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Comprendre la France, la culture française, les Français et apprendre le français. Welcome to France!


Setting up facilities

1. Electricity

You can choose between the different providers (check on the pages jaunes « électricité »).

Until recent years, there was just one provider « EDF » (« EDF » means « electricité de France »), but now many companies exist and can be your provider. EDF is what we call the « opérateur historique » and it's the same for « Gaz de France » and « France Telecom ». They still exist but are just companies among the many companies in France and you are free to choose the company you want.

If you've just arrived in France and don't speak well, check this website, it's all in English and might be very helpful :


And also this one :


You might have a meter reading per year. As the meters are usually outside your home, you don't need to be here or let somebody get into your house.

2. Gaz

It's like for electricity, many providers exist but check on the web or pages jaunes « gaz ». I cannot recommand you a company but some have English website, it's a good start for you.

Take a moment to ask for the fees of the « abonnement », then check the price of a bottle of gaz (sold in a « station service » where you buy gas for your car). A bottle should be really cheaper.

3. Telephone

Same again.

Except if you live in a very old house without wires, the « mise en service des lignes » will be done remote.


Advice :

A few years ago, choice was easy because there was no choice ! But now, many providers exist, all with different offers and tarifs. And of course different levels of service.

Before you make a commitment, I recommend that you ask a « association de consommateurs » or « association de défense des consommateurs » (you'll find their contact on the web or in the « pages jaunes »). They will tell you if customers had problems with a provider and why. On the other hand, they might tell you which provider seems to offer a good service.

4. Water

Regarding your water subscription, go to the « mairie » (city hall) of your city and ask for the « service des eaux ». This service deals with all the matters connected to water and of course your subscription. It's very easy, in fact they only want to know your name and your address so they know who and where to send the bills to.

When you receive your bill, once a year, two options :

- The « service des eaux » still belongs to the French government, in this case you will probably have to send a check or money to the « Trésor public » (where you also pay your taxes : trésorerie, hôtel des impôts),

- this service des eaux is runned by a private company and you'll have to pay your bill to the name and address written on it but it has nothing to do with the administration, it's just a private society.

To cancel your contracts :

If you choose the « opérateurs historiques » you won't have any problem to resign your contracts, sometimes you can even do it by phone. But if you choose another « opérateur », check your contract « conditions d'utilisation » and « conditions de résiliation », check if you have a minimum « durée d'engagement ».

Vocabulary :

abonnement : subscription

consommation : consumption

location des compteurs : meter rental fees

frais de mise en service : costs of operation

résiliation : termination

échéance : term

relevé des compteurs : meter reading

facture : bill

prélèvement automatique : débit


Back to the list of the administrative matters

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