Getting deposit back from landlord

In brief, my situation is that I have left my last rental in August and predictably, my unreasonable landlord is being difficult about returning my 3000 euro deposit. Because they have been so difficult ( 2 illegal notices to leave, rude emails and generally unprofessional ) I took advice about earlier this year and I was advised by several people not to pay the last two months rent. in the end, I couldn't bring myself to do this but I really, really wished I had. I know it,s not the right thing to do but in my case, it would have saved me a lot of hassle and stress. It,s a shame France doesn't have independent deposit schemes like the UK. I am a landlord myself and admittedly, I would not like my tenant not to pay at the end of the tenancy but it appears to be the only solution to avoid outright theft by dishonest landlords.

I wonder if anyone can help me with the following questions:

Is the onus on the landlord to prove alleged damage in deposit dispute cases or does the tenant have to prove that they left the property as they found it. ( my landlord didn't provide anyone to inspect the house at the end of the tenancy and the only provided a word .doc inventory in English )
Can mediate between landlords and tenants?
Does anyone have any experience taking a matter like this to court in France ?

Thank you, any comments or pointers appreciated

Our landlord also held on to our deposit, it does seem very normal so the best place to start is your legal assistance company. It is usually included in your house hold insurance, call them and they take over everything for you.

As landlords ourselves when our tenant left the property in a bad state we had photos to prove the entry and departure states, we also obtained quotes to return the property to it's original condition.

I seem to remember that the key is that any faults were pointed out on the original entry document, otherwise it is assumed to be in a perfect state and any damage at the end is assumed to be the responsibility of the tenants. Have a look at the Friendly Advice Bureau on here for info and I think there is a group for Property landlords where you might find some good info.