Relocation Guide: Paris Our guide to living and working overseas
Paris Overview of Paris
As one of the most populated places in Europe, the French capital Paris promises enriching culture, breathtaking architecture and intriguing history. With the second highest number of Michelin restaurants in the world, Paris maintains an excellent living standard and is still one of the most desirable cities for living. Paris’ prime location is also perfect for transport links throughout Europe, making it a world favourite destination to visit.
Cheques are widely used in France and do not cost you money when you pay with them. One thing to bear in mind that may be quite different from your home country is that writing a cheque without adequate funds (or agreed overdraft) in France is a criminal offence.
Standard banking hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 16:00. Some banks also extend hours on one day a week, while others (usually small branches) close for the day at 12:00-14:00.
Currency: Euro Government: Democratic Republic
Carte Bleu (CB)
Capital City: Paris
Language: French Paris Population: 10,197,678 Population Density: 24,948 /km² Religion: Christian
Air Energi in Paris
Air Energi has a Paris office located in La Défense - Areva Tower ,1 place Jean Millier Paris, La Défense Cedex. All our mobiliasations are fully supported by our assignment support team in the UK.
Paris is located in the north-bending arc of the river Seine. The city is relatively flat, but has several prominent hills, of which the highest is Montmartre at 130m.
Paris has warm and pleasant summers with average high temperature of 25°C (77°F) and low of 15°C (59°F). Winter is chilly, but rarely falls below freezing. Spring and autumn have warm days and cool evenings. Rain falls throughout the year, and although Paris is not a very rainy city, sudden showers are not unusual.
Visa or MasterCard are generally accepted everywhere. American Express and Diners Club cards are not accepted everywhere, but tend to be OK in upmarket hotels and restaurants or shops in touristy areas. You can also use a credit card to call from most public phones; Also, train and metro tickets, parking and motorway tolls.
Area: 2,723 km2
This can be used everywhere in France for payment and withdrawing cash. They usually cost €15-25/year, but have the downside of not working outside of France. Internationally accepted cards (such as Visa or MasterCard) usually cost €25-45/year. You can usually opt to use them as a debit or credit card, but the cost and terms on the account may differ.
ATM machines (distributeurs/guichets automatiques) can be found at most bank branches, post offices, train stations, airports, and shopping centres. Most banks charge a commission when you withdraw money, especially if it is from the network of another bank.
Opening a local account
You will need proof of a French address, plus a passport for ID purposes.
Paris is unlike other cities; it is a city thriving with life and to live in its centre is to become part of that life. On the other hand, if you’re arriving with a family, you might consider living in one of the suburbs where you’ll find larger houses with gardens. Renting usually includes water and building maintenance. If you have gas heating, the cost is generally shared between the tenants and is dramatically less expensive than electric heating. All other utilities are paid for separately and individually, but air conditioning is rare in Paris. Negotiating your rent is unheard of. There is such high demand for apartments in Paris that landlords have their pick of tenants. The majority of people who live in Paris live in apartments. There is an enormous range when it comes to price – you can find a room for a few hundred euros per month and you can spend upwards of €10,000 per month for a loft looking out over the Seine. It is rare for parking to be provided; if you have a car or expect to purchase one, consider your options when deciding where to live.
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A tourist tax is applicable to all forms of paid accommodation: hotels, apartments, and furnished accommodation ranging from €0.20 to €1.50 per person per day, it is not necessarily included in the price of the room but its payment is obligatory.
Cost of living * This is an approximate guide only
Museum admission €10 - €15 Sandwich €5 Pizza €8 - €10 Coffee €1 bar, €2 terrace 3 course meal for one: €15 - €20 Baguette €0.80 A beer in a café €5 to €9 Cinema ticket €9 Conservative dress is the norm for both men and women especially in dark colours (black, dark blue, charcoal grey) and in most businesses, those in management or senior positions will wear suits (trouser suits also for women). Extended business lunches and post-work drinks are regarded as part of the modern working environment to relieve the increasingly long working hours.
