Blog Essential

Mimosa Season

You may have noticed many people carrying bright yellow flowers recently. These flowers are called Golden Wattle or Mimosa in French, and are a popular purchase this time of year!

The tradition of buying mimosa flowers in February is a cultural phenomenon during the winter season. Only from January to March, Mimosa is one of the few flowers that bloom during the winter months. Beautiful and fragrant, its bright yellow colour is seen as a symbol of the sun and the warmth it brings. This is why it has become associated with the end of winter and the coming of spring.

The tradition of buying mimosa flowers can be traced back to the early 20th century. A group of florists in the city of Nice decided to promote the flower as a symbol of the city . They organized an annual parade, known as the “Battle of Flowers,” where flower-covered floats were paraded through the city’s streets. Mimosa was one of the most popular flowers used in the parade, and its popularity soon spread throughout France.

So today, when you see the bright yellow bouquets of mimosas, know it’s a common sight to see in winter. The flowers are often given as gifts, and they are used to decorate homes and businesses. You can purchase them at any florist, but supermarkets tend to stock them, too.  Good news: when you see Mimosas in bloom it’s a sure sign that warmer days are just around the corner!

Blog Essential

Scams when looking for an Apartment

Today’s blog post about avoiding scams can be summarised and condensed into a two simple pieces of advice:

  1. If it looks too good to be true, it is.
  2. Never, ever pay for anything before you’ve visited the location, read the contract in detail and then sign it. 

Moving to a new city in a new country can be stressful and overwhelming.  Everything is new and you may not yet know how to navigate confidently. When you move, there are people out there who will try to take advantage of your situation and make a profit.

Particularly when you start searching for a new home while you still are in your old home or abroad, you are bound to run into scammers because they will try and target you from the get go. We hope that this blog post will help you avoid the scams we know of. 

If you think you can add to this list, please get in touch so we can publish it!

A general guide to rental scams:

Signs of a scam:

  • Watch out for the ads saying stuff like : “My *insert relative* is leaving for *insert random city* so we have this GIGANTIC apartment that we want to rent for CHEAP but you have to pay everything in advance”
  • Beautiful property at a cheap price, not from an official real estate agency
  • Lengthy emails from the landlord explaining why they won’t have so much time and want to rent it quickly and so on. Real real-estate agents generally write short emails if at all (they prefer calling). 
  • Scammers ask for a deposit before signing a contract. They ask you to pay a deposit to see an apartment (or “reserve your spot” or “send a financial guarantee that you really are interested”). 

never send money, always visit the apartment first and have a signed contract!

Good questions to ask yourself:

Is this listing fake?

Especially on public platforms like PAP, Le Bon Coin and Facebook you’re likely to come across fake listings. There are some telltale signs how to spot them: The picture will be of a beautiful, bright and large apartment or room, usually at a cheap price (so cheap you’ll feel super lucky to have found it!) rented by a private person. Not all of them are offered under market value, sometimes they are priced at a “normal” rate, so be vigilant. 

Is the Landlord legit?

Let’s say you get in touch with the owner of the listing. Often the “owner” will explain to you why the rent is low: they might live in/move to another country, or someone died and they need to rent the property fast, or they don’t want the apartment to be empty and are looking for “a kind soul” to take care of it. 

Am I on a fake viewing?

If someone is doing a scam on AirBnB, they will push you to come visit immediately so you can view the apartment while they are still in-situ. Alternatively they avoid a viewing visit altogether. They have “reasons” why you cannot visit the apartment before sending a deposit or first rental payment. Or, also popular, they ask you for a financial guarantee before booking a viewing. 

Should I send a dossier?

We have an entire chapter on the dossier. Keep in mind that you are sending official documents to potential landlords. If you are sending it digitally, watermark your documents (using services like or doing it yourself on Photoshop). It’s not unusual to ask for a dossier upfront, but check that they are not requesting forbidden information like your bank statements or carte vitale.

Can my landlord ask for my Deposit / first Rent upfront?

If you are being scammed, they will ask for money upfront. Scammers might ask for cash or a money transfer (Orange Money, Western Union, Moneygram, Neosurf, Transcash, Toneo First, Ria) or some similar method. They might ask you for more money than usual, because you are not French. Scammers will try to get money before you see the location or before you sign a contract or get the house keys. Don’t do this. Don’t give money before you have seen the location, carefully read & signed the contract. 

Also trust your gut feeling – if you feel something is not right, walk away. The moment you give the scammers your money, you have lost your money and will get nothing in return. 

