 23 euro ($28). France Telecom’s Wanadoo service. your choice is set. On the one hand. Local calls are not included in the monthly fee. thus freeing up your telephone line. there are free providers. Still. Other players include Numéricâble (www.

you may drive with your home country license.”) As for whether to retain your home country ISP or use local providers. If you are a frequent business traveler. you might wish to continue service if they have a local.fr) and Club Internet (www. you’ll need French plugs and wires. such as AOL and CompuServe. toll-free French number for access. You’ll find this equipment at bigger hardware and department stores.fr) is a reputable one. belong to international networks. you may prefer to use a free provider. We regretted having to change our e-mail addresses. but there is a great French website (www. look into Ipass (www. In many cases. Occasional users may find it most cost-effective to access the Internet at a local cybercafe or at the American Library.fr (www. Other home country ISPs might carry a substantial surcharge for French access. We found it cheapest of all to switch from our U. To connect your computer (if it has an internal modem) or modem to the phone jack. keep in mind that bigger ISPs. Free.lesprovider. An international driving 79 . what mainly drives expats mad is the need for French drivers’ licenses.ipass.fr) are very popular paid services.) In deciding between free and fee providers.aol. If you are in France for 90 days or less (i. If you’re more experienced. on a tourist visa). Compuserve account to Noos.e. (See the section “Logistics for the Dip. it means going back to driving school! We have heard of several expats who have driven with foreign licenses for years without incident.S.Making the Move not accepting new customers.club-internet. despite the fact that we live in Paris. Driving you mad Besides the crazy French traffic circles.free.” we recommend using a fee provider. Thus.com). but thought it was about time to secure permanent email addresses independent of our access provider! We created our current e-mail addresses through our alumni associations. Check with your provider for details. If you are a “newbie.com) that compares the pros and cons of all French ISPs. the deciding factor should pertain to service. AOL France (www. but we don’t advise it. There are too many to list here.

Kansas.pdf) is the best source for information on new agreements. This period is intended to give you time to obtain your French driver’s license. Connecticut. on a carte de séjour). it is suggested that you carry an international license (or a bona fide French translation of your permit) along with the home license.com/scripts/WebObjects. Florida. and only if. In order to avoid attending driving school. Beware of scam artists! The U. your state has an agreement with France. If your home government doesn’t have an agreement. Consulate in Paris (www. The U. There are two Canadian provinces with reciprocal agreements: Quebec and Newfoundland. Students are entitled to drive with their home country permit for the duration of their studies. If you are entitled to legally drive with a license from one of these states or provinces. and Virginia.tripod.aaa. The fee for an international license is $10. visit www.ca/canada europa/france/consulaire/permisqc-en.S. Michigan.dfait-aeci. Illinois.gc.dll/ZipCode) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance club (www.fr/Sara_Sara/ 80 . For more info. apply for a French driver’s license at your local préfecture in your French city of residence at least three months before the recognition period expires. However. There are currently 13 U. Delaware. There are two ways to obtain a license: by exchanging it. research whether your country or region of residence has an agreement with France. If you reside in France for more than 90 days (i.asp.nationalautoclub. which is time-consuming and expensive. If you are ineligible for an exchange. states with such agreements: Colorado. Kentucky. New Hampshire. Member countries of the European Union and European Economic Area all have agreements. South Carolina. State Department has authorized only two sellers of International permits: the AAA (www.fr/consul/guideoas/driving. your home license is valid for a oneyear period beginning from the date your residency permit becomes valid. perhaps you can lobby for one. we recommend the Fehrenbach Driving School in Paris (http://membres.S.Working and Living in France permit alone won’t do.e. which is possible if.com).amb-usa.S. Ohio. or by taking the written and driving portions of the French licensing exam. Pennsylvania.

As such. If your animal is small enough to fit under your seat. the airline may allow you to take the pet on board.Making the Move Driving/Drive.asp for full information and printable health certificates. A representative from the airline will most likely check that the paperwork is in order.ambafrance-us. Pets Note that pets are not subject to quarantine upon entering France such as they are in the U. One problem expats have. A pet tranquilizer can limit the stress. car owners may obtain French plates at most service stations. You’ll need to start the process at least four months ahead of time. We were required to carry a rabies certificate and transport her in an airline-approved case (available in most pet stores). which provides an English-language translation of the French driver’s manual for its students as well as a translator for the driving exam. but our cat survived the trip. I’ve heard horror stories about animal fatalities in cargo compartments. With this carte grise (registration). ask if there are special courses for non-French speakers. particularly in Paris.K. However. For other driving schools. (See the Money and Finance chapter’s section on insurance. A friend.S. we cleared customs with a wave.) Seat belts are mandatory in France and passengers under the age of 10 are required to ride in the back seat. Residents of France must register their cars at the préfecture. website at www. Good quality pet food is more expensive in Paris than in the U. it’s advisable to contact your airline with respect to what paperwork is required.org/intheus/customs/7000. While airline personnel did review our paperwork. they will need up-to-date rabies shots and medical checkups. or professional who can translate may accompany you on the driving test. A friend of mine 81 .S. U-turns are illegal (though everyone does it!) and the speed limit is 50 km/h in town unless otherwise stated. Our cat needed a checkup and current rabies shot after which she was required to wear a collar with a rabies tag. as they travel widely. is finding pet sitters. Traffic must yield to vehicles priorité à droite (coming from the right). and can be purchased through your veterinarian or pet shop. relative.html). All drivers are required to carry valid insurance. See the Embassy of France in the U.

Internet sites require a U. • Paris Hotel Service. You’ll be required to provide a street address. or whomever. the Jfax service (www. website: www. This service forwards both voicemail and faxes via email.) • L’Internaute. 47 rue St. website: www. Gittins speaks English. They offer legal international drivers’ licenses online. screens out junk mail and automatically debits a credit card for monthly fees. This French site publishes a weekly ranking of ISPs. • Maintain a “virtual” home-country address—a street address rather than a P.S.com. website: www. this practice makes online shopping more convenient.O.com/surfer/witbe/index.InternationalLiving. for example. I also have a free subscription to Efax (www. 82 .efax. (Helps find hotels. who runs a business called Expat Petsitting (http://mapage.com). Charles..com/ htmlidp. Tips for keeping in touch with home • International phone rates are dropping. such as Mail Boxes Etc.com.com). which I find useful. Gittins.nationalautoclub.Working and Living in France had a great experience with Michael House. Many of these great tips come from Lee Harrison.S. • The National Touring Club. • Keep a U. a correspondent for International Living (www.shtml. and make sure you can manage your account over the Internet. Useful links • Insider Guide to Good Value Paris Hotels.com). Dr.iconnecthere. As some U. • Hire a mail-forwarding service.insiderparisguides.com). website: www.linternaute. but some people swear by Internet telephony.noos. tel.parishotelservice. phone number through. Try DeltaThree (www. 15th arrondissement.html.j2.S. address. I can personally recommend the Clinique Vétérinaire du Dr. Mail Boxes Etc. parent.fr/expatpetsitting). Box—of a friend. (331)40-59-04-76. or apartments at no fee to you. residences.S. in the U.