Food and Drink
France is famous for its rich and decadent cuisine. Eating is a big part of the French lifestyle, and is a social occasion. A Typical breakfast will consist of breads and sweet pastries, lunch perhaps salad with ham and regional cheeses. Some popular French dishes you might find in café’s and restaurants: Beef Bourginon (beef stewed in a red wine sauce) Duck l’orange (slices of duck breast in an orange-flavoured sauce, Foie Gras (very popular duck liver, usually served with toasted bread) and steak frites (beef steak with french fries). If you are feeling a little adventurous, try Escargots (snails in garlic butter) or Grenouille (frogs legs), in more traditional french eateries.
It is common to eat and watch the world go by, so most restaurant café’s will have terraces where you can do this. Sometimes you are charged more for this, as opposed to the indoor seating areas. Smoking is no longer allowed inside café’s and restaurants (since January 2008), however you will often find restaurants with terraces that are allocated for smokers.
When in France, you should make an effort to speak French by learning a few key phrases. Speaking solely in English can be seen as rude. If you don’t speak French, to help ease into conversation you should start with an apology for not speaking French as this is a sign of respect, then ensure you address colleges and clients with the appropriate title of Madame, Mademoiselle, Monsieur followed by their Surname. The French are very direct when communicating; they appreciate courtesy and dislike exaggeration. Appointments are necessary for business and punctuality is key. Business cards are usually exchanged after initial introduction and you should wait to be told where to sit. As the fashion capital of Europe, the French dress code is very stylish and they are not as relaxed as other western countries. Good quality accessories are a must, however shoes should be discreet. Men dress in dark coloured, conservative suits for business, whilst women stick to stylish suits that are not reveling. Standard business hours are Monday to Friday 9am-6pm.
A common way of getting to know someone is to have a drink together. But the French are not into bar binges, and an aperitif is usually sipped and stops at two. Wine accompanies dinner and never replaces it, and a glass is filled to three-quarters, never to the brim. Dinner guests are expected to bring a gift,
however modest, and this is usually a bottle of wine, flowers, or a pre-agreed desert or cheese dish. The French keep their arms above the table, not in their lap.
Paris public transport is operated by the RATP and includes the métro subway system, RER trains, buses, night buses, Montmartrobus, and the Montmartre funicular railway, all of which accept the same tickets and passes (except see RER Trains). You can purchase individual tickets, booklets of ten tickets, or Paris metro pass designed especially for visitors and offering unlimited travel.
The Paris métro system is a marvel of efficiency, providing safe and fast transportation for more than nine million passengers each day. Métro lines are numbered from 1 to 15, while the direction of trains is indicated by the name of the last station on the line. To enter the métro system, insert your ticket into a turnstile slot and go through the turnstile, taking the stamped ticket. You may change lines as needed to reach your destination, without using additional tickets.
Regional commuter trains extend the reach of public transport into the Paris suburbs. The RER train lines are identified by the letters A, B, C, D, and E. RER trains run from about 05:30 to about 00:30. Métro tickets may be used on RER trains while traveling within the métro system, that is, inside Paris. Outside the Paris area special RER fares and tickets apply when traveling to or from the airports, Versailles, and Disneyland Paris.
Paris bus routes are numbered, and begin operation at 06:30. The last bus usually leaves the terminal around 20:30, but a few lines run until 00:30, as indicated by signs at the bus stops. There are also night buses, called Noctambus, which operate hourly between Chatelet and the main gates of Paris from 01:00 to 05:00. The night routes are labeled with letters rather than numbers. Maps of the bus routes can be found in bus shelters and inside the buses. Most shelters display the name of the stop to help you keep track of where you are. If only a few people are waiting for the bus, signal the driver to stop.
The opening of the Ve’lib rental bike scheme brought biking in Paris into the public eye. The scheme allows bikes to be rented from numerous points in Paris at a cost, however the first half hour is free (although you do have to register). With over 200km (125 miles) of cycle lanes throughout Paris, the scheme has been really successful with Parisians as the scheme provides a sufficient and carefree way of getting to city meet-
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ings and luncheons without the hassle and outrageous expense of city parking. Bookstores and cycle shops in Paris stock various maps of cycle routes and guides. To find out where to access one of the 20, 000 bikes in over 800 locations view the below webste: www.velib.paris.fr
Driving in Paris
Driving is Paris is not recommended. As a highly built up and over populated city, driving as a method of transport can be stressful, frustrating and a time consuming exercise, with frequent traffic jams guaranteed during peak/rush hour (Monday to Friday 07:3009:00 and 17:00-19:00). Most hotels and apartments in Paris have no garages or parking spaces available and the street parking that is available is strictly policed.
