IF you are staying in France for any length of time you will want to open a bank account.
It is not a difficult task and the French banking system is quick and efficient, requiring very little on your part.
A simple current account, compte de cheques or compte courant, can be opened with proof of identity, such as a passport, address details, a phone number if you have one and €20 to deposit straight away.
I took along a recent print out of my UK account, my UK cheque book, birth certificate and even four passport photographs – I did not need them.
You will receive your cheque book, which are used all the time in France, as well as a debit card with a PIN number about a week later.
The French system requires you to provide a form of photo ID when writing a cheque and you will be asked to enter your PIN number if you use your card.
And remember never go overdrawn, you will be blacklisted if you do not put funds into your account within 30 days.
Internet banking is also available on many accounts, but there is usually a charge of about €3 a month.