Moving in to your new apartment or house can be challenging, so be sure to handle the following issues prior to your move in date. You can also pick up a Moving Guide from your local post office. This guide includes a handy chart of things to do when moving out and moving in to a new home.
Insure your new home, as it is compulsory in France – this is true for a rental property as well. The agency that handles your property will request an ‘attestation d’assurance’ to make sure you are covered. Contact one of the comparison agencies below, or one of the companies in the ‘Accommodations’ section, to make sure that your apartment/house and its contents are covered. Many companies will recommend that you videotape the contents of your home and keep the copy in a safe place, in case anything should happen.
You may obtain coverage via your bank or a private company; a useful place to begin looking are insurance brokers which allow you to comparison shop (in French only): Empruntis (http://www.empruntis.com) and Assurland (http://www.assurland.com).
Hook up your utilities. Utilities (except water) must be registered in the tenant’s name. Contact EDF/GDF (Electricite de France/Gaz de France), 09.69.32.15.15, http://www.edf.fr, to start the process. Be aware the EDF/GDF no longer have a monopoly on the provision of electricity and gas in France, so you can effectively shop around for better rates from other providers, such as Direct Energie (http://www.direct-energie.com) for example. (Water is almost always included in the rent.)
Prices average around €40-60 euros per month for a family of four, and payment is usually by automatic deduction from your bank account (you will send in a RIB with all of your bank details with the first payment) or by check. You may prepay for a six month or 12 month period, for a slightly lower fee. If your consumption turns out to be much higher or lower than anticipated, you will be charged or rebated the difference.
Find your local post office. Although there is no special procedure for receiving your mail, or sending it, when you move into your apartment, find your local bureau de poste (http://www.laposte.fr). In addition to mailing letters and buying stamps, you can purchase containers for mailing packages, pre-stamped envelopes for local or international mail and telephone cards. Some post offices also provide photocopying machines, fax services, photo I.D. machines, change machines and Internet access. Post offices are usually open from 8am to 7pm on the weekdays, and from 8am to 12pm on Saturdays. The Louvre Post Office – 52 rue de Louvre, 75001, 01.40.28.76.00, is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Remember to take your passport with you if you go to pick up a package or letter that is being held for you at your local post office. No other form of I.D. will be accepted.
Be advised that if you are mailing anything to a post office box, there may be restrictions as many countries have increased their security alerts and no longer accept items posted to a P.O. box. Check with your local post office.
There are multiple companies in France that will be able to meet your needs for international shipping: the French Post Office (http://www.laposte.fr) will be able to quote you rates and delivery timetables based on the weight and destination of your goods.