France has a highly regarded system of public preschool. and they survived admirably.scola. In this regard. I enthusiastically recommend the AAWE Guide to Education.htm. and secondary education. published by the Association 83 . The public-school system is supplemented by a variety of private schools: parochial. website: www. “American mothers with children in French schools are much more traumatized by the whole experience than their kids are. Her witty book is recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand the cultural nuances of Franco-American family life. Montessori (www. international. elementary. In her book French Toast. Paris is chock-full of alternative schooling opportunities for English-speaking expats.montessorienfrance. 5th Edition. from the age of two.fr. • Les Sections Internationales de Sèvres. website: http://lyc-balzac. • Lycée International de St-Germain-en-Laye.com/frmenu1.com/html /ecoles. Harriet Welty Rochefort (www. There are even some public international schools such as: • Lycée Honoré de Balzac. One is now in a grande école (a state-supported university for the elites) and the other is attending a French university.com) writes.” She sent her boys to French public schools.Chapter Eight Education It’s a nightmare for many an English-speaking maman to even think about sending her little ones to school in France. national.htm).hwelty. wanadoo.fr/association. website: http://perso. and bilingual schools.lycee international.sis.ac-paris.

to: AAWE Publications. The demand for places in the crèches and maternelles exceeds supply. may also prove useful. a handbook published by the Message Mother Support Group (www. listing playgroups and nursery schools in the Paris suburbs. Her second child entered at five months. addresses.fr. others are delighted at how well their children behave within the group. The maternelle (preschool) is free of charge and accepts all toddlers starting at the age of three. State-certified caregivers—assistantes maternelles and assistantes familiales—can provide care in either the minders or the parents’ home.org). many mothers apply for a place in the crèche as soon as they become pregnant. Most French parents send their children to these preschools as they have an excellent reputation.Working and Living in France of American Wives of Europeans (www. an explanation of the French educational system. guidelines. tel. payable to AAWE. please send a check. 20 euro ($25) within Europe.aaweparis. you might consider enrollment at a preschool in your neighborhood. free to members. Many Americans are surprised at the large class size of the maternelles. 75115 Paris. This informative guide includes a complete listing of English language and bilingual schools located throughout France. The ABCs of Motherhood in Paris. offered for infants starting at three months of age whose parents both work full-time. and more. France. has both of her children in a crèche. Prices (including postage) are: 18 euro ($22) within France. Preschool through highschool The French public school system starts with the state-subsidized crèche (nursery). helpful references. Mandatory education starts at the age of six. My friend Samantha. and 22 euro ($27) in the U.S. “The crèche is so great if you want to go back to work. To obtain a copy. e-mail: aawe@wanadoo. When your child turns three. (331)40-70-11-80. which has chapters on educational activities as well as playgroups and preschools. 31 avenue de New York.messageparis. at 14 84 .org). It provides a stimulating environment.” She talks about her eldest who. Payment is on a sliding scale according to income. As such. sports and cultural activities. As Samantha puts it. The association also publishes a leaflet. who works full-time.

she admits. including the AAWE guide. I ask them what [they] do when [they] discipline a child. (Her French husband speaks French to the children. Now she is a fan. Samantha takes them to Message Paris meetings and seeks out English-speaking friends. She recommends that parents start applying a year ahead of time.Education months. Patricia feels that her choice of school for first grade will be important because her child will be there at least through collège (middle school). With children that are exceptional on either end of the spectrum?” She believes that many schools try to eliminate students that don’t pass the baccalauréat (exam leading to a high-school diploma). which she found helpful. “I started it suspicious. Debby enrolled her teenager Alexis at Ecole Active Bilingue Jeanine Manuel (www.) There are several downsides. having considered crèche schooling in response to a bad experience with in-home childcare for her eldest. Samantha was impressed. It depends on how long you’re here for [and] if you want to integrate your kid into French society. In addition to the guide.com) “without even 85 . The crèche has been very supportive of her efforts to continue to breastfeed. has been researching where to send her boy for first grade next year. Patricia started her research by reading all of the guides she could lay her hands on. Patricia. She also found talking to teachers and parents at her son’s Montessori school to be helpful. “They realize that being bilingual is a big plus. She concedes that. an American living in the 16th. Patricia finds it helpful to visit schools.” she says.” Upon coming to Paris. as well as advice from other parents and school staff. To complement her kids’ French-speaking education.eabjm.” she says. learned to get his own shoes. such as getting the kids out of the house on time and finding babysitters when the kids are sick (a common occurrence when children are first introduced to a school environment). “The equation is different for each family. even if she is the only mom in the director’s experience to try to do that! The staff also supports her decision to speak English to her children. She also dislikes that the staff add sugar to the kids’ yogurt. “I always go to the school and talk to the director. but understands that this is the way many French kids have their yogurt at home.

American teachers go to the other extreme. “You hear mixed things about all these schools depending on what kind of student you have and their age. which put her in a small group of about 20 hyperserious students.Working and Living in France thinking because a friend had recommended it. a measure parents use to rank quality.” Her son Eric had rather poor grades in a high school class that was prepping for the bac. French teachers are trained to treat every child the same way. which turned out to be the right thing for her. In the U. Other kids had completely different experiences.” Eric ultimately passed the bac and went on to a private business school. system.. The school feared he might fail and thus lower its percentage of students who pass. “My husband and I refused that he be sent into a lower trade school class. but I abhor the overall method of teaching. is quite different from the U. “I acknowledge the superior education in France received by the top percentile. an American married to a French man who had two children in private high schools says. but at least they don’t ridicule kids who. say. is better off in a private school that cares about such things. with only one qualification. mild or otherwise.S. French schools range from the worldrenowned Grandes Écoles to career-minded private business and other vocational schools to the very academic public liberal arts university.” As Debby puts it. Secondary education At the university level. She additionally elected to specialize in math and to do the international option. when she officially switched from a mixed Anglo-French curriculum to the allFrench bac preparation. Anyone with learning disabilities.” Alexis aced the bac and now Debby reports that “she is thriving at Brown [University]. excel at art but not science. while inexpensive. loving the creative. The former stresses the sciences or lib- 86 . Alexis disliked her second year but got into the swing of things the following year. The French public university system.S. open-ended nature of the place while using all her French-acquired skills to push herself academically.” Her advice to parents: “I wouldn’t hesitate to place a young child right into the neighborhood school.” Marcia.

I can only talk about the experiences of my children’s friends who lost a year or two in the university system. can work all by your lonesome. “I gave up my illusions and finally responded to her needs in that respect.ipag.” So Natalie went to IPAG (www.S. She is earning an impressive salary for a young person of 25 in a culture which still suspects youth. a city person. a four-year school of management and administration located in the heart of Paris on the boulevard St. believes it can work but depends on the personality of the child. contributed to finding her first job. “classes were huge. there are no orientation programs.S. Holyoke in the U. “My thoughts on the fac (short for faculté) are that if you are very mature and serious. Marcia concedes. “It was the best decision for her.edu). Marcia wanted her daughter Nathalie to go to her alma mater. Nathalie.” 87 . had her own ideas. or Greek life. Germain. “partly because he is so French and partly because it is just what he needs and likes––and he has some fantastic professors. It’s sink or swim.” At the public universities. Imagine the difficulties for foreign students! Harriet Welty Rochefort. for their higher education or enroll at a French private school of secondary education.Education eral arts in a no-frills fashion. Harriet continues.” Her son is doing well. the glee club. with little concern about an eventual career or job. She wanted to work right away. the bucolic Mt. and are extremely motivated. Marcia believes the French university system to be geared toward “young people who know what they want and are focused. since there are no entrance exams. It’s academic.” Other English-speaking expats in France. Four of them went on to private institutions and are now doing well. Forget about the volleyball team. the selection for continuing is made at the end of the first year. who fondly remember their college days. it is just fine. which is part of the public university system. It can be overcrowded and lacking in many modern amenities. French students complain of feeling lost during the first year. professors indifferent and. whose son is studying philosophy at the Sorbonne. If you have a tendency to slack off. there’s nobody to chide you or get you back on track.” says Marcia. and prepared her well for the business world. would prefer that their children return to the U.

The good news is that France. In the absence of a study-abroad program.fortherunway.bip.fr). the new French governmental agency EduFrance (www. service and activities specifically designed with the American undergraduate in mind.com/parsons. If you want to bridge both worlds. The Paris region also hosts many MBA programs. consider an American-style school in France. she secured the right to work part-time.fr) is not just for Americans.lon. The CIEE also offers work opportunities for students. Melissa was unable to secure the right to work in France. By pursuing her research as a student at a French university. There are a variety of programs for faculty and administrators. is now actively seeking students from around the world. faced with a dramatic decline in foreign students. including the world-renowned program at INSEAD (www. recent grads.uk) offers degree programs and postgraduate degrees in French and English studies. Parson’s School of Design in Paris (www.Working and Living in France Study-abroad programs Many students who live outside of France find the idea of spending a month or more at a French university desirable. The American University of Paris (www. Advanced certificate studies: Melissa’s solution Although she had legal residency through her husband.org). First. she wanted to pursue historical research for a book.aup.fr/en).edufrance. or the U. as well as for young professionals. The British Institute in Paris (www.insead.ac.ciee.html) offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree for full-time students as well as accredited courses for the visiting student. the council offers: 1) Study centers with curricula. For students. Similarly. it attracts students from around the world to its undergraduate liberal arts program. A novelist. Melissa obtained student status through the École Pratique 88 . The CIEE offers educational programs abroad for students and faculty. the administrative hurdles are substantial. organization Council for International Education Exchange (www.S. and 2) direct enrollment programs to a French university. We advise that you try working through your college or university. however.

