Do I rent or buy my home?

Our clients generally rent their homes as the process to buy is both costly and long.

For purchases, the buyer pays a 10% down payment and signs a promesse de vente (promise to buy). Approximately 3 months later, the final deed of sale is signed. At this time, the buyer also pays legal fees amounting to approximately 8 % of the purchase price.

Renting is indeed much faster as well as more flexible. Most homes are available right away or within a reasonable time frame. The duration of an unfurnished rental contract is either 3 or 6 years. The tenant may cancel the contract at any time during the lease by providing 1 or 3 months notice.

Should I live in the city or in the suburbs?

Many different factors must be evaluated before making such a decision: space, budget, workplace location, transportation, children's schooling, lifestyle, pets, etc.

If you want to live in a house, you will most likely choose to live in the suburbs. The Paris region offers an elaborate transportation system, allowing for a reasonable commute between the suburbs and the city.

If you prefer to live in Paris, you will most likely live in an apartment.

Our orientation program is designed to help you understand the available options in order for you to see the full picture and make the right choices from the start.

How do I open a French bank account?

Typically, opening a French bank account will require proof of residence. Here's the "catch-22": you want to open a bank account in order to secure a home rental, but you are required to establish a residence in order to do so.

We have partners at various banks that understand the special situation of newcomers in France. Not only will you be received with open arms, our contacts are bilingual and can explain their banking services to you in English.

Can I bring my pets?

France loves pets! You can bring a total maximum of 5 domestic animals (dogs, cats, or ferrets) into France.

There is no quarantine for pets arriving to France. However, the following points must be attended to before your pet arrives on French soil:

The animal must be at least 12 weeks old.

A veterinary medical certificate (English and French) of good health delivered by the nationally licensed veterinarian of the country of export.

Rabies vaccination must be valid (boosters included) upon arrival on French territory. For first vaccinations, or if the previous vaccination was not maintained, you must wait 21 days between the last shot of the vaccination protocol and departure. Do note that any rabies vaccination prior to the microchip is considered as non-valid.

Pets must be identified by a microchip compatible with standard ISO 11784 or annex A ISO standard 11785 or a tattoo that is clearly legible and applied before July 2011.

As space does not allow us to elaborate on regulations for all domestic animals and countries of origin, we invite you to verify with your local French Embassy.

What international schools are there in and around Paris?

Families moving to France have an array of international schools to choose from both in the city and in the nearby suburbs.
We have included a sample list for you (Please note that this list is not exhaustive. There are also a number of international schools in other major cities in France) :



What should I bring with me when I come house hunting?

Good walking shoes! Although we will accompany you by car to each selection of homes, we recommend that you walk around the neighborhoods under evaluation in order to get a better "feel" for them.

Don’t forget to bring your camera, unless you use your smartphone. Not only will the photos refresh your memory, it is an excellent "pre-arrival" tool, allowing you to show your family their new home, and show the children where they will be going to school.

If you intend to visit schools, be sure to bring your children’s school transcripts and medical records.

I hear that the kitchens are not always equipped, what does this mean?

In France, it is not unusual for unfurnished rentals (especially apartments) to provide only a sink in the kitchen, as homeowners are not obliged to equip the kitchen. Fortunately, today more apartments are being rented with kitchen cabinets and sometimes even some, if not all, appliances.

Installing a kitchen need not frighten you. We provide a choice of solutions for every budget: from helping you "do-it-yourself" to arranging for a customized installation by a kitchen specialist.

Please keep in mind that curtains, curtain rods, light fixtures and bathroom fixtures (ie: towel racks) are not considered standard equipment either.

What is the duration of a rental contract?

Unfurnished: 3 or 6 years
Furnished: 1 year or less for short term rentals

What payments are required at the lease signing?

  • First month’s rent or pro-rated amount based on lease start date
  • Housing deposit (equivalent to 1 month rent for unfurnished rentals, 1 or 2 months rent for furnished rentals)
  • Real estate agency fee (will vary according to type of contract)
  • Lease draft fee (not always required)
  • Inspection in fee (not always required)

Do the homes have air conditioning?

Air conditioning is extremely rare and practically non-existent.

Can I bring my home country appliances?

The electrical current in France is 220 volts, 50 cycles.

If the current is lower in your country than 220 volts (e.g.: US – 110 volts), you can use a step-down transformer (purchased in hardware stores in US or France). However, if your appliance is 60 cycles, it will not perform well, even with a transformer.

If you intend to purchase “pre-wired” appliances prior to your move overseas, please consider the following: What will you do in the event of shipping damage? What if your appliance does not work once installed, will your warranty be honored? Most importantly, will the movers be able get your appliances through the doorway?

I am a non-European accompanying spouse, what opportunities are there for me?

There are plenty of opportunities for growth: numerous organizations exist to help the English speaking community adjust to life in France and provide an abundance of opportunities to meet people, get involved in local activities, volunteer, attend a variety of classes, and learn new skills.

We have an extensive database available for you to choose the activities you would like to discover and/or pursue while in France: whether for personal or professional growth.

Can I have my prescriptions filled?

Valid prescriptions from your home country can be filled here. However, keep in mind that if the medication does not exist in France, a French equivalent product will be substituted.

Some over-the-counter products from your home country may require a prescription in France. Until you are certain, we suggest you pack an adequate supply of items you use on a regular basis.

In any event, be sure to bring copies of your medical records with you.

Why hire a relocation company?

To save time, money, and make the right choices FROM THE START !

SAMU medical emergency
Police secours Police
appel d’urgence european emergency
01 47 07 77 77
SOS HELP English Language Crisis Line
01 46 21 46 46
(3pm - 11 pm every day English / French)
01 40 05 48 48
Brulures graves BURNS
01 42 34 17 58
Carte bancaire volée STOLEN BANK CARDS
08 36 69 08 80
08 21 00 25 25

About France...
(Guide for foreign residents)

Especially for spouses...
MESSAGE ( Parenting Resource)
WICE (Continuing Education)

Simply practical...
SNCF (Train Travel)

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8 rue de l'Exposition, 75007 Paris
+ 33 (0)1 45 50 25 30