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Coming to France?

If you are planning to live in France for studies or employment, as a foreigner you may need to go through some important administrative processes for your easy stay in France.

Here we give you some key information and page links, which might help you while planning to stay in France.

  • Visa (for short term and long term stay)
  • Stay in France
  • For students:
  1. Paris accommodates each year, large number of students in “Cité international universitaire de Paris”. It’s the outstanding campus of around 40 residences hosting the students and researchers from all over the world. To get accommodation in “CitéU” you may need to apply very well in advance (at least 3 months before arrival to Paris), since it’s the highly Whatever the dates and the length of their stay, candidates must fill out a Request Form for Admission to the Campus. You can find out more information about « CitéU »on the website www.ciup.fr.
  2. Apart from the “Cite U”, there are several possibilities of living in Paris, Il-de-France and in other cities of France through other student residences.

Please find the links, which might help you for the searching the accommodation in other student residences





  • For students and employees/families :
  1. Private housing : In paris and other parts of France, you may find accommodation through the private residences

Immobilier de particulier à particulier : https://www.pap.fr

Student housing for cities of France : https://www.student.com/fr

Spot a home : https://www.spotahome.com/

Lebancoin : https://www.leboncoin.fr

Lodgis : https://www.lodgis.com

Erashome : https://www.erashome.com

Chambre a louer : https://fr.chambrealouer.com/

Cnous : https://www.cnous.fr

Immobilier de jeune : www.immojeune.com

Adele : https://www.adele.org/

Other links for private residences :














  • Administrative procedures
  • Day to day life in major cities of France

Major metropolitan cities in France, especially Paris, are multicultural thus; you may easily survive with the English language for your study or work. But, in day to day life, of course, the better you speak French, the easier it will be to integrate into local society and communities – not to mention getting by with local suppliers, local professionals such as the doctor or the lawyer, and local bureaucracy which is something that even the French often find incredibly fastidious and a big hassle. In short, if you want to make a success of your life in France, speaking French is an essential skill to master.

  • Food and eating

French cuisine in very particular for its taste and is well known over the world for its delicacies. The major part of the French cuisine involves the meat, cheese, bread and vegetables as principle components. The major city lives revolves around the wine and dine in restaurants. But, eating in restaurants is not possible for everyday meals and especially for students due to economical constraints. In this case you can cook in your studio kitchens. Sometimes, you have to manage with the common kitchen facilities in student hostels. If you are confortable with French food then, you can easily manage with small kitchen spaces and less equipped facilities. But, if you have particular eating habits, (ex. Vegans, vegetarians) then you have to most of times cook food at home. The small studios are limited equipped for the Indian cuisine preparations.

  • Grocery shopping

The major cities of France have small grocery shops and the big shopping markets like Lidl, Carrefour, Framprix, Monoprix, Auchan etc. All day-to-day needs can be fulfilled with these shopping spots. There are varieties of brands available to buy different food products. The product names and the information are written in French, so do prepare at least some words needed for the grossary shopping. Apart from the shops, the vegetables and fruits can be bought from the “Marché du matin” (The Saturday or Sunday morning street markets). The shops accept credit/debit cards, “Ticket restaurant” cheques and cash.

  • Doctor and emergencies

Finding a doctor / hospital / ambulance in France:

  • France has a dense network of medical practitioners, and there are doctor’s surgeries (doctor’s offices – for Americans)  (called “cabinets“) even in very small towns. Many doctors operate joint practices, though many have their own private surgeries / offices. To find a doctor, ask any local resident, or find chemists and enquire. You may need to take appointment very well in advance for specialists. In most of the cases its compulsion to take prior appointments for general practitioners.
  • In case of emergencies, you can directly go the “urgence” sections of the hospitals. You can go to this “urgence” section without prior appointment during 24 hours of the day. Look for signs for “Hôpital” or “Centre hospitalier”. In bigger towns or cities, look for signs to the CHR (Centre hospitalier régional) or CHU (centre hospitalier universitaire).
  • Home visits: if the patient is too sick to move, a doctor will make a home visit. Ask your hotel / campsite / flat owner or neighbour to call a local medical facility. The cost is slightly higher than a surgery visit; payment and refunding are the same as for a surgery visit.
  • Sunday and nighttime calls: in all big towns, and some smaller ones too, doctors and chemists’ remain on duty by rotation. Local “gendarmeries” (police stations) can usually provide the phone number of the duty doctor and chemists (médecin de garde, pharmacie de garde); alternatively, ring round local chemists shops until one answers. Doctors are often quite happy to do night calls; often-young doctors, who appreciate the extra payment for coming out at anti-social hours, do these.