Education des Hautes Études (www.ephe.sorbonne.fr). (She found the school in the Annuaire de L’Université, which summarizes programs of study at every university in France and is available at libraries and student career centers throughout France.) As a student, she was entitled to conduct her research under a certificat de la capacité à la recherché, a contract renewable on a yearly basis. The fees are affordable at less than 140 euro ($170) per year. What a bargain! Melissa adds, “I looked through the catalog and found the location of the department I was interested in. I met with a professor specializing in the area I wanted. Even though my French wasn’t great, my adviser thought the French Intensive Course at the Sorbonne wasn’t necessary. I did it anyway.” Once the professor agreed to advise her, Melissa was required to: • Meet application deadlines per the professor’s instructions; • Present transcripts, a list of courses already taken related to her research subject, and a short essay about her research interests; • Discuss the research project with her professor; • Attend courses and successfully complete her adviser’s seminar. Melissa applied for her student visa at the Centre des Etudiants Etrangers at 15, rue Miollis in the 15th arrondissement. She was required to present the following documents: original and photocopy of university registration; passport and visa, as well as photocopies of identification pages; two black-and-white ID photos; a notarized letter in French proving that she had enough money to support herself; and a letter in French declaring that she had a health insurance policy valid in France.

Continuing education
Do take time to learn about French culture once you are here. Become an expert on some aspect of French life: the wine, the cheese, the women (or men!). Learning about wine or cheese, for example, is a great introduction to the geographic diversity of France and the importance of its regions. Knowing how to talk “food” is a national pastime. Many Americans, who live here but are ineligible to work, use their time to develop a new career by taking advantage of the extensive network

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Working and Living in France of English-language educational programs in the city. Some programs are for academic credit and have tough admission standards. Others are non-credit courses open to all. The most popular for-credit programs are in Teaching English as a Foreign Language or TEFL, as the demand for English teachers here is very high. TELF training is offered at WICE (www.wice-paris.org), the British Institute (www.bip.lon.ac.uk), and the American University of Paris. These are accredited programs for people who already have a degree. For TEFL teacher training courses in France and worldwide, see www.wfi.fr/volterre/teachtrain.html. The American University of Paris offers certificate programs for degree-holders in computer graphics, international marketing, TEFL, technical writing, as well as web design and site management. Parson’s School of Design has a visitors program for college students who want to spend a semester or two dabbling in accredited courses in studio arts, fashion, photography, communications and marketing design, as well as the liberal arts. Both institutions offer non-credit courses as well. Remember Julia Child? She got her start in teaching America to cook French-style by taking the year-long grand diplôme course at the Cordon Bleu (www.cordonbleu.net). (At that time, the school taught only in French, so she quickly learned the language, too!) If you just want to take a course here and there, many are offered through the various English-language clubs and associations. There are numerous guided visits in and around Paris as well as wine tasting, cooking courses, and art history lectures. WICE is especially strong in art history, creative writing and studio arts. At WICE, I learned how to take a decent photo, paint in acrylics, and write poetry. I also learned a great deal about French culture through tours to places such as the French Assembly and the Louvre, as well as through workshops and classes on wine, cooking, French art, and history offered at the famous Gobelins tapestry. Contact your mayor’s office for continuing education programs in French. The mayor’s office in Paris (www.paris.fr), for example, organizes hundreds of courses for adults in languages, computers, arts and crafts, pro-

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Education fessional development, and the arts. (On the main website, click “Education” followed by “Cours Municipaux d’Adultes.”) The courses fill quickly as they are popular and inexpensive. Advance registration is suggested. If your spouse works, check with the workplace comités d’enterprise.

Distance learning
Whether you live in or outside Paris, distance learning or a low-residency program from a university at home may be a desirable option. Britain’s Open University (www.open.ac.uk/frames.html) is perhaps the most highly regarded distance-learning institution. Many of these programs can be completed via the Internet. The British Institute in Paris offers distance versions of many of its courses.

Volunteer learning
The city’s numerous English-language nonprofit groups and associations welcome volunteers and interns. In fact, many of them run exclusively on volunteer power. These groups are a great way to transition to French society and pick up career skills–– and they don’t cost a penny! I learned desk-top publishing and managerial skills by volunteering at the educational and nonprofit association WICE as catalog editor, Board member, director of the Creative Writing Program, and now as co-director of the Paris Writers Workshop.

Useful links
• Managing Children’s Education and Development Overseas, website: www.tckworld.com/expated.html. Elementary education: • La Petite Ecole Bilingue (Paris), website: www.russie.net/partenaires/école-bilingue. • Ecole Privé Bilingue Internationale (near Montpellier), website: www.école-privee-bilingue.fr. • Montessori En France, website: www.montessorienfrance.com/htmlécoles.htm. Montessori schools in Paris and France. • Worldwide, website: www.worldwide.edu/ci/france/index.html.

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com/handbook.gouv.greenfield. www.S.org/culture/education/france/index.html.education. www.Working and Living in France A database of French schools.. www. • Study Abroad Handbook. • Higher education in France. • Greenfield. website: www.htm. A database of French schools. Secondary education: • Studies Office of the French Embassy in the U.studyabroad.fr/int/etud.infofrance-usa.fr. 92 .

) Your employer in France is responsible for making your application. If you have a job. Your employer makes a contribution as well.S. you may experience a certain lack of bedside manner. Your health insurance covers you. your contribution to sécurité sociale (social security) or the sécu—a cradle-to-grave welfare system that covers much more than simply health care—comes out of your paycheck. while publicly run. People with even the most basic health care insurance may choose their doctors. believe it or not. you sign up when you form your business and can expect to make substantially higher contributions. Many North American expatriates view the French health system with a certain amount of distrust. Most doctors are part of the system or agréé. Health insurance is part of any employment package. French doctors tend to consider them- 93 . continue to the next section. children up to a certain age. doctors and hospitals here treat first. France’s healthcare system was recently rated by the World Health Organization as the best in the world. American patients consider themselves customers. In sharp contrast to the practices of other countries. The system here is widely considered on par with that in the U. has many private elements. As such. doctors can work for either or both.Chapter Nine Health Care and Insurance France has a mixed health care system which. then ask for health insurance. your spouse or partner. Some insurance contracts do not reimburse or may only partially reimburse for services of non-agréé doctors. there are public and private hospitals. If you are a sole proprietor. (If you’re not coming to France as an employee. Well. That said. as well as other dependents living with you.

for example. Another expat plan. the per-person annual premium for the most comprehensive plan for 30-49 year olds is about 2.henner.rmc. The plan is administered by GMC International of the Henner Group (www. To do so. For residents of France. For residents of France between the ages of 25 and 49. the essential question is how best to obtain health insurance that will be valid in France? If you’re a short-timer or on the “three-month dip. is accepted by the American Hospital of Paris. with premiums that increase with age and vary according to country.com). Long-timers might consider buying into a group plan. for our family of three. If you are on your own.000 euro ($3.com).400 euro ($1.edu/ directory/academics/studyabroad/healthinsuranceletter.S. and is based in Paris. students will need to arrange for health insurance coverage in France. Obtaining health insurance For many expatriates who aren’t part of the French system. GMC offers two plans with various options.asp. Blue Cross/Blue Shield.500).Working and Living in France selves gods. U.” first check with your home country plan to see whether and how it covers in France.europeanbenefits.060 euro ($2. the exchange program should be able to help you with this. One such association is the Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO) (www. www. you should do just fine.org). We have the Jefferson Plan and are pleased with it. Another option is to buy directly into the French system. which offers a plan that is very popular with expats in France and throughout Europe. the annual premium is about 3. you’ll need to become a member of an association that offers this benefit.700). the sécu’s annual premium is less than $200 for students and covers about 70% of total costs.700). the Jefferson Plan. This is 94 . The Randolph-Macon College offers excellent advice about obtaining student health insurance on its study-abroad website. is offered by European Benefits Administrators (www. travel medical insurance may be the best option.aaro. If you can get over the attitude and can explain your malady in French to a physician. the per-person annual premium for the most comprehensive plan is about 1. For short-timers.

