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Setting Up Your New Home in France

Volume II, Issue 36

I have this crazy idea. It’s called a “Carte de Propriétaire.” It’s an idea for a new French visa for non-resident property owners. It would be easy to obtain once you purchase a property and it would entitle property owners to some of the benefits of residents…like easily opening bank accounts and getting a French debit card (Carte Bleue), access to loans with French banks that lend more than 80%, getting subscriptions on cell phones and a variety of other privileges.

Over lunch with Laurent Queige, the Assistant Director of Paris Tourism, I offered up my crazy idea — a way of making it more appealing to non-residents to invest in France. He loved the idea and vowed to connect me with to those in the administration willing to hear more about it. They should love it, too — it’s a way of getting more of the non-resident property owners “on the books” and a way of encouraging more serious investment in France. Let’s face it, one apartment purchase is easily worth 500,000 euros…and it takes an awful lot of tourists to generate that much from their one-week vacations in France.

I tell you about this now, because I’d be interested in hearing how you would react to such a possibility and what benefits you’d like the visa to offer. Write me at :[email protected] with your comments.

In this issue, Jean Taquet offers up his Qs and As on working and starting a business here from his September 1 Practical Answers column.

In the honor of La Rentrée, I’ve opened up my little black book to help you set up your new home in Paris…everything from turning on the gas and electricity to installing a complete new kitchen. If you’re not quite ready to call EDF/GDF, then tuck this away for future use — it will save you lots of time pouring through the yellow pages for all the necessary contact information.
And with central Paris showing such remarkable gains in appreciation and still performing as viable rental property, we bring you some of the most luscious and spacious properties we’ve come across in a long time! (1st up 15.3%, 2nd up 14.1%, 3rd up 14.5%, 4th up 14.4%, 5th arrondissement up 12.8%!)
Be sure to scroll down if you really want to drool and dream.

Adrian Leeds
Editor, French Property Insider
Email: [email protected]

P.S. It’s not too late to pack your bags for DC and meet with the incredible line-up of presenters at the Living and Investing in France Conference next weekend. I’ll be writing next week’s French Property Insider from the Capital…Paris’ sister city that reminds us so much of Paris. For more information and to register, click on https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/parlerparis/liveinfrance/LIF_DC/LIF_DC_home.html
P.P.S. Your next FPI will be coming from a different sender named [email protected]. Please update your “white listing” rules if you have any. Thank you.

Volume II, Issue 36, September 2, 2004

A Survival Kit for Paris

The following are excerpts from the September 1, 2004 Column. To read the column in its entirety, click on https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/parlerparis/practicalanswers.html
I am trying to choose between an association and an EURL. If I am the founder of an association, can I also be a paid employee? Can an associat
ion be changed to an EURL or some other type of regular business status in the future? What are the advantages of an association and of an EURL? Could you also give me some guidelines on starting a business in France and/or England?

Without knowing the nature of your activities, it is very difficult to advise you accordingly. The bottom line is that, in theory, you would be choosing between a charitable organization and a corporation. There are certain activities that an association cannot carry out, and the same applies for a corporation.

Recent laws have changed the regulations for both corporations and associations and I am not sure they make the choice easier.
A traditional association, for example, runs a kitchen for the homeless, a sports club, or a book group. A traditional corporation runs a business, which needs funding for its creation to be chartered among the partners, and it is meant to make a profit. Today, however, it is becoming much more difficult to define each group and, in an attempt to fully close any loopholes, there are now two types of associations:
(1) The usual non-profit charitable organization, which can issue tax receipts for donations received.
(2) The professional non-profit-making association, which offers service(s) or some type of help for a fee that is comparable to the market price. The latter is now almost completely handled by the fiscal authorities as a normal business, and taxed as such. At the same time, corporations can now be created in France with a capital of one euro. The headquarters can be in one’s lodging for five years following the creation.

