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Spain Welcome
Guide for living and working in Spain
A guide, information, advice and useful addresses to be able to leave well-informed.

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International School
City Spain


Geographical situation
Economy & statistics


Other sectors
Weights, measures and voltages
Main towns


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Health & medicine


Connections with France
Time differences
Car rental
Hotels & restaurants
Your suitcase
Your car
Schools & schooling
Cost of Living
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Usefull Addresses

City Ville Guide

Connections with France and internal transport
Air France, Iberia, Euralair and Air Inter leave daily from Orly Sud to Madrid and Sevilla.
The flight lasts approximatively 1 hour and 40 minutes.
By car : there are 1,920 kms between Paris and Sevilla, a 22 hour drive
By bus : there are regular direct services Paris-Sevilla and Bordeaux -Sevilla.
It costs about 1,300 FF per person for a return trip Paris-Sevilla.
By train : the Talgo goes directly from Paris-Madrid and costs from 1,376 FF.
The national road network (which has really improved over these last years) is good over most of the country. You can travel anywhere by car, bus, train or plane.
For a trip from Alicante to Madrid for instance, it will cost about 5,900 pesetas by train and about 26,000 pesetas by plane.

The Spanish high speed train, the AVE, has a train going between Madrid to Cordoba and Sevilla every hour. It takes 2h15 Madrid-Sevilla and costs 623 FF return.
The bus services between the main towns are rapid and comfortable.
In town you can travel by car, taxi, bus or underground. A ticket costs between 50 and 100 pesetas per trip, it is a good idea to take a card for the bus and underground with which you can do 10 return trips for 660 pesetas.

Telephone :
Telephone connections are good both to and from Spain.
To dial Spain from France : 00 34 + 9 numbers .
To France : 00 33.
Emergency number : 061.
Police 091
Information (general) : 010
Information (telephone service) : 1003
A multi-language telephone service for tourists: 901 300 600 from Monday to Friday from 10am to 2 pm (free of charge)

Postal services :
Letters and newspapers arrive in a perfectly acceptable time.

Television/Radio :
You can pick up French radio stations (RMC, Sud Radio and Radio Internationale) at 11pm in French, the reception is good.
You can pick up France Inter and Europe 1 on long wave, but the reception is not very good.

Press/ Newspapers :
In Spain you can find nearly all the major French newspapers and magazines. In the larger cities there are bookshops specializing in foreign press publications.

There are numerous projects under way concerning the infrastructure which is insufficiently developed both compared to the growth in the economy and the airline traffic.

Investments made in the main airports in 1999 in billions of pesetas :
Barcelona .....................6.3
Bilbao .......................... 4.2
Gran Canaria ................4.1
Madrid ........................21.9
Palma de Mallorca .......5.2
Tenerife .......................7.2
Valencia ...................... 2.2

The Barcelona airport is 12 kms out of town. There is a bus going every 15 minutes to the centre.
Tel. 93 298 38 38/93 478 50 00
Madrid airport is 10 kms out of town, it costs about 100 FF to get into town by taxi.

23 - Hotels
In most of Spain you have a large range of choice going from top luxury to family guesthouses.
Indication of prices of a double room with bath, without breakfast :

Hotel ***** 800/1 600 FF
Hotel **** 500/750 F
Hotel *** 300/450 F
Hotel ** 200/300 F
Hotel * 150/250 F

Some addresses :
The Colon*****, in front of the cathedral,Tel 34 3 301 14 04
The Gran Hotel Barcino *****, just next to the Jaume square, Barcelona Tel 34 3 302 20 12
NH Calderon****, Rambla de Catalunya, 26, Barcelona, Tel 93 301 00 00
The Meridien Barcelona ****, La Rambla, 111, Barcelona, Tel 93 318 62 00
Cataluny Plaza, Place de Catalunya, Barcelona Tel 93 317 71 70
Mercure Barcelona, La Rambla,124, Barcelona Tel 93 412 04 04
Hotel Adagio**, 21 rue Ferran, Barcelona Tel 34 93 318 90 61
Rey don Jaume 1*, Jaume 1 11, Barcelona Tel 93 310 62 08
Roma Reial *, Place Reial, 11, Barcelona Tel 93 302 03 66

Wellington*****, Velazquez 8 Tel 91 575 44 00
Hotel Monaco Barbierie 5, Tel 91 522 46 30
NH Embajada, Santa Engracia 5, Tel 91 594 02 13

Hotel Amistad Cordoba****, plaza Maimonides, n°3 Tel 957 42 03 35, contemporary decoration in an 18th century manor house, near the mosque and the cathedral.
Hotel Albucasis**, Buen Pastor, Tel 957 47 86 25
Hotel Gonzalez**, calle Manriquez n°3 tel 95 747 98 19, opposite the main door of the mosque, in the centre of the Jewish district, excellent value for money.