The cost varies according to income. a 200-page guide essential for all expats living here. With respect to medical care for senior citizens. Unwilling to accept my U.Health Care and Insurance cost-effective if you have a low or fixed income.wice-paris. doctor’s diagnosis.000). The charge is 8% of annual income over 6. He did however present me with an indecipherable prescription for about a dozen pharmaceuticals he believed might help. we recommend the guide Vital Issues: How to Survive Officialdom While Living in France.S. I began my search for an English-speaking doctor as I just couldn’t rapid-fire enough medical French in the 15 minutes French doctors tend to allot for each patient. which.org/news/health_care. you’ll need your income-tax statement (French or foreign). call 0810-75-33-75 to find the address of the center nearest you. conducts business to some degree in English and keeps abreast of the latest developments in health care and trends in the U.” complete a demande d’adhésion volontaire (form number 2115) at your local Caisse Régionale d’Assurance Maladie of the Sécurité Sociale (www. Finding doctors When I first arrived in France. Health Care in Paris (www. prepared to resume my desensitization shots as I had suffered from severe allergies in the U. a valid residency permit. I visited a neighborhood allergist. as well as other identifying documents listed on the form.html). To obtain what is called “voluntary personal insurance.cramif. In Paris. this doctor subjected me to numerous tests and. after several weeks.000 euro ($49.aaweparis.fr). has a list of insurers offering coverage to individuals. a private plan may be more suitable.org). I arrived with a stockpile of allergy medicines.S. To fill out the form.600 euro ($8. The guide is sold through WICE and is produced by Health Network International. or are excluded from other plans. 95 . though staffed largely by French and other international medical professionals. published by the Association of American Wives of Europeans (www. I headed to the American Hospital. If your annual salary exceeds 40. concluded that I didn’t have allergies (despite my wheezing and sneezing). Determined to do it the French way.000).S.

92200 Neuilly-sur-Seine. 40. (331)46-39-22-22.messageparis. tel. the ABCs of Motherhood in Paris. with lower fees. however. My friends have had some luck finding doctors. You’ll only pay for extras like the private room or the international calls to grandma and grandpa. • Hospital Foch (some English-speaking medical staff). tel. Having a baby The French love babies and prenatal care here is tops. Maternity and some fertility treatments are covered 100% by most health plans. 96 . An indispensable publication in this regard is the 212-page book.Working and Living in France Doctors’ fees are markedly higher than at French hospitals. you may want to try one of the American-trained dentists in town. If you are fussy about this matter. Their fees may be higher however. Only qualified dentists are allowed to clean teeth in France and. My local pharmacist maintains a list of local doctors as well as their availability and can also treat minor injuries. rue Worth. at the Hertford British Hospital. published by Message (www. tel. (331)46-25-20-00.S. rue Barbès.fr/consul/oas_home. The French system offers courses by midwives that are reimbursed by health insurance. Many medications are available without a prescription.ambusa. Message Mothers Support Group offers preparation for childbirth training courses in English. You can find English-speaking doctors at the following institutions: • American Hospital of Paris. Embassy in Paris website (www.org). • Hertford British Hospital. so they tend to do a quick job using an ultrasound tool. (331)46-41-25-25. There is also a lengthy list of Englishspeaking doctors on the U. dental hygienists don’t exist. boulevard Victor Hugo. 92300 Levallois-Perret.html). 3. The latest edition of Health Care in Paris (see above) includes a directory of English-speaking doctors that have been recommended by the community. 92150 Surenes. 63. Dentists French dentists aren’t reimbursed much by the health care system for a cleaning. as such.

birth and the postnatal period as well as very useful information on breastfeeding. 97 . For life-threatening emergencies.Health Care and Insurance Because the French generally choose to bottle feed. Don’t forget to ask your U. as well as its trade name.S. However. The telephone number is “15” and the dispatcher will generally speak English. there are groups such as La Leche League (www. The American Hospital has a hotline at (331)47-47-70-15. which can quickly put an end to mother’s milk supply. If you are here longer. If you are on a three-month dip. doctor for the medicine’s generic name.org) and Message that can intervene for you. Even maternity ward nurses have little experience with breastfeeding. Women are encouraged to switch to bottle feeding at the least sign of difficulty. the number is (331)47-07-77-77. French hospitals don’t refuse emergency care for any reason. In the Paris area. we suggest you carry enough medicine to cover your stay. you will most likely have to pay for services rendered and seek reimbursement later through your insurance plan. breastfeeding mothers may experience a lack of support. Prescriptions French pharmacies are not likely to fill a U. My advice to expectant mothers who wish to breastfeed is to start attending LLL meetings well before the baby is born. Emergency services Who says doctors don’t make house calls? They still do in France. manufacturer. If you need a doctor fast.lllfrance. prescription. visit a doctor to obtain a prescription. Message Mother Support Group publishes a free leaflet for its members of English/French vocabulary for pregnancy. However. A doctor can usually be dispatched within the hour. Another similar service is Garde de Medical de Paris at (331)42-72-88-88. call a Service d’Aide Médicale d’Urgence (ambulance).S. and dosage. don’t hesitate to call a service like SOS Medecins.

it paid for itself many times over in a contented. 98 .org. Useful links • Centre International de Recherche et de Développement de l’Haptonomie.chiropratique. website: www.canam. Although it wasn’t covered by our insurance. based in Paris. (However.welcome. • CANAM.org.fr. Caisse Nationale d’Assurance Maladie des Professions Indépendantes. Information on French social security for self-employed professionals. whether such remedies should be reimbursable through insurance has come into question by the sécu. • Health Network International.Working and Living in France Alternative medicine Alternative medicine is popular in France and pharmacists often recommend homeopathic remedies. website: www. • The French Association of Chiropractic Medicine. website: www.) My husband and I learned an alternative preparation for childbirth called haptonomie.haptonomy. website: www. happy baby. Directory of practitioners in France. A nonprofit organization. The idea is that mom and dad learn to communicate with the baby in-uterus by touching mom’s belly.to/healthnetwork-paris. It really does work! Later. of Englishspeaking health professionals and others interested in health issues. the haptonomist instructs mom and dad on the best ways to hold baby so as to soothe and help develop her physical capabilities.

You’ll often see two prices on items––the euro price in large print with the French franc equivalent noted in smaller print below. and English.m. 2002. Spanish. but many have continued the practice.55957. The exchange rate is fixed at 6. to 3:30 p.banque-france. 17. the anciens francs (old Francs) can be exchanged for euro at the Banque de France (www. There is no fee.m. France fully changed over to the euro—at least physically. The hours for exchanging old Francs are 8:45 a. People tend to avoid handling cash and many shops have separate lines for paying and serving. 2012 for paper. Exchange rates One subject most expats don’t seem to understand well is 99 . The French still tend to think in terms of the old money. 2005 for coin and until Feb. There are directions in French. Those old French franc notes and coins left over from your last trip to France will no longer be accepted for payment. However. The euro On February 17.Chapter Ten Money and Finance It is generally considered impolite to talk about money in France. 17. particularly for large purchases such as real estate. Making exact change is always considered the proper thing to do. The government had recommended that businesses dispense with double affichage (double pricing) after June 2002.fr) until Feb.

say five years or more. This represents a 25% difference. I found that converting euro to dollars for investment purposes wasn’t beneficial. Do you need checking and savings accounts? Before you rush to open a bank account. especially if you are being paid in euro.S. we try to pay for our purchases in France as well as the U. Think about which currency you’re to be paid in. Since the stock-market 100 . Banking in France The real money question for expats is banking. a compte courant and compte sur livret (checking and savings accounts respectively) will suffice. If you are here for three to five years. in euro. As such. Beware of high loads on European mutual funds. consider whether you really need one. you may prefer European-based mutual funds or stocks.5 francs. see our recommendations in that chapter about living on your ATM and credit cards.7 francs when we arrived here in 1994. attitudes haven’t completely changed. when we made our purchases in Europe and the U. Not so long ago. it was like receiving an automatic 25% discount. Automatic teller machines are readily available and some banks offer online service. In 2000. the hours of business were less than customer-friendly and the wait for service was long.Working and Living in France exchange rates. If you are a long-term investor. with dollars (even though we were paid in francs). French banks now have longer hours. compared with 5. Some even offer evening and Saturday business hours. as the French rates on savings are very poor. the dollar was trading as high as 7. which you’ll spend as well as how you’ll take your money with you when you return home. which currently average at about 5%. If you are on the three-month dip. Now that the euro is stronger.S. With the advent of privatization. when French banks were state-run. Still. open the usual checking and savings accounts in conjunction with other higher-interest savings vehicles. If you intend to live here permanently. which you’ll save.

