What to do when you move permanently to France?

Hi everyone. We have finally made the move to the Aude (11) in the Languedoc. We have rented a house for 8 months while we look around. What do I need to do now? For example, how do you get a French social security number? How do you get a carte vitale? We have already bought a car here and registered same but I’m sure there are a lot of other bits of paper that we need to get. The plan is for Henry to exhibit and sell his paintings, and for me to use my brand new TEFL qualification! Any pointers/advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Sheila

Thanks for that Evelyne, and apologies for the delay in replying, but we were busy getting all the paintings ready for the brocante today. It was a waste of time but we had anticipated that it would be. We just enjoyed the experience, and the weather gods were kind - no rain although it was very cloudy early on. Been a while since I’ve been up at 6 am!


I spoke to a lovely lady at the RAM today (it’s rare enough to mention). She confirmed that if you are setting up a business in France, then you will get your social security cover and Carte Vitale from the department that deals with the business.
In France, there is a myriad of social security departments. Historically, each trade created its own so you don’t get a unified system.
CPAM is for employees, MDA for artists, For other categories, there are lots of different departments, however the RSI is meant to be a one-stop shop for anyone in commerce, services or trade. Oh I forgot the MSA for farmers! And there might be some others I don’t know about…

So again my advice is: decide on your business category and then apply for cover.
In the meantime, use your E111 to get some health costs reimbursed.
Good luck!

Look what you have started Sheila - this will run and run!!

No I haven’t written a guide but there are lots of them around - but they all make it sound more complicated than it is.
This is a hell of a good site - why don’t you just ask what it is you would like to know. Or is this Chronic Procrastination Syndrome?
Only asking!
Yes - we lived in Bristol for 10 years - fine city but for the weather, the trains, the City Council, the school etc etc!!!

And if you are coming to Herault - try www.heraultwhatson.info

Ah Jacques - it happens to people in Bristol! It is really easy if you are an EU citizen - with health and driving and all that stuff that used to be a bit of a nightmare. The hardest thing we found was the endless questions you need to get a car re-registered for France. Not sure why I bothered but you are meant to after a few months. A good Estate Agent will be a great help, Sarah Vedrenne is a fine accountant and knows all the ropes. Otherwise - don’t hang about - we still get BBC Points West on our Sky box and really - those endless fronts coming up the Bristol Channel - oh dear no
You will find a list of professionals we trust at http://heraultwhatson.squarespace.com/services/
Lots of other stuff too - and the Bristol Beziers flights are a godsend

Hi Sheila - Not sure if you have already been advised of this - sorry no time to read all 5 pages of comments. I can’t advice on you but I too set my husband up as an artist last November. After lots of going round in circles I eventually discovered that for artists you need to go directly to your tax office. They will give you a siret number which gives you official status. There are 2 ways of setting up your business depending on how much you think you will earn but you do have time to change your mind (6 - 12 weeks I think). We set up in a way that we only pay tax on profit - ie paintings sold minus costs. You do all this with someone at the tax office. They will then help you complete your tax return and tell you when to come in to do that. We are 10 months down the line and after submitting a tax return I applied to the maison des artistes and now have a social security number but as yet no carte vitale. Maison des artistes should sort that out for the family (I need to chase now that August is out of the way)It is quite a frustrating process but so long as you don’t expect anything too quickly you’ll get there - good luck and if you do get there quickly, please let me know what to do!!!

Hi Shelia, I am an independant Financial Planner working with The Spectrum-IFA Group (www.spectrum-ifa.com). I speak to lots of people making the move to France and have colleagues in your area who I am sure will do the same. We are all permanent residents so not only have personally gone through what you have now undertaken but also are qualified under French regulations to offer financial planning. Please feel free to visit our site and contact Daphne Faulkes who lives in the Aude and also writes for the Aude flyer (www.audeflyer.com) Good Luck in France. Best wishes Amanda

I can vouch for Sarah too.

bureaucrats’ paradise - couldn’t have put it better myself Finn :wink:

Thanks for the ‘Advice France’ link David


OK - you may be surprised at how often it DOESN’T ‘go without saying’. Anyway I emphasise my bit about ‘Advice France’ above. She will really make your life easier, and I am NOT on commission!!

If you register with “La Maison des Artistes” you don’t need a siret - you get a MDA no. I would advise talking to Sarah Vedrenne - english speaking accountant - at Advice France - she will do everything for you and her charges are very reasonable. Much less than UK accountants charge.

Goes without saying David! I’m currently at level B2 of the Cadre de référence pour les langues du Conseil d l’Europe, which is classed as “Utilisateur Indépendant”. However, I am not good with the telephone. :slight_smile:


Thanks for that Mairead. Have printed off application form. Thanks, Sheila.

Dear Shiela,
re: your husbands intention to exhibit/sell his work. One Annual platform in Aude is Artistes a suivre
)May 17-20 2012. There are now application forms online at www.artistesasuivre.org
Bonne chance
Mairead McGrath

Hi Suz. Thanks for that. We are in Lagrasse, a small mediaeval village (population circa 650 to 700), which is in Corbieres. We love it here (so far!).

Totally agree with this advice re banks!