Las Casas de la Juderia***, plaza Santa Maria la Blance, callejon de dos Hermanas n°7, tel 95 441 51 50
in the very beautiful district of Santa Cruz.
Hotel Simon*, calle Garcia de Vinuesa n°19 Tel 95 422 66 60
modest but very well situated, excellent value for money.
Alfonso XIII, Sa Fernando n°2, tel 95 422 28 50
a palace to top all palaces, a superb hotel with great charm. Great prices too.

Hostal Lima, calle Laural de la Tablas n°17, tel 95 829 50 29, pleasant family guesthouse very well situated near the Trinidad square.
El Palacio de Santa Inés, cuesta de Santa Inés n°9, tel 95 822 23 62, a 16th century palace well placed in the little streets of the Albaïcin district.
Parador de San Francisco, Real de la Alhambra, tel 95 822 14 40, in the centre of the Alhambra, in the walls of a 15th century convent. Expensive.

An original way to discover Andalousia is to sleep in the cortijos. These are ancient landed properties, surrounded by acres of land where the owners greet and treat you like honoured guests. To get a list of these cortijos and to make a reservation telephone 00 34 95 902 10 38 92 or get them on internet at :

Your suitcase
Even if there are no extreme temperatures in winter, the dampness makes the cold penetrating.
On the Mediterranean coast you don't need very warm clothing, just sweaters and a raincoat.
In Madrid and in the interior of the country you need very warm clothing, particularly in the mountains.
In summer take light clothing, but don't forget that the evenings can be cool and there is rain.
You'll need a suit and tie for business meetings.

Stamps, foreign exchange and tobacco are sold in 'Estancos'.
Public Holidays :
15th August : Assumption
12th October : National Day
1st November : All Saints' Day
6th December : Constitution Day
8th December : Immaculate Conception
25th December : Christmas Day
1st January : New Year's Day
2nd January : Epiphany
April : Easter Thursday (not celebrated in Catalonia)
April : Easter Friday
April : Easter Monday (not celebrated everywhere)
1st May : Labour Day

Business :
In Spain never make an appointment between 2pm and 3.30pm, it's lunch time. It is much easier to get an appointment late in the evening than early in the morning (and never before 9am).
Business is treated in a very relaxed and friendly way. Stuffiness and standing on ceremony is not appreciated.
An appointment made for 7 in the evening can finish up quite easily at 1 in the morning! It is not uncommon to talk 'serious' business at the end some serious wining and dining.

Meals :
Lunch is usually taken between 2 and 3pm and dinner between 9 and 10pm. There are coffee breaks at 10am and 5 pm in most companies.

Driving licence:
Tourists can drive with their national driving licence or an international one. Expatriates have to apply for a local licence when they settle in Spain - after 6 months at the latest. They have to go the the Traffic Police Service with their national driving licence, two identity photos and a medical certificate.

NB : Following a stipulation of the EC (dated 15/02/1983), national driving licences when replaced by another one in another European country, are taken from their owner and sent to the administrative service in their own country where it was initially delivered. When the owner returns to his country of origin he can recuperate his driving licence by handing in the foreign one.

If you buy a car in Spain you can put on tourist number plates initially and avoid paying taxes on it.

Car immatriculation card :
In order to obtain the 'Permiso de circulacion' you have to go to the 'Jefature provincial de Trafico' and show the documents proving that you have paid customs duties.

Car insurance:
Third party insurance is obligatory.

Spanish law does not take into account terrorist attacks on cars. Only buses and lorries will eventually be compensated. Only the Basque government will compensate terrorist victims if an attack happens on their territory (for up to 25% of the damage).

It is advisable to take out a supplementary insurance covering terrorist attacks in a foreign country before you go to Spain with your car.

* You must absolutely have in your boot, otherwise you could be fined, two red triangles to signal an accident.

Banks :
Banks close their doors at 2pm.

If you want to open an account you have to take along an identity card and a written proof of your residence.

You can either buy pesetas before you leave for Spain, or else you can get them in exchange bureaus there or have them forwarded by bank transfer onto a foreign account.
Visa cards, American Express and Mastercard are accepted nearly everywhere.

French Banks with branches in Spain :
Banque Indosuez, Banque Nationale de Paris, Banque Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Commercial de France, Crédit Lyonnais and the Société Générale.

Schools and courses
In Madrid, the « Plaza del Liceo » (the French highschool) has 3 738 pupils, amongst which are 1160 French children (from expatriate families and Franco-Spanish families), 2396 Spaniards and 181 children of different nationalities.
In Barcelona there are a number of schools giving Spanish and Catalan lesson, they are called 'escolas d'idiomes'.
Barcelona University gives language lessons much cheaper but there is a long waiting list and the selection process is by lucky draw.