How to protect yourself:

  1. Never send money without having seen the property, read & signed a rental agreement and have the keys.
  2. Reverse-search the pictures on Google
  3. Check the average rent. Most landlords overcharge, however none undercharge, so you can check if the property you found is too good to be true.

Here are some popular scams to look out for:

The AirBnB Scam

It can happen that scammers rent an AirBnB and recycle the listing pictures for a real rental listing. They hold viewings and then sign contracts with everyone who came to see the apartment and collect the deposit and rent. When the renters are ready to move in, the apartment is not actually available.

You can protect yourself by doing a reverse-search on google with the picture of the apartment, you may find it already listed. You can also check the age of the ad online, and how hard the “owner” is pushing for you to come visit the apartment quickly. Extra points for you if you spot items in the apartment that probably don’t match the person showing you around. 

The Electricity Scam

I know someone who rented a chambre de bonne from a person who lived several floors down, owning multiple apartments in the building. This person’s landlord had swapped their own electricity bill with the tenant in the chambre de bonne. The tenant was foreign so unsure of the actual cost of electricity until noticing that something was off – paying €80+ each month for 10m2 seemed fishy, and upon calling EDF they confirmed that this is a popular scam.

You can protect yourself by taking out your own electricity contract, which is your right as a tenant. Most homes have a Linky device, so you can closely monitor your consumption and protect yourself from rogue landlords.

The Plumber / Locksmith scam

Every so often you receive a leaflet in your mailbox with convenient phone numbers, firefighters, police, locksmith, plumbers and emergency services. Often these numbers are serviced by rogue service people who will overcharge you and often not even fix the issue. These are expensive lessons that you can avoid.

You can also protect yourself when moving in, familiarise yourself with locally run businesses with reputable workers. Find out who most of your neighbours use or ask the local businesses who they have on call. You can check google reviews and even utilise the app Nextdoor. If you are prepared to call when something goes wrong, you won’t have to also worry about someone stealing your money.

Am I the only one being scammed? 

No, here are some stories from real people and the scams they encountered (these are all scams!!!)

Story 1

“My friend wants to rent an apartment and she really likes it. She has met the landlord and seen the apartment. They’re telling her that she needs to send €2000 (first month rent and agency fees) in order to apply for the apartment, but she hasn’t signed any contracts yet.”

Story 2

“Something I saw multiple times when I looked for an apartment in Paris. You find a nice apartment (photos probably stolen from an Airbnb) with a low price. The “owner” will explain to you (without being asked) that the price is low because they live in another country/in the countryside and only want someone to live in the apartment to heat it and not let it deteriorate.

They will ask you to visit the apartment the next day or very quickly which doesn’t make sense if they live far away. When you tell them no, they will try to guilt trip you, a real landlord wouldn’t spend time doing that and would move to the next person who sent their dossier.”

Story 3

“Sometimes scammers rent the Airbnb they stole the pictures from, that’s why they want you to visit the next day. They make you sign a “rental agreement” and make you pay for the first month and the deposit.”

Story 4

“I received this email when I tried to book a viewing: 

To make the reservation which will assure us of the availability of the funds and which assures you in return that we will not touch your funds here is the procedure to follow:

You will pay the security deposit which is equivalent to the deposit of 735 € (rent excluding charges) and the first month’s rent including VAT, i.e. 790 € = 1525 € by RIA DEPOSIT, the receipt for which (RIA receipt) will be given on the day of the visit after the signing of the lease contract. This procedure reassures us of the availability of funds and allows us not to travel for nothing given the distance. Since we have already made trips for visits that ended in disappointment because either the interested parties were not present or their deposit was not yet ready and cheques bounced and I would not like to waste my time again I hope you understand. 

The procedure is simple, the deposit will be made in the name of someone close to you (friend, family, acquaintance or your spouse) and not in my name. No one will be able to touch it except the beneficiary. This would be in the form of a guarantee for me and once this is done, you will send me a copy or photo of the RIA receipt to enable me to check the availability of the funds online to confirm the visit to you and to travel. The extra cost of sending it will be returned to you on the day of the visit, I hope you understand.

The documents to be provided for the signature of the Lease Agreement are the following:

  • Photocopy of both sides of the identity card:
  • Receipt RIA 1525 € (OBLIGATORY).

Then, after visiting the flat and signing the lease, we will go together to the nearest RIA agency to withdraw the money. In case you don’t like my flat, which I doubt very much, you will simply cancel the deposit and your money will be back in your account.”

