Doing business in: France
Produced in partnership with Bersay & Associés
Doing business in: France

The following Commercial guidance note Produced in partnership with Bersay & Associés provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Doing business in: France
  • Introduction
  • The business environment
  • Forming a company
  • Financing a company
  • Opening a branch office
  • Opening a bank account
  • Utilising office space
  • Immigration controls
  • Key employment laws
  • more

Updated in May 2015

Introduction

France is an open market economy and provides a business-friendly environment with strong public facilities and a legal framework in line with European standards.

France is one of the largest economic and leading commercial centres and serves as a major hub for businesses worldwide. For various economic and political reasons, the French economy has not been as exposed as others to the financial crisis in 2008–2009 and has not suffered to the same extent as other European countries.

There are a variety of ways of structuring an operation in France. The aim of this guide is to highlight some of the key areas that a new business will need to address before it begins to operate in France. This guide should not be considered to be an all-inclusive guide and specific French legal advice should always be sought before setting up and running a business in France.

The business environment

France is the largest state in the European Union and is considered to have a well-developed economy, which is based both on strong private and public sectors. Since the mid-eighties, the nation’s economy has been transformed through privatisation from a nationalised state-dominated economy.

The primary source of French law is the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, which came into force on 4 October 1958. Pursuant to