Monday, January 22, 2007

Ou est la Banque, s'il vous plait?

Doug writes:

Today is Monday, the day before we leave for France. The goals for today are to get our gear packed, and to figure out how this blogging thing works before we get over there and have to pay for internet time.

We've got a few goals once we are there. One, of course is to find a house we can afford and that will suit our needs. Secondly, after we have found the house we intend to buy we need to open a French checking account. We knew this was going to be difficult, because we understand a French resident must accompany you to the bank and vouch for you. Our real estate agent, Lizzie, a Brit living in France, said she would accompany us, problem solved. That didn't seem to be a major obstacle and actually helps resolve the language issue. But, she e-mailed us the other day and told us to bring a few other things for our visit to the bank beside the funds: our birth certificates; our marriage certificate, our passports, recent bank statements and copies of utility bills that are less that three months old. Needless to say, this is quite a departure from opening an American checking account where all one needs is an ID and a couple of bucks. I'm not sure what the difference is............but we have been warned, never, ever, ever bounce a check in France. OK. We promise. But let me ask you know where your passport, marriage certificate and birth certificate are? Neither did we.

Apparently, as we have been learning, all payments associated with the house are made by the bank. Mortgage, water, sewer, gas, electricity, (and to use a French term) et cetera (or is that Latin?).

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