School grants :
They can be given for French children studying in a local school where the programme is recognized by the French Ministry of Education. The children have to be in pre-school, primary or secondary school and can apply for a grant which covers the costs of schooling, half board or boarding.

Conditions :
- the candidate and his family must reside in the country where the child is at school
- the candidate and his family must be registered with their Embassy or Consulate
- applications for a grant are first examined by a local commission in the Embassy or Consulate (to decide between a partial or full grant). These propositions are then submitted to a national commission for approval. (Get information from the French Consulate).

List of schools :
Escola oficial d'idiomes Barcelona Drassanes
Av. Drassanes - 08001 BARCELONA : 329 47 04.

Carrer Bosch i Gimpera 6, 08034 BARCELONA : 00.343.203.79.50

Camino de la Pava 15, GAVA - 08850 BARCELONA : 00.343.665.57.50

Ferdinand de Lesseps
707 Gran Via de les Corts, Catalanes 707 - 08013 BARCELONA : 00.343.231.11.07

de la Costa Blanca, Finca Barrina Norte, n° 16, 03500 BENIDORM

Barrio Galbarriatu s/n -, 48016 - DERIO (Vizcaya) : 00.344.453.11.99

Plaza del Liceo 3, 28043 - MADRID TEl: 00.341.300.09.40

Zona Residencial El Bosque, Anastro 66 - 28033 MADRID : 00.341.302.06.72

Camino Ancho 85 - El Soto de la Moraleja, 28100 ALCOBENDAS : 00.341.650.70.19

Calle El Cristo s/n, 28691 VILLANUEVA DE LA CANADA(Madrid) : 00.341.815.50.72

Saint Chaumond - Calle Rodriguez, Marin 30-32 - 28002 MADRID

Calle Los Falmencos 36, Cerrado de Calderon - 29018 MALAGA : 00.3452.29.69.00

Urb. Al Torreal - Ap. 133, Molina de Segura - 30500 MURCIA

Maison de France - Avenida de Francia 12, 20012 SAN SEBASTIAN : 00.3443.27.04.19

Manuel Marraco Ramon 8, 50015 ZARAGOZA :

Carretera de Tarragona, Partida Rojals, distrito 4,22 - 43206 REUS :

Carretera de Ademuz - km 6;1, Apartado 119 - 46980 PATERNA : 00.346.138.18.26

Général Solchaga 107, Poligono de Argales - 47008 VALLADOLID :

Can Llambias - Ctra. San José km 203, Apartrado 131 - 07800 IBIZA :

Calle Salud 4 - 07014 PALMA DE MALLORCA :

Calle Francisco Wood - Quintana 8, Tafira Alta, 35017 LAS PALMAS DE GRAN CANARIA

Calle Braganza S/N 28025 - MADRID : 580.47.56

Calle Alcala 31 - 28014 MADRID : 580.42.42

Calle Balmes No 7 Esplugas, Barcelona - tel 3-3714016 Prix US$3500-6100

Avenada La Salle, s/n Aravace, Madrid 28023 (tel 1-3572668/457422)

Apartado 80, 28080 Madrid (tel 1-3572154) US$2500-9200

Centre National d'Enseignement à Distance - correspondence courses (C.N.E.D.)
ALLO C.N.E.D. : 01 49 49 94 94
Postal address : C.N.E.D., B.P. 200 Avenue du Téléport, 89980 Futuroscope Cedex (Poitiers)

28 - Observations
Cost of Living

Evolution in the cost of living:
Inflation stands at 2.4%
Rent has gone up by 10 to 25%

Budget :
An average monthly budget for an expatriate, which will cover all his expenses (in pesetas), (rent plus service charges represent about 30 to 40% of these amounts) :

.......................... Barcelona..... Madrid.................Sevilla

Bachelor ..........300,000..... 150,000 - 250.000 ....250,000
Couple .............400,000..... 300,000 - 600,000 ....330,000
Couple with
2 children ........500,000.......400,000 and + .........400,000

Finding and Renting Accomodation:
In Barcelona rents are high. You have to count about 2 500 F to rent a bedsit.

To find accomodation you could contact the 'Fincas', (a grouping of property owners) but that would cost you already between 700 and 800 F to register with them.
It is easier to find a furnished flat. Houses are rarely furnished.
You can either have a short term lease or a long term lease.

You can find ads in the press. There are specialized magazines : 'Premerama', which is a weekly advert paper costing 12 Francs, and there is a page dealing with accomodation in the 'Segunda Mano' paper. In Primerama you can publish an ad for free, and there are often ads for flat sharing which is very common in Spain.