is accepted at all but the smallest mom-and-pop shops throughout France. which for most French people resembles a glorified squiggle. Postdating checks isn’t possible.78 euro.345.com). The date December 25. you’ll find “RIB” slips to be used for automatic deposits and payments.fr). goes in the bottom right-hand corner. however. Your employer will need one for direct deposit of your pay. Utilities will ask for one for direct payment of your bills. Carte bleue Carte Bleue (www. Thirdparty checks are not accepted in France. Several sites offer online stock trading. so keep careful records. branch. Before writing the date. During a strike of Brinks.carte-bleue. I developed a distinctive sign-off just for use in France. sums and digits. the whole country went short of cash and coin..345.78 euro is written in France as 2. These relevés d’identité bancaire carry bank. You must write the sum in numbers. as all checks are payable on the date presented. it is important to cross the number seven. 2001 is written 25 Decembre 2001. Ask your bank if découverts (overdrafts) are possible. for example. the French have tended to be wary of stocks. 101 .Money and Finance bubble burst. the money movers. Learn how to write French dates. To pay your rent. (Write a bad check here and banks will consider you a non-person for three years. in many stores to pay by check. then in words. also write the place where the check was issued. and account details. Your signature. In the back of your checkbook. Cancelled checks aren’t returned. The art of checks While checks are circumspect in the U. preferring to invest in bonds and real estate. the best known is Cortal (www. they aren’t in France as the penalties for bouncing a check here are substantial.) You’ll still need ID. most landlords require that you set up a virement permanent (monthly automatic transfer) which can be arranged through your bank.cortal. The sum 2. Check writing is a lesson in French language and culture.S.

To increase your limit. banks in France. My husband and I exceeded our limit at IKEA in Paris and. This is not the case in France and. primarily because it was located inside the complex at which my husband worked.cic-banques. As a general rule. there are no other charges for using the card to pay for purchases or to withdraw cash. Note that your bank fixes a weekly withdrawal limit to thwart thieves. recently walked into her branch of CIC (www. Usually.socgen. Aside from an annual fee.” the manager replied. resorted to putting our purchases on our American credit card. As unfair as this may sound. even for the smallest of purchases. if you are a foreigner with no French credit history and no apartment. We were dissatisfied with customer service and found the fees to be exorbitant. I assumed they would have some facility for shifting our francs (this was before the euro) and dollars back and forth between accounts. and CIC is no exception. “We don’t accept anyone who doesn’t speak French. accounts with this multinational bank.20).fr) and overheard a clerk talking with the manager about whether to accept a new client. 102 . either asked for exact change or permitted the use of the Carte Bleue.citibank. The Carte Bleue works with a PIN for both purchases and withdrawals. Choosing a bank Opening a bank account in France is akin to a rite of passage.fr). consult your bank account manager. Even though we lacked both. we were easily accepted as clients at a branch of the venerable Société Générale (www. when our card was refused. As we had U. are under no obligation to accept you as a customer.S. a Carte Bleue is only accepted for purchases exceeding 15 euro ($16. both small and large. you need a chunk of euro and a French address to obtain a bank account here. who has lived here for several years. we chose to open an account at Citibank (www. North Americans tend to feel as if a bank account is a God-given right.Working and Living in France Shops. you can expect to experience difficulty in acquiring an account.com). Dissatisfied with Société Generale. where I knew they would at least make an effort to speak English. My American friend Bettina.

Only years later did we realize that our representative gave us incorrect information that cost us money. as Citibank’s were based in Luxembourg. U. Citibank now offers what is most important to us: a way to cheaply transfer our dollars in our U. or an employment contract or a letter from your employer specifying your salary should suffice as proof of salary. a practice other banks reserve for the wealthy.K. this law isn’t well understood and he was just reiterating a flawed Citibank policy. U.S.abbey-national. no bank.transat. If we want to move our euro in our Paris accounts to our dollar accounts. Citibank automatically assigned us an English-speaking account manager. Because of that faulty advice. our francs piled up in low-interest savings account for years at a poor rate of return.S. and income tax receipts. citizens with accounts at British banks such as Lloyds. citizens couldn’t invest in SICAVs.barclays. Opening an account To open an account.uk). Many of my husband’s friends are satisfied with Barclays (www.co. Abbey National (www. but must liquidate these funds once they return permanently to the U. yet offers customers the possibility of shifting multi-currency holdings freely between accounts. However. the French Banque Transatlantique (www.S. citizens who reside in a foreign country can invest offshore. gas or telephone bills. make sure you understand the bank’s requirements and then make an appointment with a representative. He said that U. Three fiche de paie (pay stubs).S. As expats. which is considered an offshore banking center. to my knowledge. tel. tel. French banks will generally require proof of French residence and salary. Citibank accounts to the euro account in France over the Internet. Proof of residence documents include rental agreements.fr). To be fair to our account manager. electricity. (331)44-42-70-00—may find it most convenient to retain accounts with their sister branches in France. (331)44-43-42-41.fr) has served expatriates for several decades. or Midland. This just might make our ordeal worthwhile. we still must request a wire transfer. you’ll need to bring 103 . He was wrong.Money and Finance Unfortunately. a French fund similar to a mutual fund. Of course.tm. Also.

Samina Arnoult. we still maintain our U. we set up a life-insurance policy. we finally looked into investments and took the plunge.. for example. We kept our U.” I was already paying fees on the U. Be careful about bank fees. Like other French banks. checking account. to reimbursing mom for a purchase.S. which is invested in mutual funds. To resolve that situation.S. Others will accept a foreign billing address. but not a foreign shipping address as they don’t want to deal with calculating overseas postage and duties. We found a private financial adviser. The French fee was eventually waived. e-mail samina. accounts.000 euro ($56.S. credit cards are useful for buying American products on the Internet— especially gifts for family members still living in the U. Keep in mind that some U.000).arnoult@wanadoo.fr. funds to make large purchases here in France. a service that many cards offer. U. We still do pay an annual fee for the Carte Bleue as there’s no way around that.Working and Living in France your passport. we use our U.S. Dollar checks come in handy for everything from paying the membership to the alumni association. as a “global customer. you must have an annual salary of about 46. 104 . French savings products A few years ago.S. account and didn’t want to pay twice. Keeping your home accounts Even if you are a permanent French resident. After six years in France. Citibank was going to charge us an annual fee but I pointed out that. think twice before closing your home-country accounts. Per Samina’s advice. To open an account at Citibank. who has many expatriate clients and understands our special needs. When the dollar was strong. As it takes several days for your statement to arrive from the U.S.S. you may opt for automatic payment of the bill from your U. credit cards but changed the billing address to our new French address. ensure that you won’t miss a payment thus incurring late payment fees. sites can’t accept credit-card orders with a foreign billing address.S.S.

ask for a conseil en gestion de patrimoine. Two accounts are allowed per household: one in the name of the taxpayer. Choosing an investment adviser Your bank’s chargé de clientèle or conseiller will do for most basic bank transactions. French institutions offer many shorterterm. Be sure to inquire about them.300 euro ($18. This popular account allows the holder to borrow against it at 4. At Citibank. • Compte Epargne Logement (CEL): Pays up to 3% on a deposit up to 15. 105 .600).25% net annual return.Money and Finance Apart from mutual funds. 2.600). • Livret A: Offered only through a Caisse d’Epargne.500). in some cases. For long-term investments.200 euro ($74. Credit Mutuel.600 euro ($5. This is the most common type of savings account.25% interest. This popular tax-free account. our account manager handles both our bank and stock accounts. which have a wide range of investment products. • Sicav Monetaires: cash funds taxable at 26% when sold. Samina was kind enough to compile the list.5% on a deposit up to 61. • Compte A Terme: fixed-rate term accounts with a 25% prélevement liberatoire (obligatory withholding). opt for withholding 25% of your interest. Except for the Livret A and CODEVI. which follows. • Codevi: maximum 4. If you need a trained investment professional. which are tax-free. These shorter-term investments are sufficient if you stay in France two or three years. pays 2.600) and allows the holder to borrow against it at 3. As for the taxes. no-risk and.97% to finance real estate.5% to finance real estate. with a maximum of 15. all of the others have tax implications. • Plan Epargne Logement (PEL): a four-year account paying 3. at bigger banks.300 euro ($18. Consider this option if you want to bring money to France without converting it into French francs. • Compte Sur Livret: 2% interest. or La Poste. tax-free investments. The top rate is 54%. Most large banks offer them in several currencies. one in the name of the partner. consider établissements financiers (major financial companies).

