SETTING up a business in France can be a daunting prospect but a browse around the internet can produce some useful advice.
Under French law it is illegal to just start up a business so a self-employed person needs to have an official status.
A useful starting point is the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises and on the site you can find contact details of the different agencies for different professions.
The site is all in French but you can go through the simple step-by-step procedure to find the correct information.
It may also be worth taking some time to look around the Agence Pour la Création d’Entreprises which helps business start-ups.
Here you will find an English section with useful articles on legal structures, tax and social security issues.
You can also contact them easily via email if you need further help and advice.
A very clearly laid out site is the Invest in France Agency that again has an English section and many links to other useful sources.
The Agency is specifically aimed at industrial and industrial service industries but still caters quite well for smaller enterprises.
For many people working in France they will be classified as profession libéral and will be registered with the URSSAF.
The site, all in French, does have a large amount of information on it and can take some finding, but on the right the map links through to addresses of local centres.
There was also a useful guide in PDF format that can be downloaded here, right click and save to your desktop.
And finally if you want to start doing some research from home there is the French Chamber of Commerce based in London.
Their site is not bad, a bit light on content, but there is a large page of useful contacts and website addresses.
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