Story 5

“I’m Spanish and I’m currently living in Annecy, but before coming here while looking for a flat I found a good one, started to talk with the owner by mail and then by Whatsapp. She asked me for money for a ‘refundable deposit” and sent me what I thought was her ID card and phone number.

When she learned I did not have a French guarantor, she doubled the deposit and I sent her €2000. I had even spoken with whom she claimed to be her real estate agent, they all were very rude. When I finally started to realise that I was probably being scammed, I decided to back out and ask for my money back.

The landlady asked me to pay a fine because all the “papers” were already done, and that I had to pay that fine to the actual agency (which by the way I never found online) before her financial agent returned my money (because she said she didn’t actually have it).

I tried to speak with her many times, explaining that she could rest those 250€ from the actual 2000€ and return me 1750€ but she insisted that “in France things work in another way”. And there was no way she would want to pay herself for the theoretical fine and give me the rest.

Even a friend of mine who is a lawyer, sent her an email in three languages and she ignored it. Now she has blocked me on WhatsApp, and has told me to pay and not bother her.”

Story 6

“I searched on Facebook, there’s plenty of reasonably priced apartments to rent, (450-500€ in the 5th arrondissement in Paris . They want me to use Neosurf to send my deposit in advance. Is this too good to be true?”

Story 7

“I’m searching for rooms to rent in Paris and scouring through FB groups for a place. There’s one apartment that seems too good to be true and for pretty cheap so I definitely smell a rat here. However the landlord has sent me a contract which looks legit at face value as well as his identity card.

His only condition was that he transfers the deposit to an international bank account (?!) which he claims he set up because he had international students staying at the apartment.”

Story 8

“I’m new to Paris and have been apartment hunting on top of preparing for grad school, switching over my phone, getting let go from my job. In the midst of all of this, I made a very poor judgement call involving a fake Airbnb rental scam and a wire transfer and now I’ve lost a few thousand euros.

I’m using Currencies Direct as my currency wire exchange and I called them fairly soon after payment to try to stop it from going through. They reportedly put out a stop payment request to the bank but when I checked the progress yesterday, the payment had gone through and been confirmed. I’m sure at this point the money is now just gone, but anyone have any suggestions as to how to get my money back?”

Story 9

“I have sent out hundreds of messages on all of the typical websites, lodgis, leboncoin, PAP, and plenty of others. I have had three people try to scam me: one claimed to live in the US and asked me to bank transfer him €1700 and then he would send me the keys, another person who lived in Germany and needed a €500 guarantee to visit the apartment etcetera.”

Story 10

“So I was looking for a room for a couple of months and this guy that I’ve contacted from leboncoin said it is available for visit and asks for papers and money upfront on the visit. The thing is, that it kinda sounds too good to be true. He is asking for 300€ “charges inclus” 15th district. Really good looking apartment. I’ll paste here some of the stuff he was asking. Thing that scared me is. :

  • ”Récépissé du (coupon Trans-cash) des 600 € (un mois de loyer & un mois de caution)”

Also asking me for the following:

  • Photocopie recto verso de la carte d’identité ou du permis de Conduire.
  • Quittance de votre dernier loyer (facultatif)
  • Photocopie de la dernière fiche de paie ou un Justificatif de paiement (facultatif)

It turned out to be a scam, otherwise they would ask for a cheque and not cash, they would not ask for it upfront, and the other documents would not be optional. A standard dossier would contain identity proof, tax proof, guarantor certificate but no RIB or money or cheque or coupons.”

Story 11

“My friend wants to rent an apartment and she really likes it. She has met the landlord and seen the apartment. They’re telling her that she needs to send €2000 (first month rent and agency fees) in order to apply for the apartment, but she hasn’t signed any contracts yet. It says “please note that you will not be billed until the landlord accepts your rental request.”

Essential Transportation Traveling in France

Navigational Apps

With this article we will try to shed some light onto the very dense world of navigation across France. It feels that every week there is a new method of transport available, which is then taken up by three different startups, and then a week later, has completely disappeared. Worry not, with the below we should have you covered!

What is the best app for


Google Maps 

The one-stop shop. You can use it to walk, bike, drive, even most public transport is integrated into Google Maps. 

The Trainline

While France is mainly represented by SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer) there are other options such as Deutsche Bahn who collaborate frequently with the SNCF, the Thalys that goes to Belgium and the Netherlands, or the Eurostar that is expanding rapidly. The Trainline gathers all rail options in one place, not only showing you all options in France, but even across all of Europe. It’s easy to navigate and you can compare ease and pricing. 