To answer your specific questions: Yes, the founding member, who is often an officer, can be paid as an employee if the association is professional. The basic things to know are:
An EURL’s creation has a cost of about 1,000 to 2,000 euros between the legal fees and the taxes. In most cases, retaining a CPA is preferable, and her/his fees are about 2,000 euros a year. You would be the sole partner of the business, since EURL stands for Entreprise Unipersonnelle à Responsibilité Limitée (sole propriety limited liability corporation).
An association’s creation is almost free; the registration cost is 26.50 euros. The Prefecture even provides you with a list of by-laws, which comply with the law of 1901. The main problem is that these by-laws are completely inadequate for running any professional organization. You need by-laws drafted by an experienced professional, which then increases the price of creation to that of a corporation. Considering the liability issue regarding taxes, retaining a CPA is also preferable, and you absolutely need another partner.
Now, the question of creating the home office in the UK versus France is a difficult one to answer. There are evident savings to be made by having a home office in the UK, provided that the level of sales is such that these savings offset the cost of two creations instead of one, as well as the cost of retaining an international fiscal lawyer to assure compliance with the regulations in both countries. I know that professionals in these fields state that reaching a certain level of sales or profit makes it worthwhile. My own experience is that I know of much smaller organizations benefiting from having British headquarters.
My final advice would be that it is much wiser to first develop the best business plan possible, leaving aside the detail of the creation costs. Then choose the most appropriate setting – France or the UK – based on the business plan. The good news is that it is possible to transform an association into a corporation; it is difficult and complex, but it can be done. I would, however, advise against this, because, at least in my mind, this makes the choice of location easier.
I am a British citizen working in France with a 10-year carte de séjour. I have just completed a one-year CDD for my company, and they have now offered me a CDI. (It so happens that I have been working without a contract for a month). However, my partner and I are likely to be moving to another French city in the next few months, and I will then be looking for another job.

Will it be at all possible for me to receive unemployment benefits whilst living in the new city and looking for work, if I have signed the CDI and then left voluntarily? If I ask my employers for another CDD (e.g., 3 months) and then move, would I then be entitled to benefits, as my CDD contract would have ended and not been renewed? What are the main benefits of a CDI over a CDD Are unmarried partners eligible for benefits if the couple moves to a new location due to a new job for the main salary earner?
Before launching into my answer, let me first explain some of your terminology for my readers:

A CDI (Contract Duration Indeterminée) is an indefinite or ongoing, contract with clauses therein defining contract termination procedures by either party.
A CDD (Contract Duration Determinée), is a contract of fixed duration, limited to a maximum of 1 year and renewable only once for a maximum of 6 months. Unlike a CDI, a CDD can only be signed by the employer under specific circumstances defined by the law.
Now, concerning my response to your question: You are, indeed, facing a difficult choice, which is even more complex than it appears. Under French law, at the end of a CDD, you automatically qualify for unemployment benefits anywhere in France, unrelated to a move made because of your partner. Now, if you sign the CDI and resign after three or four months, then it would be just about impossible for you to get unemployment benefits. That alone is going to make your choice very difficult.
Therefore, rather than getting into the technical differences between the two contracts, and considering the extreme complexity of French labor law (which would make my answer barely understandable for most people), allow me to put a completely different twist to your situation. I will not be able to address all the main issues, but a labor lawyer can do so, if you need that information.
An unmarried couple gets very little recognition, if any, from the authorities and the administration. This is especially true regarding labor law. Since you seem to be a pretty committed couple, I would strongly advise you to have a PACS (Pacte Civil de Solidarité) – French Common-Law marriage – signed between t
he two of you as soon as possible. The commitment is still quite limited and the prerogatives quite substantial, however, your situation will then become very different from both a legal and, more importantly, societal point of view.

