Enter your search terms:

Checklist: 10 things to do when you arrive in Paris as an expat

So you’ve finally taken the plunge and arrived in Paris! Congratulations! With so much to organise and plan, it can be difficult to remember to do everything. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up a list of important things to do when you arrive in Paris as an expat.

1. Get a SIM card or a new phone

Be sure to get a French SIM card to avoid high international costs (especially if you’re from outside the EU). With a French SIM card, you can keep your current phone, but you’ll need to ring up your phone provider to unlock your phone in order to use it abroad. Another option is to sign up for a French phone plan. In order to do this, you will need to provide your contact details, a French address and your RIB.
paris checklist phone

2. Open a bank account

If you’re planning to stay in France long-term, you’ll definitely need to get a French bank account and a RIB. There are lots of banks available, offering different services to suit your needs and some banks also offer student accounts.
Again, you will need to provide certain documents in order to open an account e.g. proof of address, photo ID, proof of employment/student status etc.
For more details be sure to check out our article on how to open a bank account in Paris.

3. Get a Navigo pass

The best way to get around in Paris is by using a Navigo pass. There are weekly and monthly subscriptions available. Get to know the local public transport as well, whether it’s buses, metro lines, trains or even your nearest Velib station. Once you know where your work or university is, you can plan your commute so you know where to go and how long it will take.
For more information, check out our articles on taking the train and metro in Paris.
paris checklist navigo

4. Sort out your home insurance

Make sure you take out a home insurance policy as this is not always included in the rent but is compulsory for renting an apartment.
You can find more information and insurance recommendations here.

5. Sign up to an expat group or a French class

This is a great way to make some new friends and meet people from back home, especially if you’re feeling a bit homesick. There are plenty of expat groups in Paris whatever your nationality.
If you don’t speak much French, we recommend signing up to a French class. It’s another great way to meet new people and improve your language skills at the same time.
paris checklist french

6. Sort out your health insurance

If you’re from the EU, make sure your EHIC card is in date, as you never know when you might need this. For expats planning a long term stay in France, we recommend signing up for a carte vitale. You can find more details about it here.

7. Get your medication sorted

Make sure any current medication you have is in date and will last for the duration of your time in Paris, if it’s a short term stay. If you need repeat prescriptions (inhalers, epi pens etc.), find out where you can hold of these and register with a doctor with your carte vitale for long term stays.
paris checklist medication

8. Register with your home country’s embassy

This is important for visas, documents, passports etc., especially if you come from outside the EU. This is also the place to go in an emergency, for example if you lose your official documents or passport etc.

9. Important things to know

It’s a good idea to make a list of important numbers so you know who to call in an emergency.
For European emergency services, dial 112. (Note: this is a European-wide service, so you can ask to be connected to an operator who speaks English).
For the hearing impaired emergency services, dial or text 114.
For medical emergencies (SAMU), dial 15.
For the police, dial 17.
For the fire brigade, dial 18.
paris checklist emergency

10. Update your address

For short term rentals, make sure you change the name on the letter box, otherwise you won’t be receiving any post! If you often get deliveries from Amazon, Asos etc., don’t forget to update your account with your new address, to avoid having your packages delivered to your home country.
Did you remember everything on the checklist? Although they’re not the most interesting things to do for a newly arrived expat who can’t wait to go out and discover the city, it’s so important that you do them. And once it’s all done, you can start living and explore Paris to your heart’s content!
Did you like this article? If you’re a soon to be expat, be sure to check out our article on the best neighbourhoods for expats in Paris…