Setting up your new life in France

If you have just bought your French gite or are moving here to buy a gite, you’ll need a few pointers to set up for your new life here. There are lots of similarities between the UK and France but there are also some fundamental differences.

That’s what today’s post is all about.

Setting up a French bank account

Once you have a permanent address here in France, you’ll want to open a bank account. You’ll probably need to start with a basic account as you won’t have a credit history here but you’ll need an account of some kind.

Choose a French bank with a branch in your area or use a European branch of your home bank. It’s entirely up to you.

Expect the same kinds of checks you’re used to at home for identification.

Credit cards in France

The French use credit cards much less than we do in the UK. They still use them and they are freely available but most people use debit cards.

If you’re running a gite, you’ll need to be able to accept credit cards but you won’t necessarily need one yourself. That depends on how much you’ll shop online of course but they don’t have the same profile here as they do there.

Cheques are still very popular here too, so bear that in mind!

Online banking

Most French or European banks offer the same quantity and quality of services you got at home. Online banking, direct debit, overdrafts, loans, web chat and so on.

The French use something called an RIB (Relevé d’Identité Bancaire). It contains your bank, sort code, account number and other information. Most utilities, rentals companies and phone companies will request your RIB.

You can print RIBs yourself or your bank can provide them for you.

Top-up health insurance

While the French have a national health system, it only covers 70% of costs. Therefore, you’ll need top-up health insurance to cover the rest unless you’re willing to pay for yourself.

The French have some laws around insurance that require you to have health, home insurance, car insurance, civic liability and even insurance to cover children in school.

This is one area of French life that deserves exhaustive research!

Setting up a business in France

If you didn’t buy an existing gite business, you may have to set up your own when you’re here. That is as complicated as it is in the UK and we would recommend getting expert help.

If you plan to make an income from renting out gites in France, you will need to set up a business. The law is pretty strict and enforcement is robust so we definitely recommend following the rules!

It’s much easier to set up on your own in France than it is in Spain or Italy but there are still layers of complication involved.

Setting up for your new life in France isn’t that complicated or all that different to life in Britain. If you get stuck, there is usually help on hand with English speaking accountants, lawyers and notaries so you’re never really alone!

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