5 Useful tips for relocating to Lyon – Sojoourn

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

Moving to France can be an exciting adventure, but for most newcomers, it's quite complicated to understand the French bureaucracy and adapt to the French way of life. We're going to share with you 5 tips that may be useful should you decide to relocate to Lyon.


1. Housing in Lyon


Searching for accommodation in France can be very challenging, especially for expats who choose to live in big cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux... You may see a lot of options at the beginning of your search, but in reality, there's not that many available on the market. Even the locals have the same struggle, and they need to wait at least several months until they can actually move.


© bontraveler

Usually, on a house-hunting journey in Lyon, you'll first have to go to an apartment viewing with about 20 other applicants. Next, you need to send a list of required documents to the landlord for checking and approval. If you're lucky enough or your profile is the best among the other candidates, you'll finally get that house. Bear in mind that most of the homes are unfurnished.

To avoid housing scams, it's much safer to get help from your friends, your network, or a relocation company in Lyon.


We work with relocation experts who can help you relocate and settle in Lyon.

Please do not hesitate to contact us to have more information.



2. It's really important to have a French bank account


After moving to France, one of the first things you’ll have to do is open a French bank account. You’ll need a French bank account to pay your rents, your bills, to easily withdraw cash, and to get paid by your employer, to name just a few.

But it's quite the vicious circle....you need proof of address to open your account, but to get an apartment, you need a bank account...

To open a French bank account, you have to do 3 things:

1. Make an appointment;

2. Get your documents together;

3. Show up to the meeting with the required documents.

To facilitate this process, we make an appointment for you with an English-speaking counselor!

We work with a bank which offers the right solution for ALL expats (all nationalities). No commitment is required (i.e you'll be able to change to a different bank whenever you want). In only 20 mins, you will have a French Bank account with a credit card and a RIB (French IBAN). The RIB is very useful for a lot of administrative processes in France.



3. Get a French SIM card


After getting a French bank account, one of the first things you’ll have to do is sort out your phone. We recommend that you be reachable by phone as soon as you start your job and housing search so that you do not miss out on any opportunities! It's highly recommended to have a French number.

The majority of newcomers to Lyon opt for prepaid cards of varying call and data plans because it is an efficient way to be reachable without having a formal contract.

To get a French number you have to do 3 things:

1. Buy a SIM card;

2. Insert the SIM card into your unlocked phone;

3. Buy credits to "top it off" which will give a combination of minutes for telephone calls, text messages, and data for internet on your phone.

4. Get your Técély card


The Técély card is an essential thing to do shortly after your arrival in Lyon. The TCL card is a pay-per-month card that enables you to travel on any of the methods of public transport in the city (Tram-Metro-Bus). There are several different options for the card with separate tariffs.


For non-students, the annual pass costs €64 per month. For students, there is the yearly étudiant card which comes in at €28.80 per month.


You will have to recharge your card every month. A monthly subscription is valid until the last day of the month. So it’s better to charge your card at the beginning of the month (if, for example, you charge your TCL card on the 15th of January, your credit will only go on until the 31st of January).


To get your TCL card and subscription, you have to go to a TCL agency. To find the closest agency, click here: http://www.tcl.fr/en/Fares/Los-puntos-de-venta/Information-and-purchase

Be prepared to wait in line for a while due to the high demand for these cards. If you already have some passport photos, bring them along as you will need a picture to get the card. If you don’t have any, then that's fine as there is a photo booth in the office. Just be sure to bring a fiver though to use it!

To top up the card, you can go back to the TCL office, or recharge it at any one of the ticket booths at any one of the stations.


With your TCL card, you can get some perks. To see the "bons plans", click here: https://www.tcl.fr/Mon-TCL/Nos-Partenaires


5. Don't forget to have a health insurance


Once you’ve lived in France for three months and established residency, you’re eligible for French national health coverage. The first step is to fill out the health benefits application form – formulaires 736 Demande d’ouverture des droits à l’assurance maladie.

Once you have been approved and activated your health insurance in France, you may need to make a formal request for your carte vitale (green card), the national insurance card in France, as it is not always automatically issued. It is recommended to ask for an attestation de couverture sociale or a temporary French health insurance card as a carte vitale can sometimes take a long time to process.

You will need to present your carte vitale at every health appointment (doctor, hospital, pharmacy) and will generally receive reimbursement directly into your bank account within a week.


Foreign students aren’t typically recognized as ‘French residents’, meaning that most students must acquire the required Students’ Social Security (Sécurité Sociale Etudiante), which covers health expenses whilst in France unless they fall within the following categories:

- EU or EEA citizens with a valid EHIC

- A resident of Quebec with social security coverage

- A French government scholarship recipient

- A student with plans to study in France for less than three months


Non-EEA citizens who are older than 28 years and have no paid employment (in which case, they can apply for health insurance in France under the PUMA scheme.)

If you plan to stay in Lyon for less than six months per year (183 days), you will not generally be eligible for public healthcare. You will have to find private health insurance in France.


To get a lot of more information, essential French phrases and exclusive offers, order our Lyon Welcome Guide now!


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