If you are a foreigner in France, be prepared to pay more and put up with more for the privilege.
Even if you want to pay bills, organisations will not readily accept cards, or take money from overseas accounts – but will add extra charges apparently on a whim.
You cannot make taxe foncière or habitation payments without specific conditions, and try to pay by phone from the UK at your peril!
Direct debits for utility companies are a nightmare. Once, EDF estimated a bill at €2,000 for a house that was empty, with the power off, so only a standing charge was owed.
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To avoid some of these problems we would suggest anyone living in France – permanently or for a large part of the year – has a bank account here.
One that is easy to set up is the Compte-Nickel (compte-nickel.fr). It can be set up at a tabac by anyone with an address in France. It gives internet banking and Mastercard debit card.