Transport to the City
A combination of RER line C www.ratp.info and the ADP Navette (shuttle) departs from both terminals and operates daily between 05:45-23:15. Air France coaches (journey time: 30 mins), Blue Shuttles and general taxi cabs also serve the city centre from both terminals.
Healthcare in Paris
Once you have signed your employment contract, you will be enrolled onto our medical scheme, which is a contributory scheme
enabling you to pay for any emergency healthcare you may need. This health plan does not however cover existing illnesses, dental care or eye exams. France offers a vast choice of general practitioners and healthcare specialists, part of its mammoth social security system which, although very expensive and a constant source of funding worry, is one of the finest anywhere. French employees see about 24 percent of their gross salary, deducted at source, to fund the social security system, referred to as Sécurité sociale. A large part of this goes into public healthcare, to which every legal resident of France has access under the law of universal coverage, la Couverture maladie universelle. Anyone in France can consult any doctor or specialist, regardless of whether the patient is affiliated to the French social security system or has private medical insurance. If you subscribe to the French social security system, whether as an employee or self-employed, most of your healthcare needs will be partially reimbursed, albeit at different rates.
EHIC Health Card
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to access state-provided healthcare in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge. Everyone who is resident in Europe should have one and carry it with them when travelling abroad. Remember to check your EHIC is still valid before you travel. Applying for the card is free and it’s valid for up to five years. Presenting the EHIC entitles you to treatment that may become necessary during your trip, but doesn’t allow you to go abroad specifically to receive medical care.
No Vaccinations are required for France.
Non-EEA Visitors to France
If you are visiting from outside of the EEA then you need to establish if any reciprocal agreement exists between your home country and France. If necessary, you will need to take out private health insurance for the visit.
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Tra vel Tips Be prepared
Generally, overseas travellers are more likely to be injured through unintentional injuries than to be struck down by exotic infectious diseases. In fact, accidents and traffic collisions are the most frequent cause of death among travellers, so ensure you have good insurance and if you are hiring a vehicle, ensure it is in good working order. It will be beneficial to have some vehicle maintenance knowledge if you are planning on travelling to the more remote areas of the world, where a breakdown in harsh conditions can cost your life.
Copy your documents
In the unfortunate event of your luggage going missing, or your passport / wallet is stolen or lost, it is a good idea to have copies that can help you with re-issues. Take 2 colour photocopies each of your passport, plus visa stamps and documents, driving licence, important prescriptions or other ID documents. Make 2 sets of the documents and keep these copies separate from your main luggage, preferably in 2 separate bags. It is also a good idea to copy scanned or phtocopied documents to an Internet based e-mail account. Make sure someone at home knows how to access it in case of an emergency.
Check with your medical practitioner on what vaccines are required before your travel. Due to your medical history, you may require more than one dose, or you may need boosters for childhood vaccines. Check the latest travel advice and travel bulletins for your destination before you depart, and also while travelling, so you can ensure you have the latest information. Common diseases contracted by travellers include those which are the result of eating or drinking contaminated food or water, or not practising safe sex, plus a number of mosquito or tick-borne diseases endemic to tropical areas. Be sure to take measures to avoid being bitten such as wearing light-coloured clothing that covers your arms and legs, regularly applying an appropriate insect repellent and staying in mosquito-proof accommodation or using bed nets.