Paperwork, formalities:

  • If you see a doctor, or a hospital, you will be given a signed “feuille de soins” (a statement of the treatment carried out), and possibly an “ordonnance” (a prescription). These must be kept carefully, as you will need to send them in in order to claim reimbursement. You will need to take the “ordonnance” to chemists, where you will have to pay for the medical items.
  • The current cost of a standard visit to a GP (general practitioner) in France is 23 € (Sept 2016). For payment and reimbursement, see below. Visits to specialists and to the hospital can cost more, as do home visits and visits at night and weekends.
  • There is a non-refundable daily hospital board and lodging fee of 18€, called the forfait hospitalier; this is in addition to medical fees. Note that French hospitals do not generally have wards. In-patients are most commonly accommodated in twin rooms, though sometimes rooms with up to four beds. Single rooms can usually be obtained, at an extra cost that may or may not be reimbursed.

Paying and getting reimbursed:

In general, the standard principle of the French health service includes the medical insurance, which is compulsory. There is a basic insurance for everyone given by the CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance-Maladie), which covers generally 70% of the costs. CPAM gives the “Carte Vitale” for insurance holders. The “mutuelle” i.e. additional insurance covering 100% of the medical expenses is optional. If you hold these two insurances, then the expenses are paid automatically and you don’t need to pay any extra charges. But if you don’t hold the insurance cards then “pay first, reclaim, then get reimbursed” rule is applied; but for this does not always apply in the event of hospital treatment.

    • Reimbursement rates: Travellers with an “Carte Vitale” will be refunded about 70 per cent of standard doctors’ and dentists’ fees, and between 35% and 65% of the cost of most prescribed medicines. Dentists frequently charge rates above the standard recognised scale of charges. Some common items such as bandages and comfort medicines are refunded at the lower rate, or not at all. 
  • Doctor visits and hospital out-patients: If you hold “Carte Vitale” and “Carte mutuelle”, then in public hospitals you may not need to pay the charges after the treatment or surgery. If you don’t hold these cards; you must pay for treatment claim a partial refund from the local Health Insurance Office or CPAM in France. Ask the doctor / hospital for the address of the local CPAM office.
  • A&E (Urgences) and in-patient treatment: If you are treated in A&E or for other purposes as an in-patient in an approved hospital (state hospital or recognised private clinic) and show your EHIC card “Carte Vitale” the cost of your stay and treatment (from 80% to 100% in a state hospital) will be paid directly by the local CPAM to the hospital. You will just be billed for the balance, plus if appropriate the fixed daily hospital charge (‘forfait journalier’). These are non-refundable under EHIC, which is why it is important to have private health insurance cover as well.  

How to claim your refund:

  • if you have paid the full cost of any medical care, you must keep all the receipts and prescriptions, photocopy them all for safe keeping, then send the originals to the local CPAM with a covering letter, in French or in English.
  • The covering letter should be entitled Demande de remboursement – régime EHIC.
  • Include with your paperwork a copy of your EHIC card and also details of the bank account to which you want your refund to be sent. this should include SEPA-compliant information, in the form of your IBAN number and BIC (ask your bank for details if you do not know these).
  • Don’t try to claim back the patient participation share of hospital treatment, if there is one; this is not refundable by the CPAM; but it may be refundable by any private health care cover you may have taken out.
  • If you do not have an EHIC card, you will need to pay for your health care and contact your private insurance for reimbursement. In the event of hospitalisation, check with your insurer.

Further information: Contact CPAM office of the local area

Essential medical terms in French:

  • Doctor: un médecin [earn med-sanne]
  • Where’s there a doctor’s surgery? Où est-ce qu’on peut trouver un cabinet médical ?    [oo eskonn peur trouvay ern cabinay may-dicarl ]
  • Call a doctor at once !  Appelez un médecin tout de suite [apple eh ern med-san toot-sweet ]
  • Emergency: une urgence [oon oor-jonse]
  • Medecine: médicament(s)  [may-dee-ca-mon])
  • Ill, sick: malade [ma-larde]
  • Chemists: une pharmacie [oon farm-assee]
  • I’m very sore here / it hurts here:  J’ai très mal ici [zhay tray mall eesee]
  • We need to find a doctor urgently. Nous avons besoin de voir un médecin au plus vite. C’est urgent.
  • Transport

The major cities of France, especially, Paris are well connected through various means of transport. There are buses, metros, RER’s and SNCF’s (different types of trains connecting suburbs to city centre) with good frequency. The transport plans are easily accessible and comprehensible for an individual coming first time to France. There are single tickets; bunch of tickets or weekly/monthly passes which can be bought from the RATP centres in train stations. The monthly pass (2017) costs (73 euros) comprising transport to 1-5 zones of Paris. There are websites for further in formation.



https://citymapper.com/paris  (Application for the train, bus routes and schedule)

  • Banks, money and paying for things

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