Planning a smooth move

How to prepare for the transition

You’ve found a wonderful new home in and you are ready to move. Where do you start?

Let us walk you through the details and information you’ll need to know for an easy transition to your new home, either in France or abroad.

Proprietor: First and foremost, if you are moving from or within France keep in mind that terminating your current rental contract may require up to three months notice, according to the loi du 6 juillet 1989. For furnished residences, the required notice time is often less than three months. In any case, this information can be found in your rental contract.

In order to terminate a rental contract you must send a letter of notice to your proprietor with receipt confirmation, called lettre recommandée avec AR.

Set a date with your landlord for the état des lieux, which is to be completed after you have moved out.

EDF and GDF: At least one week prior to moving, contact your local agent in order to terminate the existing contract and set up an appointment to read the meter. This reading is done at no extra cost to you. Let the agent know when and where you will be moving so that they can set up a new contract. Service is often available within two days of the request.

Water: If you have a contract with the water company, contact them for details regarding the termination or transfer process. If your water is included in your rental fees, or collectif, contact your landlord for information.

To begin water service in your new residence, contact the former tenant or local water company office.

Telephone: If you are moving within the same neighborhood, your phone number and account can be transferred upon request. If not, your existing phone contract should be terminated and a new one opened with the agency closest to your new residence. It is possible to request a free recorded message at your former phone number giving the new phone number. This service is free and lasts two months.

If there is already a phone line in your new residence and you know the name of the former resident, let France Telecom know as this can reduce your start-up fees.

La Poste: Fill out the demande de réexpédition définitive form at your local post office at least five days prior to moving. Identification is required. Your mail will be forwarded for six months.

Subscriptions, memberships, and contract services: Let all relevant groups know of your change of address. Don’t forget clubs, credit card companies, banks, insurance companies, magazines and newspapers, etc…

Taxes: Send a letter to your former service des impôts to let them know of your move and new address. It is important to note that your taxe d’habitation is based on your place of residence on January 1.

Insurance: Housing insurance, or assurance habitation, is required in all cases. Often your bank can give competitive rates and comprehensive coverage. Banks and insurance companies can give estimates on site based on the size, location, and other qualities of your new residence.

Remember to cancel existing insurance coverage for your former residence.

Banks: While you are not obligated to change banks when you move within the same city, you do need to alert them of your move. Also, be sure to communicate your new address to any organizations that will be making automatic deposits or withdrawals from your accounts, such as salaries, reimbursements, social security, insurance premiums, etc…

Carte grise: You have a one month grace period after moving before you must update your vehicle registration, called a carte grise. In Paris this is done at the local mayor’s office, or mairie. Elsewhere it is done at the local préfecture. If you are moving to a new department, you must also get new license tags.

A change of address is recommended, although not required, for your drivers license, passport or carte d'identité.

What is a lettre recommandée?

For official documents such as contracts, notices, and declarations, La Poste offers a secure mailing service called lettre recommandée. This service includes proof of mailing, signature upon delivery, as well as receipt confirmation for the sender. There are three levels of security from which you may choose (R1, R2, and R3).

You may send a letter using the lettre recommandée service from any La Poste office.


By Kari Masson, a freelance writer for travel, cross-cultural, and expatriate-focused publications. More than 50 of her articles have appeared in North America, Europe, and Africa. If you are looking to add dynamic creativity to your publication, contact Kari at © 2003-2020 Just Landed