A must-have for drivers. Owned by Google it pretty much does everything for you except for driving. Calculating the fastest routes by avoiding traffic, giving you a heads up if there is police in the area or even allowing you to collect little prizes along the way, I haven’t yet met a French driver who does not use it. 


Fantastic for urban transport, not only does it cover public transport but also has all of the private companies represented such as Uber, Bird, Kaptn, etc (more below). It has the real-time departures as well as “rain safe” options or changes without steps for easier mobility – we highly recommend this one. For the pandemic they even added a feature to find the nearest Covid test station. 

In France, Citymapper covers Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, and Nantes. More to come!

Private Transport Apps 

Disclaimer: most of these are startups and are growing quickly, please check each individually to see if it’s available in your city and/or if the company still operates, these tend to “eat” each other up. Jump for example was bought by Uber, and has now been bought by Lime. 



Trottinettes (Kick Scooters)



Essential Job contract Work

Employment contract

The employment contract in France can be a tricky one. There are a lot of footnotes and impenetrable jargon. But don’t worry, reality is not as bad as it seems.

First of all, most of the contracts that you’ll sign as an employee will be legit. It may not seem like so because a lot of paragraphs and/or the wording is weird, but they are. Indeed, labour law in France may be kind of a bitch and most employers in SME will rely on templates they find online on lawyers’ websites.

Second, even though your contract is 15 pages long, there are only a few elements that need to be checked thoroughly. The rest is mainly french self-satisfaction in writing long and complex sentences (you don’t have writers like Proust for no reason…).

In this article, we will help you navigate the most important questions you need to ask yourself and the most important boxes you need to tick in order to check your work contract.

Little disclaimer : we are not law professionals and the advice we give is of course not exhaustive. If any doubts or questions remain after reading this article, either contact us or a labour law professional.

Must the contract be in written form

on paper ?

There is a distinction in France between permanent contracts (CDI – Contrat à durée indéterminée) and temporary contracts for part-time positions (CDD – Contrats à durée déterminée).

The CDI doesn’t always have to be in written form on paper, but the vast majority of companies will have you sign one. You can always request your employer to provide you with a written contract.

The CDD always has to be in written form on paper. This also applies for fixed-term contracts (like temporary positions), or apprenticeship contracts.

A written employment contract is always more protective of the worker than a mere verbal agreement and it’s pretty standard to have a written contract in France.

Can you start working without

a contract ?

In France, you can start working without a contract but you must make sure that you get one as soon as you can. A contract is always more protective than a verbal agreement.

Some companies may send a work confirmation letter (lettre d’engagement) in which they declare their intention to hire you. This is in no way a contract !

What should be included ?

When a permanent contract is written, it must specify:

  • The identities and addresses of all parties.
  • The job title and professional qualifications.
  • The place of work.
  • Working hours.
  • Remuneration (salary and bonuses).
  • Paid leave.
  • Duration of the trial period.
  • Notice periods in the event of contract termination.
  • A non-compete or mobility clause, if applicable.

Can I request a contract in another

language than French ?

CDI contracts must be drafted in French.

You can always request a bilingual version or a copy translated into your own language for information purposes.

The French version of the contract will remain the reference version.

What is a trial period and how long

can it be ?

In France, before you are definitely hired in the company, you may have to work a trial period. During this trial period the employer can fire you at any time, but you can also leave at any time, without any notice period.

Trial periods are not mandatory. They are at the employer’s discretion.

The duration of the trial period varies according to your rank in the company : 

  • 2 months for the workers (ouvriers et employés)
  • 3 months for technicians (agents de maîtrise ou techniciens)
  • 4 months for a cadre

Your rank (worker, technician, cadre) is usually specified in your contract.

Trial periods can be renewed once.

How can you change your

employment contract ?

A distinction should be made between :

  • “Changes to the conditions of employment” which the employer can decide unilaterally (hours, notice period, etc.)
  • “Changes of the contract of employment” which requires the employee’s agreement and which relates to:
    • the methods of payment or the amount thereof
    • the working hours
    • the place of work
    • the employee’s job title,
    • any other information considered necessary by the parties.

How to end a contract ?

The CDD ends when its term is up.

The CDI can be terminated by the employer or the employee.

Bear in mind that in France, there are multiple ways to end a work contract.

It can be done on the company/employer initiative, it’s then called a termination (licenciement in french).

