How we can help you

Tool Kit

1.Business premises and real estate
2.French corporate law
3.Setting up your company
4.Financial support
5. French employment law

1. Business premises and real estate

Alsace offers a range of real estate solutions for business, from specialized industrial sites and science parks to real estate for the services sector, start-up parks or logistics facilities.

Open your office in Alsace

Discover a wide range of qualitative property and industrial estates, tailor-made for your requirements.
If you’re looking for a soft landing solution, the region is dotted with public and private business centers offering shared services.

Discover our sites

Find out more about our land, business parks and incubators, at
Need more information? Then get in touch! We will be pleased to provide you with more information and individual advice, all in the strictest of confidence.

2. French corporate law

The vast majority of companies carrying out commercial or industrial activities in France do so through a subsidiary. Here, you need to decide on the right legal form for you. This choice will have a number of company law, financial, property law, and social consequences.

Three main legal forms

The most frequently used company forms are:

  • SA (Société anonyme – public limited company),
  • SARL (Société à responsabilité limitée – limited liability company),
  • SAS (Société par actions simplifies – simplified joint-stock company).
  • SARL is based on standard bylaws and is generally used for smaller operations.
  • SAS has recently tended to replace SA due to its simplified functioning. The drafting of its bylaws if totally free. It is a perfect choice for holding companies and foreign companies wishing to own 100% of their subsidiary.

The standard international company forms which are similar to these company forms are limited company (Ltd), corporation (Inc.) and Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH).

European Company

If your company is represented in at least two member states of the European Union, you can opt for European Company (SE – Société Européenne) status.
This will give your company the benefit of a single set of rules for operational management and a disclosure system for financial information.
The SE is, however, liable for tax and duty in every member state in which it operates.

3. Setting up your company

Whatever your development strategy, France has the perfect legal form for your requirements. Creating and registering your subsidiary is a straightforward process.

A few simple steps

  • Identify commercial premises and establish a lease or purchase contract
  • Choose your company name and check its availability with the INPI (Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle – National Industrial Property Institute) and the Commercial Court (Greffe du tribunal de commerce)
  • Open a French bank account in the name of the future company
  • Decide on a legal form for your company (SA, SAS, SàRL)
  • Draft and sign the articles of association (address, managing directors, business activity, etc.)
  • Transfer the company capital on the bank account and get a statement from the bank
  • Register the articles of association, bank confirmation and IDs of official representatives with the CFE (Centre de formalités des entreprises – Business Formalities Centre)
  • Publish the company’s incorporation in an official newspaper
  • If relevant, apply for residence and employment permits for employees from outside the EU

Fast Track Company Setup

The entire registration process can now be completed electronically.
All company incorporation formalities are carried out by a central point of contact: the Business Formalities Centre (CFE – Centre de Formalités des Entreprises), a service of the local CCI. It will submit all of the constitutional documents to the competent authorities on behalf of your company.

4. Financial support

Access Alsace supports foreign investors in securing all the relevant public financial assistance available for their project and completing the necessary applications.

Access Alsace also puts foreign companies in touch with the French institutions (ministries, regional authorities, government agencies, etc.) which support investors and investment projects.The European and French authorities support projects promoting or generating:

  • investment and job creation
  • professional training and continued education for employees
  • innovation, research and development
  • environmental protection

Access Alsace introduces foreign investors to BPI, a public bank supporting innovation, delivering financial guarantees, and financing projects alongside private banks.

5. French employment law

The company may recruit staff as soon as it has been entered in the commercial register.

The freely negotiated employment contract

The most common form of employment contract is the CDI (Contrat à Durée Indéterminéepermanent employment contract ).

Fixed-term contracts and the use of temporary employees are special measures limited to specific circumstances laid down by law and are generally limited to 18 months. These options should not be used in order to fill a position permanently in the framework of the company’s normal and ongoing business activities.
The French Employment Agency (Pôle Emploi) can help companies to recruit their workforce: determining required profile, publication of vacant positions, preselecting candidates, organizing training before the candidate takes up his / her position.

Termination of Employment Contract

The employment contract can be terminated by the employee (resignation) or by the employer (dismissal).
Once the probationary period is over, the company has to give genuine and serious reasons for dismissal, and keep to a mandatory procedure which will depend on the actual reason for dismissal, number of employees dismissed, and size of the company. The “amicable termination of the employment contract” is a further option based on mutual agreement.

35-hour week

In France, statutory working hours in companies are 35 hours per week actually worked. This is a reference level; any time worked above this is overtime.
The number of overtime hours available to the employer is laid down by an internal company agreement, or otherwise defaults to 220 hours per year and per employee, increasing potential annual working hours to 1,827.
The payment of overtime can be replaced with time off in lieu, if this option has been agreed on within a global company agreement.
Maximum working time is 10 hours per day, with contractual exemptions for up to 12 hours a day, and 48 hours per week, with a maximum permissible average of 44 hours per week in any 12-week period.

Sundays off

A weekly rest day of a minimum of 24 hours on Sundays is provided for by law. However, there are a number of exemptions to this rule, in particular when made necessary by the specific requirements of the company’s activities e.g.

  • companies using or making products which spoil quickly,
  • companies operating continuously,
  • maintenance companies, etc..

There are also exemptions for companies located in areas classified as touristic or spa locations, or which are of particular interest to tourists.

Arranging the annual working hours

Companies have a number of options to arrange working time to meet their requirements, as laid down by the law of 22 August 2008: a collective agreement can lay down working time for a period of between one week and one year, If the company is able to predict particularly heavy demand at specific times, working hours can be increased or reduced for given periods within the legal limits, without incurring extra costs.