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Welcome to France... ENJOY !

You’ve chosen France the country of red wine, camembert cheese and baguettes for your studies. We’re absolutely delighted! France is rich with history and diversity. Moreover it is well renown for the quality of its higher learning institutions, the wide selection of training programmes and courses of study as recognised across Europe. But before you confirm your arrival, you need to meet certain conditions. SMENO will explain everything in great detail!

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1 - The French healthcare system

Whether you must have coverage and affiliation or not, depends on your country of residence and origin (European Union national or not) and the reason for your stay in France (study, internship, etc.). To learn more on access to the French healthcare system, we invite you to contact the French health insurance fund or to consult their website

What is the "carte Vitale"? (as concerns enrolment)

When you’ve completed enrolment, you’ll be asked to complete and mail in a form to get your "Carte Vitale". This card is essential to properly receive your account statements and health reimbursements. It’s very simple to use! Present it to each healthcare practitioner (general practitionner, specialist, hospitals, etc.) for a faster reimbursement. While you wait for it, you must download a hard copy of the attestation from www.etudiant-etranger.ameli.fr (or smeno.com if you were registered last year).

Getting your reimbursements

The healthcare professional can provide you with third-party-payment ("tiers-payant" in french). That is, you have the possibility, if decided by your healthcare professional, to pay just one portion of your medical fees ! The other portion will be directly taken in charge by France's Social Security. However, if you do have to pay up front, there are two possible cases:

  • you used your Carte Vitale and you will be automatically reimbursed. ·
  • you did not use your Carte Vitale. The physician gives you a care sheet, a hard copy of the treatment received, which you must mail in to your French health insurance fund /CPAM* for reimbursement.

*CPAM: (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie). The primary French national health insurance fund organisation that provides registration, affiliation, liquidation and payment of benefits to covered individuals


SMENO is by your side from the moment you arrive in France to painlessly protect your health. Good medical coverage is no mystery. You need rock solid top-up health insurance. French Social Security covers only a portion of your medical costs. This can make a dent in your budget in case of hospitalisation. SMENO offers both French and foreign students a top-up plan for every budget.


Example of reimbursement for a hospital stay :

Hospitalisation even for simple observation can hit your savings pretty hard. A simple 5-day stay in the hospital can cost €6805. And you would owe a balance of €1361. Our top-up insurance plans cover this amount.

2 - Choosing your house accomodation

There are many housing options during your studies in France. Public or private sector accommodations, student residences, leasing an apartment alone or with room-mates, a private room in a family home,…

- We recommend you start your searcch as soon as possible! -

The simplest approach is to reserve accommodations, even temporary, when you arrive in France. You will have somewhere to drop off your suitcases when you arrive. Time to calmly get your bearings. Some educational establishments, especially the Grandes Écoles, have their own housing search platforms. Don’t forget to contact them to see if they have any rooms left!

CROUS - Regional student assistance office

  • Between €400 in Paris and €200 outside of Paris
  • Check with your institution's International Relations Department to see if it has a special agreement with the CROUS.
  • Find the CROUS for your education authority; each operates its own way and has its own website. The higher learning institution where you are enrolled is part of an education authority. You will have to contact that respective CROUS.

Private student residences

  • Between €300 and €750 per month
  • There are numerous advantages on a day-to-day basis: community life, furnished rooms, Internet, laundry room, sports centre …

Student youth hostels and residences (nonprofit)

  • Between €550 in Paris and €250 outside of Paris
  • These structures offer accommodations for young people aged 18 to 25, on average. 
  • Priority is given to young workers (apprentices, work-study) and students on internship.

Private real estate (rental agencies or individuals)

  • €800 in Paris and 400€ outside of Paris
  • Note that electricity, gas and Internet/telephone charges must be added to the rent.
  • Advantage: freedom in your accommodation choice and its location.

Family home

  • Sometimes free in exchange for day-to-day services! (babysitting, help with homework, language
  • Ideal if you want to improve your French. This is a practical and economic solution. A private room in an apartment or house with all the comforts of home and necessary furnishings and equipment.


In France, when you rent, be it alone or with room-mates, housing insurance is mandatory. This is true whether it’s a room in a residence hall, a studio, an apartment or even a private room in a family home. French law requires home insurance to protect the home, property and even you (personal liability). This compensates you for fire, water damage, theft, and damage to third parties, neighbours, for example. When you take your lodgings, the owner will ask you to provide proof of housing insurance for coverage in case of accidents. No need to panic. SMENO has insurance plans adapted to all types of accommodations and to your needs.


You’ll be in your accomodation for less than a year ?

Whether it’s 1 year or 1 month, with our made-to-measure plans, we have you covered for the entire length of your stay. SMENO offers permanent (1-year) or temporary (1 to 6 months) insurance solutions.

Documents to be submitted for housing in France


  • Valid identification;
  • Student ID card or a certificate of attendance at school for the current year.
  • Residence permit (VLSTS; residence card) if you are in France with a visa.
  • Letter from a guarantor and his/her identification
  • Certificate of insurance Personal liability insurance

3 - Protect your daily life

It’s important to differentiate between Civil Liability Insurance and Professional Liability Insurance in the workplace. They’re not the same thing. Your Civil Liability Insurance does not cover you during your internship nor your travel to and from your place of internship. Your school or employer may ask for a Professional Liability Insurance certificate to validate your internship documents (convention).

Insurance Package :

  • Internship and personal liability insurance for everyday life.
  • Your portable computer, tablet and smart phone are covered against theft.
  • Personal medical liability insurance included
  • If you have an accident, the personal accident coverage protects you worldwide (except USA and China).

Have a nice stay!

An arrival in new country is a lot of changes. You discover a new language, new habbits and legislation but don’t worry, SMENO is here to take care of you !
If you need further information, please use the contact form

Download our brochure

Welcome to France and have a nice stay!

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