Ksam, who blogs at Totally Frenched Out, previously took us through the steps of finding your perfect Parisian apartment. Today’s post takes the next step. Fair warning: this post is not for folks moving from abroad into their first Parisian apartment. But stick around. You might learn something.
Step One: Moving Your Stuff
There are a multitude of moving companies in Paris and across France. Some of the more well-known ones are Demeco, Les Déménageurs Bretons, and LeDéménageur.com. Most offer several service packages, going from only moving the boxes from place to place to them doing all of the work (packing, moving and unpacking). Prices vary widely, so you should shop around and get several different estimates (devis) before making your decision.
There are also several companies, such as demenagerseul.com and Je-déménage-seul, that cater to those planning on doing everything themselves (or with the help of a few willing friends!). These firms sell boxes and packing materials and also usually rent moving trucks.
If you’re only in need of a truck (véhicule utilitaire) for the moving portion, here are a few suggestions:
Step Two: Getting Connected to Your Lifelines
Now let’s talk about are the hook-ups. You know – electricity, water, Internet, etc. Those of you already living in France have two options – you can either transfer your account directly if you are moving out of the old place and into the new place on the same day, or you can open an entirely new account and then close the previous one later.
For gas, contact GDF.
Water hookups and charges are typically included in your rent.
If you’re like most expats, you are probably concerned with getting Internet set up ASAP in your apartment. If you don’t have an Internet provider, check out the previous Posted in Paris article on Connecting to the Internet. But if you already have Internet access and would like to keep the same provider, I strongly recommend seeing if they will keep your current account open all the while opening the new one. SFR, Bouygues, Free and Numericable all offer this service.
You can help this process along by giving them as much information as possible about your new apartment, including the previous renter’s phone number. This can be found by plugging any landline phone into the outlet and then dialing any French phone number. An electronic operator will then give you the previous phone number. (Tip: review your French numbers before you do this!) If it turns out there isn’t a phone line set up at your new place, doing it this way will also save you 50 percent of the cost of opening up a new France Telecom line.
Step Three: Filing Your Change of Address
As far as the French administration is concerned, those of you with a carte de séjour have eight days to inform the préfecture of your new address. Given that you often need an EDF or France Telecom bill to provide proof of address, it’s not always possible to do so, but make a note to go in as soon as you can. If you have a French-registered car, you have one month do complete the change of address on your carte grise.
And it doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while the French government actually comes up with an idea to simplify its citizens’ lives. And this time around, it’s in the form of a Web site: http://www.changement-adresse.gouv.fr/
Once you sign up for this site, you will be able to inform all of the following government organizations of your move with just a few simple clicks:
- Pôle Emploi (unemployment services)
- Tax authority
- CAF (benefits service)
- L’assurance santé (health benefits)
At the end, you will also have the option of signing up for mail-forwarding with La Poste. If you choose not to do it here, you can also do it in person at your nearest post office, or online at http://reexpedition.laposte.fr/. Expect to pay 23€ for six months, or 41€ for one year of forwarding.
La Poste also offers something called “Le Pack Ma Nouvelle Adresse”. This special package offers several pre-stamped envelopes so that you can inform businesses of your move, as well as pre-written letters you can use to inform various agencies (EDF, insurance, etc) of your new address. (These could be particularly useful for those with a low level of French). In addition, you’ll get 10 “I moved – take note!” post-cards, as well as a moving guide with moving tips and timelines. Lastly, they also include coupons with special offers from their partner companies offering discounts on moving boxes or moving quotes, etc. The cost for this service is 34€ for six months or 52€ for one year.
Here is a brief list of other companies you may also want inform:
- bank branch
- mobile phone company
- mutuelle (health insurance)
- insurance company
- your employer
- magazines/newspapers subscriptions
- any stores where you have loyalty cards
- any businesses in your home country using your French address
And the very last thing to do: send out the invitations for your pendaison de crémaillère (housewarming party)!