I recently coached a friend through this process who is enrolled in a 2-year graduate program but only had arranged for a 4-month airbnb stay with no backup plan. I’ve written about it here and here and it seems at the moment that unless you are a fiscal resident of France, US citizens are being granted French bank accounts only with a lot of difficulty and documentation.Paris Expat found her a great place but witnessing her anxiety reminded me of my heady early days when I was in an airbnb for 90 days before moving to my first apartment in Paris, a little shoebox in the sky, on the 8th floor of a centuries-old building in the 17th. (Two readers of this blog who are not fiscal residents did manage to get an account at Credit Agricole, after being turned down at Societe Generale and BNP Paribas, among other places.) There are a few workarounds.Today I want to share, in broad strokes, just a few of the points I touch on when speaking to readers who use my consulting services. This is the chance for you to take off your tourist hat and visit Paris as a possible resident.You go to visit apartments that are in your price range to rent, even if you aren’t going to be in town for a while.
In a way, I parse it as the difference between “studying” French and “learning” it.You meet with people who work in your industry (if you have a job) or meet with business owners in your field (if you’re an entrepreneur).You go to Meetups and Coworking spaces to build a network and get to know the city a bit. And yeah, take a daytrip and/or a trip to a nearby country to remind yourself of what’s at your doorstep when you live in this gem of a city.You could, like my friend Patty, use your American credit card to pay for everything (maybe even earning points and miles), and then settle that bill every month from your American bank account, withdrawing petty cash as needed from that account.
Alternatively, if your only major French-focused transaction each month is your rent payment, Transferwise will also allow you to pay a French bank account directly from your US bank account, with a bare minimum of fees, which is a lot more fun that withdrawing hundreds of euros from an ATM and then handing that to your landlord.
You can “study” all you want, but your “learning” will commence when you arrive and get to speak this lovely language every day, and hear the pace, cadence, and the distinct Parisian pronunciation.