Welcome in the Host scientists & professor' guide

Preparing your stay
Settling in Montpellier
How do things work in France?
Montpellier and the region

Version Française 


 How do things work in France?

Administrative formalities
How to obtain a telephone line
How to obtain an electricity contract
How to send mail
How to open a bank account
Taxes to pay
Family benefits
How to buy a car
How to travel in France and abroad
Formalities before returning home

Administrative formalities



The prefecture (Préfecture de Montpellier)
For   residence permits DCEM (for children) driving licences, and a 'carte grise' (vehicle document)  when you buy a vehicle.
Préfecture de Montpellier
Place des Martyrs
F-34062 Montpellier Cedex 2
Tel. : +33 (0)4 67 61 61 61
Fax.: +33 (0)4 67 02 25 79
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8.30 to 4.30
Préfecture de Montpellier: http://www.herault.pref.gouv.fr (in French)


The town hall (Mairie de Montpellier)
For justification of residence, registration of births, etc.
Hôtel de Ville
1, place Francis Ponge
F-34000 Montpellier
Tel. : +33 (0)4 67 34 70 70
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8.30 to 5 p.m..
Mairie de Montpellier: http://www.-montpellier.fr (click on 'Mairie en Ligne') (in French)

The town hall also has annexes in 8 places in Montpellier.

  Law Court (Tribunal de Grande Instance)
For the list of certified translators.
Tribunal de Grande Instance
Place Pierre Flotte
F-34000 Montpellier
Tél. : +33 (0)4 67 12 60 00 - +33 (0)4 67 12 62 08
  French administration
A directory of national and local administrative services and a guide to rights and procedures and online forms can be found at the French administration's portal at


How to obtain a telephone line


Fixed and mobile phones

Information on subscriptions, reduced rate periods, useful numbers, etc.
Fondation nationale Alfred Kaslter : http://www.fnak.fr/dn_Howtophone/?setLang=E

  Telephone directory
You will automatically appear in the telephone book unless you ask for an ex-directory number (€2.31 inc. VAT per month).
You can phone directory enquiries to find a telephone number:
Tel.  : 1012
White pages:
http://pagesblanches.fr (in French)
Yellow pages: http://pagesjaunes.fr (in French)


How to obtain an electricity contract



 Information about gas and electricity services for the home:
Fondation nationale Alfred Kaslter : http://www.fnak.fr/dn_Lelogement/Lelogement_20092004_183832.html (in French)


Contact the EDF (Electricité de France) agency in Montpellier. The rate includes the standing charge (variable according to the amperage desired) and the cost of consumption (variable according to the contract chosen: basic type, off-peak, etc.).
Tel.  : 0810 00 34 34
EDF: http:/http://bleuciel.edf.com/particuliers-45636.html (in French)

Caution. The French network supplies current at 220 V, 50 Hz.


How to send mail


How to send mail:
Postage stamps are sold at the post office and tobacconists. A €0.58 stamp is required on letters weighing up to 20 g for France and the other European Union countries.


The post office
To send and receive ordinary and registered mail or a parcel (and also money), and to find postcodes:
Fondation nationale Alfred Kastler: http://www.fnak.fr/dn_Laposte/ (in French)
La Poste: http://www.laposte.fr (in French)


How to open a bank account


Bank accounts

Information about banks, opening an account, means of payment, etc.


Help with opening a bank account
The EURAXESS Service Centre in Languedoc-Roussillon can help you to open an account in branches of a partner bank in Montpellier: for the list of these branches, consult the Agropolis Guest Scientists Office or the Kastler Foundation:
Fondation nationale Alfred Kastler : http://www.fnak.fr/dn_Banque/ (in French)


The euro :
The euro is the official currency in 17 EU countries.

toute l'europe : http://www.touteleurope.eu/index.php?id=4468

Ministry of Finance:  http://www.minefe.gouv.fr/ (in French)


Taxes to pay


Information about taxes


Income tax, rates, TV licence, etc.
France Pratique : http://www.pratique.fr/argent/impot/ (in French)
Ministry of Budget http://www.budget.gouv.fr/particuliers/t2_declarer_impots.htm (in French)



Family benefits


The CAF (Caisse d'allocations familiales) can provide financial aid called 'accommodation benefit' that pays part of the rent. The amount depends on the family income and the number of persons : conditions and forms online.