It often takes one or two months to find suitable accomodation. Flats are usually rented with a kitchen fitted with a cooker, fridge and sometimes some other machines, but not often with a washing machine or dish washer.

Not all accomodation is fitted with central heating. when it does exist it is town gas, electricity or fuel.

An indication of rent in the main towns in Spain and different types of accomodation (in pesetas) :

Accomodation ........ Barcelona................ Madrid

Bedsit.................. 45,000 - 90,000 ........80,000 - 170,000
2/3 rooms ............90,000 - 130,000 .....180,000 - 200,000
3/4 rooms ...........100,000 - 200,000 ....320,000 - 350,000
5/6 rooms ...........120,000 - 400,000 ......500,000 and +

To buy real estate you have to use the services of a notary.
Real estate agents :
- Sturgis International, 5 Avenida de Arias, Maldonado, Marbella, Malaga ; tel 777 090
- Coope & Co, 66-67 High Street, Lymington, Hampshire SO41 9AL Angleterre

Insurance companies :
Commercial Union Assurance Co: Paseo de la Castellana 91, Planta 11, 28046 Madrid; tel 597-0051
Eagle Star Vida: 9 Piso, Torre Europa, Paseo de la Castellana 95, 28046 Madrid; tel 405-3344
Royal Insurance Espana SA: Principe de Bargara 43, Madrid 1; tel 435-5860

Driving in Spain :
If you wish to buy a Spanish car, it is better to buy it once you are there to avoid customs duties on imports which represent 30 to 40% of the price.

It costs about the same for a new car in Spain as in France i.e. depending on what you choose, from about 1,600,000 to 2,800,000 pesetas.

VAT is 15 % and the registration tax is 13 %.

A local driving licence costs 1,500 pesetas. The immatriculation card costs 3,800 pesetas.

Price of a liter (in pesetas) :

Petrol ... Prix
Super .....115
Diesel ..... 90
Normal .... 85 à 98,2
Super leadless (95) 108, (98) 118

Telephone :
To install a telephone costs about 1,200 FF

Meals/Food :
You can find nearly everything. French wines are expensive.

A quick lunch costs about 850 pesetas, and a coffee costs 80-100 pesetas.

The price of a meal in a restaurant varies depending on the town.

Indication of price of a meal (in pesetas) :
Restaurants .................. Barcelona ................Madrid .............Sevilla
Top category ...............10,000 and + .......10,000 - 25,000 ........8,000
Average category ...... 4,000 - 5,000 .........2,500 - 10,000 ......3,500 - 5,000
The tip is usually included in the bill (10 to 15 % of the price of the meal).

Salary :
An average salary is about 150,000 pesetas.
The legal minimum is 70,680 pesetas, which equals a bit less than 3,000 francs.

For example, in Barcelona a graduate in computer engineering can expect to earn 6,500 F for a first job and an experienced bilingual secretary earns approx 6,000 F.

Schooling :
An intensive language course at Barcelona University costs 500 F per term.

Health /Medicine :
An average fee for a general practitioner (in his surgery) costs from 4,000 - 8,000 pesetas in Barcelona or Sevilla, and from 7,000 - 10,000 pesetas in Madrid.

A specialist costs from 6,000 - 15,000 pesetas in Barcelona or Sevilla and from 15,000 - 25,000 in Madrid.

A dentist cost from 6,000 pesetas up, in Madrid and from 5,000 pesetas up in Sevilla.

Surgery costs about the same as in France, in Barcelona a simple operation will come to 25,000 - 150,000 pesetas, in Madrid 250,000 and in Sevilla 181,5000 pesetas.

A day's stay in a public hospital costs 30,000 pesetas in Madrid, 31,000 in Sevilla and 38,000 in Barcelona. In some towns a day in hospital is free.

Health insurance :
A private complementary insurance costs on average 500 to 600 Francs a month, it is a good idea to shop around as cheaper ones exist.
French presence in Spain :

On 1st January 1995 there were 46,110 French citizens registered and 15,200 not registered, (of which
16,129 live in Barcelona and 11,269 in Madrid).

Main French sectors : foodstuffs (BSN, Perrier, Ricard), chemicals and pharmaceuticals (Sanofie, Lorilleux, Michelin, Péchiney, Rhône-Poullenc, etc... ), electronics, computer science and equipment (Crouzet, Thomson CSF, Bull, Générale Services Informatiques, CISI, Moulinex, Mer Guérin, Alcatel), hotels (Accor, Méridien, Campanile, Climat de France), building (Dumez, Bouygues), water (Lyonnaise des Eaux), as well as large scale distribution (Carrefour, Auchan, Promodes, Intermarché).

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