This is how I would approach your situation:
Step 1 – Get the CDI signed, since it is a formality. The truth is that, since you have been working for a month without any contract, the legal assumption is that you already have a CDI.
Step 2 – Get the PACS set up as soon as possible, and get this document recorded by everyone, including your current employer, so that you get the full benefits of this new status.
Step 3 – In the event of your partner getting a new position in another city in France, he/she should declare this change of address to everyone. Inform your employer of the situation, and then do nothing else.
Step 4 – Soon thereafter, your employer should contact you asking you about your plans. Your answer should be along these lines: “I do not intend to resign, but I agree with you that this new situation could have a serious negative impact on the quality of my work”.
Step 5 – Shortly after that, your employer may propose to you an agreement whereby she/he dismisses you, but you do not take them to court. The employer would need a very strong legal reason to dismiss an employee and this reason does not exist here. Indeed, incompetence or lack of performance, for example, are not valid reasons.
Step 6 – Register with your local unemployment office in the new city and get unemployment benefits. This procedure should pose no problem.
The only step that is far from sure is number 5. There are ways of forcing an employer to dismiss you that involve risk, but you can act upon this.
Another solution, (only if you are sure that you will be moving very shortly, say, for example, within three or less months), would be to sign a CDD that effectively covers the period prior to your leaving Paris. This would not be as good, since none of the parties has the right to break the CDD prematurely, nor could it be renewed a second time. Effectively, it means that you would sign, so as to leave the company at the end of the second contract. Should your partner secure employment in the meantime, his/her new job may start only much later, or even sooner, in which case, you would, of course, have to factor in and manage this discrepancy. That said, you would still have fully secured your rights to unemployment.
Editor’s Notes:
Jean Taquet is a French jurist and associate member of the Delaware Bar Association, specializes in civil, criminal and commercial law. He frequently gives courses about the legal system in France and regularly speaks at the Working and Living in France Conferences in Paris. He is also well known for his informative Q and A columns in past Paris Voice magazines, which can now be purchased in one document as “The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France.
To subscribe to his monthly newsletter, email Jean Taquet at [email protected]
To make an appointment with Jean Taquet for his consultation services:
Phone: Cell: or email [email protected]

By Adrian Leeds

The first three weeks in Paris I got to know the “sous sol” of the “BHV” (Bazaar de l’Hôtel de Ville) as well as the lines in my own face and the sales clerks came to know me as well. It’s not at all unusual for a new Paris resident to quickly discover that if it isn’t found at the BHV, it simply doesn’t exist. King of hardware stores, this cornucopia of do-it-yourself materials is the basis for any new habitat or renovation. But, don’t expect anything to be a bargain.
If you’ve moved into a furnished apartment, you may not have too many details to attend to at first — just a few small fix-it-ups (as we discovered) that will make your new home in Paris feel more like the one you came from.
If it’s a new purchase, then you may need everything from turning on the utilities to installing a new kitchen. The following list should get you off the ground running, although I’m sure you’ll learn plenty along the route to feathering your new nest.
Bon Courage.


*EDF/GDF Gas and Electricity
In the upper right corner of the site, type in Paris and a box will pop up with the coordinates of each agency for each arrondissement. Call the one in which you own your property to have your service connected in your name. You can pay be automatic debits from your French bank account by supplying them with a “RIB” (authorization to access your account by supplying the bank account numbers).
*France Telecom Telephone Service
Dial 1014 or from your phone or any phone to get your phone line in your name or new lines installed.

* Noos Cable TV and Internet
+33 (0)
* Free.fr

Telephone and Television, 29.99 Euros/month
High Speed Internet Access 14.94 Euros/month
Dial Up Networking Free


Le Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville
http://www.bhv.fr/14, rue du Temple
75004 Paris
+33 (0)
You can’t miss it…the BHV is directly in front of the Hôtel de Ville on rue de Rivoli between rues du Temple and des Archives. Saturday is by far the busiest day, so enter at your own risk. Head straight for the lower level for the most complete hardware store in what could be the world. On the upper levels, home and housewares are every bit as complete, from cabinetry and its hardware to appliances and electronics, to linens and drapery, furniture, stationary and to boot, a very inexpensive café with a great view of the City Hall. Expect to spend hours there.







* Castorama
9-11 Cours de Vincennes
75020 Paris
+33 (0)

Place de Clichy
Centre Commercial “Les Arcades”
1/3 rue de Caulaincourt
75018 Paris
+33 (0)

A lesser expensive alternative to the BHV found in other parts of town and all over France, Castorama can be a good choice for hardware basics.
* Leroy Merlin
52, rue Rambuteau
75003 Paris
+33 (0)

Leroy Merlin is another good alternative to the BHV for hardware and home furnishings and is less expensive. Service is typically French — geared more to fitting their own internal systems than satisfying the customer, but you can’t have everything!


