Daily life

Opening a bank account

Opening a French bank account is required to carry out everyday transactions (receiving salary, paying rent and bills, shopping, etc.).

To open an individual or joint bank account, you will need to present valid photo identification and proof of address in France.

You may be asked to provide any of the following documents:

  • Passport, and Residence permit
  • Proof of address (an electricity, gas, water or landline bill, or a declaration that you are being housed free of charge signed by the person providing you with accommodation, together with a copy of one of their bills and their photo ID)
  • Proof of income: pay slip or tax notice
  • Foreign tax identification number

If a bank rejects your application to open an account, it must provide grounds for its decision. In such cases, you may appeal to the Banque de France, which will assign you a bank.

You will find below a list of banks available in the Alpes-Maritimes:

Banque Populaire, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Caisse d’Epargne, CIC, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel, HSBC, La Banque Postale, LCL, Société Générale.

Finding an accomodation

There are various ways of finding a new accommodation in France :

  • Relocation agencies: Firms that specialize in helping skilled employees and their families relocate to France. Their services include obtaining official documents, searching for accommodation, schools for the children, and employment for spouses.
  • Apartment hunters: Professionals who specialize in searching for apartments and houses. After an in-depth interview to determine the needs of the individual or family, apartment hunters search for an ideal home on their behalf.
  • Real estate agents: When a property owner chooses to use an estate agent, the fees are shared between the owner and the future tenant. To find an estate agent, you can contact the relevant trade associations.
  • Specialist websites: Searches can be performed based on certain criteria (location, apartment size, rental price, number of bedrooms, etc.). The most popular websites are:
    • Seloger.com
    • Explorimmo
    • ParuVendu
    • Rentals between individuals:
      • pap (Particulier à Particulier)
      • Le Bon Coin (website featuring classified ads from individuals)

Numbers to know in an emergency

  • European emergency number : 112. If you are a victim or witness of an accident in a country in the European Union
  • SAMU (French Emergency Medical Assistance Service) : 15. To call out a medical team to a medical emergency as well as to be referred to a round-the-clock health facility
  • Emergency Police number : 17. To report a crime requiring an immediate police response
  • Fire Brigade : 18. To report a dangerous situation or accident concerning people or property and receive a swift response