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Guide to Settling in France for Newbie Expat

Guide to Settling in France for Newbie Expats

Relocation has never been easy. There is tons of research to do and many administrative stuffs to deal with. Often, we learn from all these experience. We too, experience delays in our settling in, but right now we are pretty much settled after 3 months of our stay here.

Here, we round up a guide for Newbies Expat settling in, in France.​

Setup Bank Account

A bank account is a must have and the first thing to setup before your expat journey starts. Because a lot of subscriptions like mobile and online platform requires a local french bank account and details. And with an ATM card, it is easier and more convenient than bringing loads of cash walking around.

How to choose a Bank?

For us, we chose the nearest bank to our residence. And one that has English speaking advisor. You can arrange with your agent for a schedule or if not email the bank to book any appointment. (I email 2 of them, however after initial correspondence, they didn't reply afterwhich)

Question: Should I use HSBC since I am using it already in Singapore?
Advice: If HSBC is near to your residence, you can go ahead. Because, you might be travelling to HSBC whenever insufficient documents needed. Sometimes their email response is slow.​

List of Banks in France

​What documents to bring along

  • Your Passport
  • Rental Agreement or Recent bill indicating your address
  • Recent 3 Months payslip

Also, be prepared that the process will take longer than usual. Ours took 6 weeks to process as we have a joint account and they will require an utilities bill to indicate both of our names on the invoice. Who the Hell has Joint names on utilities bills?

READ:  Tips to renting apartment in France? House or Apartment?

Check for any Administrative mistakes

Despite having scan our passports and many written application forms (Yes, you have alot of handwritten forms to fill in). They still manage to get my name wrong, and the duplicate ATM card names.

Internet / Mobile Lines

Here is a guide on choosing your internet service provider and mobile services

How to choose an Internet / Mobile Service Provider ?

There are probably 4 companies that you can choose from for your internet and mobile services namely - 

How to choose?

For us, we chose the cheapest and also depending on your needs. SFR, Free and Bouygues are pretty competitive in their pricing. The factor will actually be if you are travelling out of France and within Europe. They have data plans of such, for €15.99 a Month for subscribers. 

Limited Promotion - €1.99 / Month

Limited Promotion - €1.99 / Month

€1.99 for 20GB of Data. I switch to this from

€1.99 for 20GB of Data. I switch to this from

And sometimes they do have promotional offers going on, keep alook for them.​

Read our comparison here - [Click]

​What documents to bring along

  • Your Passport
  • Bank Slip indicating the IBAN number 
  • Carte Bleue aka Bank ATM Card (In order to subscribe Mobile services you need this card)
IBAN Specimen

IBAN Specimen

carte bleu

carte bleu

What? Does it mean that I have to wait for the Bank account to be approved with the Carte Bleue, then I can apply for my mobile?
-- Unfortunately, Yes. We waited for 6 weeks for the bank account to be approved. And been hanging around without mobile and mobile internet.​


In France, there are numerous hypermarket on top of your daily fresh produce market

List of Hypermarkets

Here are a list of them 

  • Auchan
  • Bricomarché
  • Casino
  • Carrefour
  • E.Leclerc
  • Franprix
  • Géant
  • Intermarché
  • Leader Price
  • LIDL
  • Monoprix

How to choose?

Cheapest of course! In our area, we have Lidl, Carrefour, Auchan, Leader Price and E.Leclerc. We usually doing our weekly groceries at Auchan, Lidl and 

  • Meat Products from Lidl
  • Seafood from E.Leclerc or Lidl
  • Toiletries from all 3.
  • Soft Drinks from Lidl

Every week they have promotional items, do keep a lookout in their brochures. Otherwise, you can also download this app - Shopfully. This app will collate the promotional catalogs that is near your area. 

Of course, there are more things than just these 3 guides. However, communications, financials and groceries will form part of your daily necessity. Settle these first and the rest will be easier.

Did you enjoy this article? Do share them! Or do you have any great tips of your own? Share 'em in the comments!

About the Author Donovan

Don is a Kiasu Singaporean that blogs his journey while exploring Europe. A Singapore Travel Blog that provides travel guides and tips on how to travel free and easy in Europe.

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