CAF - Caisse d'allocations familiales de Montpellier
139, avenue de Lodève
34943 Montpellier cedex 9

Opening hours for public : Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To get in touch with an officer on the phone Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m : dial 0820 25 34 20

CAF de Montpellier : http://www.montpellier.caf.fr (in French)



How to buy a car


The documents involved in the purchase of a car:
. new cars: the sales contract
. second-hand cars: a certificate of sale (certificat de cession) and a certificate of ownership (certificat de non-gage) if the vehicle is registered in a different department, an inspection certificate (attestation de contrôle technique) if the vehicle is four years old or more
. in all cases: the registration document (carte grise) issued by the prefecture.
France Pratique : http://www.pratique.fr/moyens-transport.html (in French)

The following documents must be produced on request:
driving licence, 'carte grise', insurance certificate and the technical inspection certificate (depending on the age of the vehicle).
Driving licences:
Your national driving licence is only valid during the first few months of your stay and must be produced—together with you visa/residence permit—on request. You must ask the prefecture to 'exchange' it for a French licence before the end of the first year of your stay. Persons from certain countries are required to take a driving test.
 Préfecture de l'Hérault
Tel. : +33 (0)4 67 61 61 61 or +33 (0)4 67 67 63 45
Opening hours: 8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.

N.B. An 'international driving licence' is only valid for holders of a tourist visa.
  The value of second-hand vehicles
L'Argus (paper version or online) lists the values of second-hand vehicles
Argus-auto: http://www.argusauto.com


How to travel in France and abroad


By train, by bus, by air…

Travelling by train
To check out timetables and reserve seats:
SNCF: http://www.sncf.com/indexe.htm
Montpellier station: http://www.ter-sncf.com/Regions/Languedoc_Roussillon

Travelling by air
To check out timetables and reserve seats:
Montpellier Méditerranée Airport:  http://www.montpellier.aeroport.fr (in French)
  Travelling by bus
EUROLINES more than 1500 destinations to 34 countries by regular bus service.

Check out destinations, timetable and departure towns ; book seats

http://www.eurolines.f (in French)
free catalogue
Tel : 08 92 89 90 91

Agence de Montpellier - 8 rue de Verdun - 34000 Montpellier
Tel : +33 (0)4 67 58 57 59 Fax : +33 (0)4 67 58 86 33
Horaires : Monday to Saturday 9h to 12 and 2 to 7 p.

Agence de Perpignan - 10, avenue du Général de Gaulle - 66000 Perpignan
Tel : +33 (0)4 68 34 11 46 - Fax : +33 (0)4 68 34 60 70
Opening hours : Monday to Saturday 9h to 12 and 2 to 6 p. m (Saturday 5 p.m)


Formalities before returning home


Check the following with the landlord or the agency: notice procedures (3 months), charges to be settled (water, tax, maintenance of common areas), refunding of the deposit, date set for the final inspection.

Cancel the subscriptions at the address concerned: gas, electricity, telephone, water, pay-TV and your car and house insurance policies.

Change of address:
Register your change of address: post office (to have your mail forwarded for a year), the social security authorities and mutual insurance company, the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales, your insurance company, bank and your friends.

  Check with tax centre about local council tax payment ('taxe d'habitation')
see accommodation : http://www.agropolis.fr/english/guide/settling.html#top


EURAXESS Services Centre of Montpellier Languedoc Roussillon/Agropolis International - Guest Scientists Office - Montpellier - France

Avenue Agropolis
F-34394 Montpellier Cedex 5 
Tel.: +33 (0)4 67 04 75 63
Fax : +33 (0)4 67 04 75 99

Claudine Soudais : soudais@agropolis.fr
Agropolis : http://www.agropolis.org

Update on 01/2011
Questions about the guide: 
Claudine Soudais