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Opening French bank account

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I’ve just come back from opening my French bank account (finally after living here for 5 months!) and I must say it was a breeze!

I was rather apprehensive beforehand, having read so much about the French bureaucracy and paperwork, and ensuring you have practically your life history with you - but hey, that's why we love France isn't it?!

Anyway my experience was fabulous. We have now got an account with Credit Agricole, after setting up an appointment with our local branch (in a small village in Aquitaine department) and just need to wait 5 days to receive our cards and pin number.

So I can't recommend them highly enough (although I appreciate it very much depends on your branch, who you speak with, your grasp of the language (and mine isn't brilliant), etc etc).

Next up, buying a car and finding a new rental near Bayonne, but I am feeling a lot more positive about handling it!
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To be honest Lloyd, that's exactly why we decided not to open an account in advance - i'd heard horror stories about it, and in fact when i went into my bank before leaving the UK to get the reference letter (which we didn't actually need at all in France) there was such a fuss about it that it took the bank a long time to manage to give it to me.

So my advice to everyone else, don't bother getting it sorted before leaving the UK, once in France make a 'rendez-vous' with your local branch (via Britline English Speaking Service if you need help with the language and they will dial in via conference call to the meeting) and it then takes about 1 hour with your local branch adviser to sort it out. (The only reason it takes 1 hour is the amount of paperwork that needs to be completed by the branch, and then printing it out!).

Enjoy moving across to France!
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