To be comfortable in Paris, you will need to budget for around €1000 per month.
Something that you may find surprising about life in France is the fact that you have to have a bank account to pay, the concept of gaining interest on your money doesn’t seem to have made it here. Expect to pay between €4 and €8 a month to have a bank account. Remember to inform your bank at home that you will be moving to Paris, it is important that you have access to some sort of bank account while you are in the process of setting up a French one. If you do not inform them they may automatically block any transfers you wish to make.
What documents you will need to open a bank account:
- Identity card – Passport
- Proof of residence - a utility bill from the place that you are living. If this bill is not in your name (as is likely if you are renting and it’s the landlord/lady that paid the last bill) you will have to obtain an attestation d’hébergement. This is a simply a declaration that you will need your landlord/lady to sign to acknowledge you live at the address stated on the utility bill.
- Photocopy of Landlord/lady’s identity card - If you need to go down the attestation de logement route, you will need a photocopy of your landlord/lady’s passport to accompany it.
- Attestation de travail – If you are planning on working while you are here, you will equally need an Attestation du Travail which acts in the same vein as its logement counterpart.
This is for your employer to complete and give to you; they will know what to do as they will have done it for their other employees.
It is unlikely that you will be able to simply go into a bank and open an account that day; most likely you will have to make an appointment (rendez-vous). As with most things in Paris, there is a lot of paperwork involved in opening a bank account and you should allow for around one hour to set one up when booking your appointment. Most banks are open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. If you feel the need to take time off from your studies to do this, make sure you ask for permission from your GOBELINS teacher. Alternatively, you may be able to fit it into a lunch break.
Once you have opened a bank account, you will be given a sheet with your bank details on it so that you may transfer money into the account, or receive pay from any work you are doing. The debit card (carte bleu) will be sent to the branch that you opened the account with and you will be notified when it is ready for collection. Details for internet banking are usually sent by post.
Transferring money across borders may become an essential tool for financing yourself while you’re in Paris. Many banks will charge high rates for doing this, can be €15 to €25 each time you make a transfer. A cheaper way to make international transfers is through a company called TransferWise who charge a fee of just 0.5% of the transfer. You can get your first transfer for free using the following link https://transferwise.com/u/80e2. They also use the real exchange rate whereas banks use their own to make more profit. The company was built by the same people as Skype and PayPal and has been recommended by The Economist, the New York Times, The BBC and more.