Taking medicines with you
Book a checkup at your doctor or dentist, dbefore you leave. If you wear glasses or contacts lenses, bring an extra pair of glasses and your prescription. Persons taking prescription medications should make sure they have an adequate supply for the trip, and/or bring their prescription, making sure it includes the medication trade name, manufacturer’s name, generic name, © Air Energi 2013
and dosage. Prepare a simple medical kit of over-the-counter medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, antihistamine, antiseptic, diarrhoea medication), bandaids, thermometer, sunscreen, and insect repellent. When travelling overseas with medicine, (including over-the-counter or private prescription) it is important that you talk to your doctor and discuss the amount of medicine you will need to take. Carry a letter from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you will be taking, and stating that it is for your own personal use. Leave the medicine in its original packaging so it is clearly labelled with your own name and dosage instructions. If you have to inject your medication, inform your airline before you travel and, if necessary, arrange a letter from your doctor explaining why you need to carry them.
Your health on long-haul flights
Keep important medication with you in case your luggage goes missing. To help avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT): drink plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and whilst seated, stretch and rotate your feet and lower legs. Walking around the cabin at regular intervals will help.
If you have been scuba diving, don’t travel in an aircraft for at least 24 hours after your final dive.
Coping with Jetlag
Factor the effects of jet lag into your itinerary. In order to cope with Jetlag you should get a good deal of sleep before your journey. It is also important to rest as much as possible during your flight. Planning to arrive at your destination as near to the time when you normally go to sleep will also help with the adjustment. If you are able to plan your itinerary allow time on arrival for adjustment or plan meetings at similar times to back home. Some people advise changing their watches to destination time when they get onto the plane. While this helps many people, for those who are on regular medication, such as diabetics, watches should remain on home time until you are able to adjust your medication to local times on arrival at your destination or as suggested by your health advisor.On arrival at your destination get active as soon as possible, as exercise has been proven to improve productivity. Adjust your meals and activities to local time as soon as you can. Exposure to light is also a good way of naturally allowing your body to adjust. If you need to take a short nap, do, it will help refresh you, but don’t forget to use an alarm clock or wake up call to get you up! www.airenergi.com
If you happen to lose your baggage on arrival at your destination airport, tell the airline immediately and get suitable compensation. Agree on an amount you can spend on essential items that you will need and give them an address to deliver the luggage to when they find it. It is wise to make a copy of your passport details and any other important papers or vaccination certificates that you are carrying with you when you travel. Leave them in a safe place in the office or copy to an Internet based e-mal account. Make sure someone at home either a partner or friend knows how to access it in case of an emergency. You will need photo identification even for air travel within the UK.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times; thieves will use many tricks to distract you - wiping something off your shoulder while an accomplice is picking your pocket, getting young children to surround you while they plan to rob your belongings. Trust your instincts, especially when visiting countries where a high poverty rate comes along with high petty crime rates. When not attending meetings, try to blend in with the crowd when out and about - try not to look like a visitor! When enjoying the local nightlife, guard your food/drinks and keep your wits about you. Beware of the fact that you will be an easy target after a few too many drinks. Avoid walking home to your hotel late at night, even if it is close by. Get a taxi. Don’t take shortcuts through poorly lit areas, it pays to trust your instincts in these situations. Keep your wits about you when making new friends - men and women may come across very friendly indeed if you are the route to an easier life. Be careful of telling people where you live.
Unsafe Water - What to do
If travelling to more remote areas with poor sanitation - only drink boiled water, hot beverages, such as coffee and tea, canned or bottled carbonated beverages, beer, and wine. Ice may be made from unsafe water and should be avoided. It is safer to drink from a can or bottle of beverage than to drink from a container that was not known to be clean and dry. However, water on the surface of a beverage can or bottle may also be contaminated. Therefore, the area of a can or bottle that will touch the mouth should be wiped clean and dry.
Frequently asked questions Do I need a visa to enter Paris? Those who are not EU citizens will require a valid entry visa. We will advise and assist you with the process of obtaining one if necessary. Can I take my family with me? Those who are non EU citizens will require a valid visa / permit. We will advise and assist you with the process of obtaining one if necessary Do I need a local bank account? No, but if you choose to open one, you will need a French residence.
Contacts Air Energi France Paris La Defense Tour Ariane 5 Place de la Pyramider Tour Ariane La Defense 9 La Defense Cedex Paris France 92088 Phone: +33 0155 681 207 Fax: +33 0155 681 000
Air Energi's guide to living and working overseas in Paris