* Ikea
Six stores in the Ile de France
If you have a car or are willing to train out to one of the Ikea stores and carry the goods back or have them delivered, Ikea is one stop shopping for everything with the exception of hardware. Ikea has changed the face of France with its low cost, functional, uncomplicated, contemporary furnishings. Traditional France quickly adapted to this Swedish concept of living. It’s a great place to furnish your new pied-à-terre very inexpensively, but if you’re doing up a rental, be careful not to “over-Ikea” the look, which can sometimes look the price you paid. The best department (in my opinion) is the kitchen — where their modular units can be installed in almost any space for a great look and functionality.
* Habitat
10, place de la République
75011 Paris
+33 (0)

Les Halles
1, rue Pierre Lescot
75001 Paris
+33 (0)

Pont Neuf
8 rue Pont Neuf
75001 Paris
+33 (0)

With a wide array of contemporary classics in the latest of colors, you’ll find Habitat irresistible. This season everything is red, red, red and fun, fun, fun. Very practical and moderately priced, it’s one giant step up from Ikea to finish off your pied-à-terre with a touch of class. Three locations in Paris, all central, make it easy to get to and compare with the BHV in the immediate vicinity.
* Lafayette Maison
35, boulevard Haussmann
75009 Paris

Galeries Lafayette opened Lafayette Maison last March with 10,000 square meters totally devoted to home decoration in the same spot where Marks & Spencer once stood. It’s a delightful open and airy space of contemporary furnishings with lots of fun and fantasy. It even includes a gourmet food market and café to make a visit there complete. Don’t expect it to be a bargain.
Le Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville
14, rue du Temple
75004 Paris
+33 (0)

Work your way up one floor after another to an amazing choice of home furnishings! See the above description.

* Pier Import
Centre Commercial des Halles – Level 2
Porte Berger
75001 Paris
+33 (0)

1 Rue de Rivoli
75004 Paris
+33 (0)

4 Boulevard Poissonnière
75009 Paris
+33 (0)

Galerie Marchand Gare ST LAZARE
75009 Paris
+33 (0)

14 place Raoul Dautry
44/46 avenue du Maine
75737 Paris CEDEX
+33 (0)

14 Rue des Sablons
75016 Paris
+33 (0)

264, rue du Faubourg St Honoré
75008 Paris
+33 (0)

92-98 Rue de Provence
75009 Paris
+33 (0)

55 Avenue du Général Leclerc
75014 Paris
+33 (0)

55/57 Avenue d’Italie
75013 Paris
+33 (0)

A friend showed me his pied-à-terre in the Montorgueil district that he had entirely furnished with furnishings from Pier Import purchased in one afternoon and delivered that day! And surprisingly, it was absolutely lovely. With good taste and a good eye, it can be done on a very small budget at Pier Import, what Americans would recognize as Pier One Imports.


* Darty
+33 (0)
Email mailto:[email protected]
There are Darty stores all over Paris and France. I cannot begin to expound on the virtues of purchasing your appliances here. The prices are reasonable, the selection expansive and the service impeccable. I could tell you stories that would make your skin crawl of purchasing from other appliance dealers. Darty is the one and maybe only you can count on, with the exception of the BHV, which will be higher priced on most items.

Le Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville
14, rue du Temple
75004 Paris
+33 (0)
You will find a very respectable selection and excellent service, but be prepared to spend a little more than at Darty.


* Les Affaires
Les Affaires stores are all over Paris under lots of different names and owners. There is no equivalent of them Stateside that I know of — an unusual assortment of goods which are close-outs and irregulars and oddball trinkets. These can be great places to find bargains on unusual things — kitchen basics and odds and ends.

* Vaisselleries
When we landed in a furnished apartment, we couldn’t bare to serve dinner on the chipped and old-fashioned mixed bag of china, so we quickly discovered the “vaisselleries” around town. If you like white simple style dinnerware, these are the shops for you. Stock up on a whole new set for a few Euros just a few Euros for a plate or bowl.
3 place Bataille de Stalingrad
75010 Paris
+33 (0)

89 avenue Choisy
75013 Paris
+33 (0)

Email mailto:[email protected]
Zola Color
70 avenue Emile Zola
75015 Paris
+33 (0)

Lladro Commercial
52 rue Pierre Charron
75008 Paris
+33 (0)

Carlimpex (SA)
33 rue Ponthieu
75008 Paris
+33 (0)


By Adrian Leeds

Derek Bush
DSB Interior Design, Architecture, Space Planning, Design Consultancy, Project Management
32 Bis, rue Poncelet
75017 Paris
+33 (0)
Email [email protected]

Porter Scott
International Living
Email [email protected]
+33 (0)

Pascal Fonquernie
Paris Marais
Email: [email protected]



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