” Suzanne says. attorney. My American friend Suzanne. Her U. She applied at Abbey National and BPI (formerly Woolwich). as well as wills and inheritance. my publisher has already done an excellent job in that area. retiring and senior care.org). Advisers in France. the latter of which gave her a loan.” 106 . published by the Association of American Wives of Europeans (www. she approached all the logical suspects: her French bank as well as her U.S. Her French bank refused her because her salary is deposited directly into her U.Working and Living in France Talk with brokers (sociétés de bourse) as well as insurance companies. You may also want to use the services of an independent financial adviser.” she says. bank account. who was going to second-mortgage her own home to make the loan possible.S. “The British are finance people. such as bonds. They didn’t care whether I had a salary in France or not.InternationalLiving.aaweparis. Actually. “I just didn’t know who to talk to. Anyone can call oneself a financial adviser in France. Securing a mortgage as an expat can be difficult.com/il). until a business associate suggested she approach the British banks. as it turns out. accountant and bank.S. I heartily recommend their print book France: The Owners Manual. available for purchase through the International Living bookstore at (http://shopping. as we did. The book also fields money-related questions involving marriage and divorce. bank didn’t want to deal with French property since it had no way of repossessing it in case of default. Buying a French home? Buying an apartment or house in France is a book in itself and. Ask whether your adviser is certified before committing..S. The administrative hurdles are detailed in the excellent book Vital Issues: How to Survive Officialdom While Living in France. “The French are very conservative about lending money. are increasingly becoming generalists who select the best overall products for their customers. experienced a great deal of frustration with the process. who lives in France but works for a company based in the U. while often well versed in a given sector. Suzanne thought about a business loan as well as a personal loan from her sister.

do get a couple of breaks: 1. by Adrian Leeds.fr. As a result. Even though all U.frenchpropertyinsider.S. loans are becoming easier to acquire.html.com/mortgage.S.S. website www. They automatically receive a foreign earned income exclusion.com. and French taxes for the first year.S. Samuel Okoshken & Associates.gov) under “foreign earned income exclusion.paris. U. For example. For information on buying a home in France contact our real estate expert Jocelyn Carnegie at parisproperty@InternationalLiving. Needless to say.html • La Chambres de Notaires de Paris (Paris Notary Publics). we had a law and tax practice in Paris. regardless of where they live. must file U. help us with our U. taxes. which means that a set amount of income (which changes yearly) earned abroad is exempt from U.” based on a calculation of the days you actually stayed in your home. but have met with substantial resistance in Washington where expats are seen as tax cheats. and the French banks are jumping on the bandwagon with the onslaught of foreign customers.notaires.westernwebworks. tax returns. and other 107 .S.S. expat associations like AARO are fighting for a higher exclusion. however. you’ll need to make a determination as to whether you are a “bona fide resident” or whether you should use the “physical presence test. though. expats. Taxes The U. • French Property Insider: www.net/pieceofparis. They can file for automatic threemonth extensions of the filing deadline and 2.Money and Finance Things are changing. Useful links • Owning a Piece of Paris. an article you can find on the website www. citizens who are legal residents of France also must file a French income tax déclaration. U.S. is the only major country that taxes its citizens’ income when they reside abroad. host.irs. Because expat returns can be extremely complicated. they are also required to file with the French authorities when they reside here. citizens. search the IRS website (www.” U. For details.S.

AARO publishes a helpful booklet. Consulate and online. Tax forms are available at the U. 57 rue du Faubourg Montmartre. two doors down.S. Embassy in Paris (www. Basic Principles of Income Taxation. 108 .asp). Premiums depend on a number of factors including your driving record and the city in which you live. Upon signing our rental contract. tel. which is free to members. and household insurance especially for American expatriates.axa.S. my husband and I were informed that we needed rental insurance immediately. This agent saw us immediately without an appointment and drew up a standard contract. The rental agent referred us to an independent insurer.fr/index.Working and Living in France countries.amb-usa.fr/irs/irs.htm) has a great Internet site. 75009. it certainly was convenient and no more costly for us. but there are also mutuelles (mutual insurance companies) and independent insurance agents. Insurance Insurance is a legal requirement for all homeowners. car. is an independent agency that offers health. renters and car owners residing in France. which is expensive in France. The industry is being gobbled up by large insurers such as AXA (www. AARO and other English-speaking organizations in Paris host classes and lectures around tax time. It is more important to shop around for auto insurance. While it seemed like an incestuous business relationship. Home and rent insurance is fairly standardized. Save those boarding passes and mark trips in your diary! If you want to do your own taxes. Banque Transatlantique also offers a tax service for its clients. (331)53-20-03-33. Advantage Insurance Associates. The Internal Revenue Service at the U.

That was half a year’s membership at the library! Now I consider membership there a bargain. Most of these groups operate as nonprofit associations under French law and. Take advantage of all the resources these groups offer. see the British Community Committee’s website (www. A print listing can be obtained from the British consulate in Paris at 18 bis. that some groups offer so many activities and services that they are difficult to categorize.britishinfrance. This list is by no means exhaustive. rue d’Anjou. 75008. there are scores of English-speaking organizations in France. Only members can take advantage of their services. the membership fees do add up.com). you can expect to be asked to join as a member as well as a volunteer. as such. While this is all quite normal. For a complete listing of British organizations in Paris.austgov. however.Chapter Eleven English-Speaking Organizations As you’ll see below. at www. operate under strict rules. Because their ability to raise funds is limited. Be advised. Australians will find a helpful list of Aussie associations and businesses in France. I finally shelled out for a membership to the American Library after I bought a hardcover Englishlanguage book for 38 euro ($46). Why reinvent the wheel? We’ve organized these groups under their main centers of interest.html (click on service culturel then adresses australiennes en France). but mentions some of the most important expat organizations. (331)44-51-31-00. 109 . They have been established by people who saw a need in the community and did something about it. published by the Australian Embassy in Paris.fr/index_en. tel.

(331)45-27-30-44. 12 rue Mesnil.yale. website www. (331)45-53-00-42. (331)48-04-51-75. (331)45-23-00-75.nd. avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt. cultural events.maloney@duckereurope. e-mail: sjkatw@aya. (331)46-07-00-43. 75004 Paris. 75008 Paris. • Princeton Alumni Association of France. tel. 75116 Paris. holds social. tel. e-mail: megan. c/o France-Amérique. • Harvard Business School Club of France.Working and Living in France Alumni groups • Berkeley Club France. interviews prospective applicants.princeton. tel. (Megan Maloney). tel. The French Alumni Association of the University of California at Berkeley. The Boston University Alumni Association of France. 78370 Plaisir.edu. (Yves Codet).edu/~ndc_ifra. • Harvard Club of France.edu/~paa661. • Notre Dame Alumni Club of France. • Stanford Club of France. website: www. (Pamela Wesson). Roosevelt. Monthly events with speakers or debates. • Yale Club of Paris. 9 avenue Franklin D.com. e-mail: chipseward@hotmail. website http://alumni. 75010 Paris.org. tel. (Nadia Lacoste). (Margaret Brautigam). Has information on various alumni contacts and clubs in Paris. • Boston University Alumni Association of France. tel. • Wellesley Club of France. 75020 Paris.com.org. This alumnae club organizes various activities. • Paris Alumni Network. tel. c/o France-Amérique. 3 rue Gabriel Fauré. 6. passage des Petites Ecuries. 110 . Holds monthly luncheon meetings. Roosevelt. 75008 Paris. Organizes events and social functions. (Chip Seward). 20. 16 rue du Vieille du Temple. 91. (331)42-56-20-98. Organizes a variety of social functions and helps current students studying in France. (331)60-72-43-78. For graduates of American universities. rue des Bauches. (331)47-57-58-67. and educational activities. tel. (331)44-62-20-53. 75016 Paris. avenue Franklin D. website: http://alumni. 9-11. 75008 Paris. avenue Gambetta. tel. 911.yalefrance. cultural.stanford-fr.