You can also instigate the end of your work contract, then it’ll be either a resignation or a mutually agreed termination


  • Never write and send a blank resignation letter to your employer
  • Always check that your rank and remuneration align
    • Your working contract shows your rank and in France, collective agreements set a minimum amount for salary based on that rank.
  • You cannot have more than 2 consecutive CDD with the same company for the same position. If they hire you a third time in this situation in a CDD, you have to be offered a CDI.
Essential Getting a job Work

Looking for a job

How to look for a job in France

There are several ways to look for a job in France. Usually, people look for opportunities on job boards and directly on the company websites that they’re interested in.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for in this section, you can still make a spontaneous application (candidature spontanée) to the company you want to work at. Most of the companies in France have a section where you can post a CV and a cover letter.

Websites and job boards

You’ll find a lot of job boards in France, tailored to your needs. We’ve selected a couple of them for you here, the ones the French people use the most :

Student jobs : 

Early career :

Freelance :

Professional : Cadre

How to apply

The basic requirements to apply to a job in France are the same as in any other country and most of the time, they are mentioned in the listing.

Here is a checklist of the documents you should provide and update when you apply for a job in France :

  • CV
  • Cover letter
  • Recommendation from previous coworkers or employers (usually, in France, you can ask for a recommendation from the manager or coworkers of the company you just left. Just make sure you have a good relationship with them before you do so).
Essential Housing Renting

Renting in France

Renting in France can be a dirty business, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. From rogue landlords charging 800€ for a 16m2 apartment with the toilet next to your oven. Or those telling you that’s normal to submit your dossier for a place just to later find out your identity has been stolen. We’re here to make sure to teach you the ropes for a successful experience!

When should I start looking for a

place to live

I would recommend you start looking up renting in France 3 months before your move to find something nice. Option 2 is to find something, move, and then find the final apartment you want to stay at from there.

Depending on your financial situation you can look for an apartment/house on your own, research the worlds of flatshares. You can also look for “free” accommodation, mostly in exchange for small services like childcare or custodial duties.

4 Steps to your new home :

Step 1: Know what you are looking for

This ranges from knowing what type of property you are looking for (flat, studio, house) to which city (Lyon, Toulouse, Lille) all the way to which district of this city. It all helps narrow down your search and be specific. You’ll be able to set up search alerts and get a feel for what is out there, and how much it can cost you. Do you want to share or live alone, do you have pets, do you need to be close to public transport – make a list, your future self will thank you!

Step 2: Go on the Hunt

There are countless websites where you can search for renting in France, but I’ll start with the most valuable one first, as it has helped me find my dream apartment :

You sign up, plug in what you are looking for, and it will dispatch little robots to all renting websites and send you only those that match what you are looking for – priceless.

It’s probably the most classic website most people will refer to

Careful with this one, it’s the gumtree/craigslist of France, so you’re likely to run into scams.

There are countless more, but the above are “the classics” and always a safe bet.

Shared accomodations

If you are looking to join a flashare, there are several ways to do this

  • Facebook – there will be a group for the place you are looking for, find it and join it
  • Word of Mouth – someone will always know someone who is looking for a flatmate – just be sure to tell people you’re looking so you become an option. If you work in an office or go to university you’ll probably have plenty of people looking to match up.
  • Here are some websites where you can also sign up and see if you find a flatmate :


La carte des colocs


Step 3: Apply

Bear in mind that the housing market is super competitive. Speed and precision are your best friends. The best strategy is to go on the hunt with your Dossier already ready to send. Once you find a place you like, the landlord will look upon your application more favourably than someone who will first ask 20 questions. You can always ask questions later, before signing a contract. In cities like Paris it’s not unusual to have hundreds of candidates for one apartment, so if you don’t get this one, don’t take it personally, it’s completely normal. Some landlords will ask for a Guarantor which we cover in this article, and it’s better to have a bank account set up already so you can prove you can automatically pay rent. 

Step 4: Move & Set Up

If you are successful in your search, you will pay a deposit and sign your rental contract. Remember to clarify the situation about the energy bills. We advise to take these matters into your own hands (just in case). Once you have the keys, you can get started – our Moving Day Checklist is an amazing help (we think). 

The most pressing items are to get yourself set up with internet & energy, there are French startups such as Papernest who make this easy for you and help with the transition. 

Tips and tricks

  • Furnished and Unfurnished Apartments are treated differently – read more about it in our contract section (link to contract section)
  • Furnished apartments legally need to be equipped with a bed + bedding, a table and seating, storage shelves, lighting, a fridge, freezer, crockery and kitchen utensils.