website: www. 40 rue Worth. offers courses in English as well as a lending library. 75001 Paris. 34 avenue de New York.org. 75116 Paris. • Democrats Abroad France. tel. disabled or sick Americans in France. Provides financial assistance to families. • Junior Service League of Paris. • Les Arts George V at the American Cathedral. (331)53-23-84-00. develops. • Foch Foundation at Hospital Foch.us. tel.K.free.americanclubparis. 75007 Paris.fr. • British Council. volunteers and contributions always needed. (331)47-23-64-36.net/amcathedral-paris/html/index2.html. tel. aids elderly. (331)4634-14-10. 75017 Paris. has an active Women’s Caucus and Minority Caucus. 75116 Paris. (331)4566-49-05. 5 rue Bargue. tel. rue Saint Florentin. Pavillon Balsan. (331)45-06-29-24. and administers the non-liturgical music and other performance programs of the Cathedral. A prestigious organization dealing in Franco-American relations. tel. website: www. • English Language Library for the Blind. rue Lemercier.S. Provides audio books to English-speaking. visually impaired people living outside Anglophone countries. 34 avenue de New York. 92151 Suresnes. tel. Cultural and political groups • American Club of Paris. Provides financial and logistic support to underprivileged people in need of hospitalization. 2. 75015 Paris. A community service and humanitarian organization.English-Speaking Organizations Charitable groups • American Aid Society c/o United States Embassy. Represents the Democratic Party in France. (331)4955-73-00. website: www. • Lions Club International.democratsabroad. which operates out of the U. tel. Embassy. 111 . Plans. organization for promoting British culture in France. 9/11 rue de Constantine. Jacques. 295 rue St. (331)43-12-48-07. This nonprofit organization. The official U. 35. website: http://ellb. 75005 Paris. tel.org. (331)42-93-47-57.

scientific. 112 . 75007 Paris. 9-11. Performs large-scale works at the American Cathedral. 75007 Paris.000 works. A French-American friendship organization with chapters throughout France. boulevard Jourdan. workshops. e-mail: rpingeon@aol. publishes a quarterly newsletter.explorateurs-de-vins.net/amcathedralparis/html/chapters/arts/chorsoc. (331)47-41-21-59. • France-Etats-Unis. (331)43-06-10-27. website: www. The foundation is housed in the magnificent Paris townhouse of the late Countess Bismarck. (331)53-59-12-60.html. (331)43-73-72-33. (331)43-59-51-00. 10 rue du General Camou. 34 avenue de New York. tel. • Paris Choral Society. tel. (331)53-80-68-80. and organized wine tastings. Health and educational groups • American Library of Paris.us. highlights minority achievements and fosters interracial and interethnic communications. (Chris Bell). tel. 75008 Paris. 44 rue Emile Lepeu. 6 boulevard de Grenelle. 19 Chemin des Vignes. (Robert Pingeon). holds exhibitions. which is home to many nonprofit organizations. (331)4577-48-84. tel. 21 rue Monsieur. This prestigious club and restaurant aims to foster better Franco-American relations. Encourages and promotes international artistic. avenue Franklin D. • Fondation des Etats-Unis. Paris. Roosevelt. Open to all. tel. tel. website: www-ciup-fr/citeaz/maisons/usa. professors. 15. • France-Amérique. tel. website: www. (331)34-76-18-75. Director).americanlibraryinparis. (331)40-50-05-21. This nonprofit organization has a collection of more than 90. 75116 Paris.org. 3.com. website: www. 78270 Cravent. • The Mona Bismarck Foundation. 92380 Garches. (Robin Watson. 75690 Paris Cedex 14. and educational activities. route de Chaufour. particularly those which further Franco-American friendship. provides lodging and cultural facilities to American graduate students. • The Paris Garden Guild. 75011 Paris. e-mail: parisgarden@free. • Republicans Abroad France. (331)47-23-38-88. Located at Cité Universitaire.com. tel. tel.Working and Living in France • Les Explorateurs de Vins. 75015 Paris. tel. Offers wine tasting courses. and researchers.fr. Studies matters pertaining to American minorities living in France. • The International Association of American Minorities.

holds the annual Special Olympic Games for the mentally retarded. Aims to further Franco-American collaboration in the field of mental retardation. tel. Administers Franco-U. 75116 Paris. taxation. • WICE. website: www. website: www. such as voting. health care. networking opportunities. run by volunteers.fulbright-france. 75006 Paris. 75015 Paris. 24 rue Alsace Lorraine. (331)4245-17-91. offers classroom and office space to members.columbia. • Association of Americans Resident Overseas (AARO). 75007 Paris. website: www.welcome.org. offers hundreds of educational programs in English. website: www. provides counseling and documentation concerning French and American universities. tel. 75019 Paris.org. website:www. • Health Network International. Protects basic rights. Provides continuing education for health professionals. 75016 Paris. • American Women’s Group in Paris (AWG).awgparis. (331)42-73-36-74. Based at American Church of Paris.aaparis. 20. tel. of overseas Americans. 113 . 32 rue General Bertrand.org.org.S. and business competitiveness. (331)45-6675-50. Many overseas undergraduate and graduate programs are based here. website: aarointl. (331)43-20-33-07. 23 boulevard Richard Wallace.ce. This association. tel. citizenship.edu/paris/intro. • Columbia University in Paris. 4 rue de Chevreuse. tel. Social and support groups • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Reid Hall. 34 avenue de New York. 92200 Neuilly-Sur-Seine. educational exchanges and the Fulbright Program. and community service activities.wice-paris. Sponsors an annual community health fair and publishes a guide to health care in Paris with WICE. 9 rue Chardin. tel. (331)44-14-5360. (331)47-20-24-15.English-Speaking Organizations • Franco-American Commission for Educational Exchange (Fulbright Program). a division of Columbia University.org. website: www.to /healthnetwork-paris. • Franco-American Volunteer Association for the Mentally Retarded (FAVA). (331)47-45-21-06. boulevard du Montparnasse. See listing. tel. community education.cfm.

Provides AIDS counseling.net/amcathedral-paris. (331)40-70-11-80. website: www. tel. tel.us. website: www. 23 avenue George-V. 75015 Paris. Helps breastfeeding mothers. • Message Mother Support Group. • La Leche League France. (331)4567-89-79. 23 rue Lecourbe No.Working and Living in France • Association of American Wives of Europeans (AAWE). 75008 Paris. A group of diversified African-American Women who organize various activities. website www. (331)40-62-0500. An Anglican church with English. website: www. and education to Americans and English-speaking people of all nationalities in Paris. • American Church. and Chinese services. 75007 Paris. tel.org.messageparis. 65 quai d’Orsay. • International Counseling Service at the American Church. tel. • FACTS. tel. tel.S. tel. citizenship of members and promotes American culture. aaweparis. French. protects the U. 18. (331)42-21-00-73. This interdenominational church 114 . e-mail: info@messageparis. 75020 Paris. 78620 L’Etang La Ville. and nonprofit organizations. A Masorti (conservative) Jewish community in Paris. 161. information and support. 8. website: www. clubs. (331)45-51-35-73.adathshalom. support. hosts a number of activities. (331)39-58-45-84. 75015 Paris. bilingual counseling practice. • American Cathedral.org.org. 190 boulevard de Charonne.org.P. (331)45-50-16-49. (331)44-93-1632.acparis. 75007 Paris. B. treatment information. A professional.asp.lllfrance. 75116 Paris. Promotes Franco-American cultural understanding. Publishes guides to education and living in France. • Canadian Women’s Group c/o Canadian Cultural Center. offers activities. runs a telephone help line.gc. website: www. operates an English-speaking group as well as several French groups in the Paris area. 34 avenue de New York.org. Religious institutions • Adath Shalom. tel. tel. • Sisters: An Association of African-American Women in France.ca/paris/canadafrance/femmes-e.org. 5 rue Constantine. An English-speaking mother’s organization with more than 900 members. website: www. (331)5323-84-00. rue George Bernard Shaw.dfait -maeci.

Organizes ceremonies on Memorial Day at U. (331)56-43-45-67. Joseph’s Church.org. has a Ladies’ Auxiliary. 22-24 boulevard Diderot. This men’s club. amchamfrance.ParisPWN. 78670 Villennes-sur-Seine. patterned on the British model. • PSA France. 50 avenue Hoche. tel. 75116 Paris. (331)42-61-55-77. A chapter of the Professional Speakers Association Europe.net. rue des Canotiers. A Roman Catholic Church for the English-speaking expatriate community. tel. 75008 Paris. •St. 156 boulevard Haussmann. Most of the members are Englishspeaking professionals. 8th Paris. website: www.S. and bar service. • Comité La Fayette. 177 rue de Lourmel. primarily British and American businessmen. offers workshops and seminars. 75015 Paris. military cemeteries in Europe. business interests in France. Sponsors “networking lunches” which generally feature a talk by executive women as well as career workshops. • The Travellers. (331)4558-34-19. Business groups • American Chamber of Commerce in France. honors La Fayette each year with a parade.S. Represents U. website: www. tel. Develops Franco-American exchanges. 126. (331)4359-75-00.org/index. PWN Secretariat.English-Speaking Organizations houses the Franco-American Community Center.org. which hosts many sports and social clubs as well as 12-step groups. Veterans groups • American Legion Paris Post 1. 75008 Paris. 34 avenue de New York.html. (331)44-74-73-42. • Paris Professional Women’s Network. This veteran’s organization was founded in 1919. 25 avenue des Champs-Elysées. preschools. • American Overseas Memorial Day Association. restaurant. provides lodging.professionalspeakers.stjoeparis. tel. tel. (331)42-27-2856. 75012 Paris. tel. and theater groups. website: www. website: www. 115 .

Working and Living in France • Daughters of the American Revolution/Children of the American Revolution. e-mail: rlediable@aol. tel. B. 75007 Paris. website: www.com. tel. 2060..P.html. (331)47-72-0803. Assists visiting American military personnel and their families. Cloud Park. 69226 Lyon Cedex 02.fawco. Members. and educates French and American youth about their history. Conducts monthly meetings and Memorial Day services. A social group with various activities. 75008 Paris. holds an annual ceremony to celebrate the victory of Yorktown in 1781. Conducts Memorial Day ceremonies as well as memorial services for deceased veterans. dedicated to Franco-American friendship. 59260 Lezennes.S. 7 rue Agar. tel. Groups outside Paris • American Club of Lille. Alain Maitrot). (331)40-70-99-68. • Sons of the American Revolution. The French branch of this military order. 34 avenue de New York. • La Société des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux (Forty and Eight). organizes ceremonies. 75008 Paris.org/fawcoweb/clubs/alsace. tel. B. 75015 Paris. • American Club of Lyon.html. tel. • Americans in Alsace.org. Poste No. • United Service Organizations (USO). 118. 116 . (331)45-61-45-40. rue de la Trémoille. organizes FrancoAmerican exchanges. website: www. (336)67-43-20-81. avenue FelixFaure. • Society of the Cincinnati. (333)28-76-40-00.org/fawcoweb/clubs/lyon.fawco. (331)42-88-85-15. 20. tel. 2 bis rue Rabelais. Memorial Day. 605. (331)45-54-64-19. 34 avenue de New York Paris. (331)42-61-55-77.P. participate in various American ceremonies on July 4 and Memorial Day. tel. Maintains a monument in St. • Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U. • Fondation du Memorial de l’Escadrille Lafayette. 75116 Paris. (Mrs. 19 avenue du Professeur Paul Langevin.usoparis. Participates in various American ceremonies on July 4. 75016 Paris. tel. 75016 Paris. tel. and Thanksgiving. 67004 Strasbourg Cedex. website: www. 20 rue Bosquet. 169. (331)40-62-97-19. descendants of participants in the American Revolution.

tel.fr.ifa-rennes.org. 117 . 33000 Bordeaux. 38.bordeaux-los angeles. (335)56-51-37-61. website: www. 69007. tel.Los Angeles Association. This U. (332)99-79-20-57. 304 rue Garibaldi. Lyon. • Bordeaux . allée d’Orléans. tel. 34000 Montpellier. 11 rue Saint Louis. website: www.asso.S. BP 2599. website: www.org. (334)67-58-13-44.English-Speaking Organizations • American Women’s Group of Languedoc Roussillon. government-sponsored center to promote American culture also advises Americans about business and cultural life in the region. 35059 Rennes. (334)72-71-75-75 • Franco-American Institute.awglr. 7 quai Chateaubriand. tel. • The California Club.

Working and Living in France 118 .

the Washington Post. Rose has been freelancing with such national periodicals as Business Week. D. After obtaining her master’s degree.C. and USA Today. she bombed a French placement test. however. Rose developed this guide as a result of the popular response to the site. Rose continued her interests in journalism and German culture at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. Green Card. a site for Anglophones (English-speaking people) in Paris. she worked as an analyst in a consulting firm in Washington. and eventually chose to study for a year in Hamburg. and the Paris Free Voice. Rose also wrote the Insider Guide to Biking in Paris due to 119 . in 1996 with partner Stephanie Kidder. as well as specialized publications such as Paris Notes. (Freelancing wasn’t such a big career change for Rose as her writing career had started at the age of 13 when she was published in American Girl magazine. she put aside money from her part-time job at a bakery to go on a class trip to Paris in 1977. the national and international editions of The Wall Street Journal. as well as journalism. That’s when she first fell in love with France and all things foreign. and as copy editor for both the Dow Jones Newswires and the overseas editions of the Wall Street Journal. World Gas Intelligence. Pennsylvania.About the Author Rose Marie Burke grew up in Pittsburgh. Time Out. An avid bicyclist. Upon entering Purdue University. When her husband John acquired a job in Paris in 1994. While in high school. Since that time.) Rose co-created AngloFiles. decided to study German. Rose’s dream of living in France became a reality.

I don’t have to return to get a long-stay visa. Since the birth of her daughter Emma in 2000. I saw that I could have gotten a visa just for marriage. It confirmed what I already believed: going over yonder and working there. I dress like a proper young Frenchman and pour on the charm. The information is great. staying legally with 120 .” Jerry Stopher: “Working and Living in France got here quickly. Comments from Guide Users Patrick Taccard: “The guide by Rose Burke is very helpful and interesting. well-written. Very good. I think I have all my papers in order. I asked at the consulate in Los Angeles about the special considerations or paperwork for people to be married to French nationals and was told there were none. Rose is looking forward to the day when baby and mom can ride tandem. I found more information here than [in]all others combined. I apply with my marriage license at the prefecture for my carte de séjour within three months after the marriage and I can stay. and it confirms what your story said. Reading one of your true stories. Anyway. Whew!” Christine Anthony: “I have purchased the Working & Living in France [guide] and have read through most of it. Their rules are subjective and if you have all that is needed or not depends on what mood they are in. The consulates and town halls and prefectures are not there to help you and especially to give info. I have been through it already. I have found that works a lot and the fact that Aude fell apart one time really helped. and current. clear.Working and Living in France numerous questions she’s asked daily on the topic. and I have read it. Rose has so enjoyed taking courses in creative writing at WICE that she recently accepted a volunteer position there as director of the annual Paris Writers Workshop. I finally got a response from the consulate in [Washington] D. I watched others as I waited and saw that getting pushy doesn’t work unless you are a cute little French girl like Aude.C. and informative. concise.

I asked my Parisian friend Flo if I could meet her banker. Taking your book’s advice to heart. During our meeting. even potentially quite difficult–– but not impossible.” Elaine Hutchison: “I always had a copy of your book with me for job interviews.” 121 . very lucky to have my cool history and music friends in Paris. …With the how-to information I now have. After producing your book from my briefcase. I explained that I was already familiar with the ‘financial’ products available to foreigners.’ I am very lucky to have a work contract. I remembered a compliment on your book from a Parisian banker. so I could show them the required salary for a cadre supérieur. is tricky. ‘This was written by an American?’ With a note of admiration in his voice he said. with a strong note of surprise in his voice. and very lucky to have stumbled across your book. ‘This is very accurate and up-to-date. because it made what I needed to know so very clear. it [will] be way less daunting than going at it cold and unprepared. he said.proper papers. as I was planning to move my retirement fund to France.

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