France has adopted a decentralized judicial cooperation system in criminal matters for EU countries. The mechanism of transmission is the following:
1) Between EU countries: requests can be sent directly to the local authorities, either to the investigating magistrates or to the public prosecutors depending on each case. Once it's done it can be sent back the same way. (Under art.695-1 of the French criminal procedure code - art.4 of EU convention 5/29/2000). In practice, there is a regional contact point of the French EJN branch in each of the 35 courts of appeal ( see list of the contact points on French EU MS fiche of the Atlas ). France has also a central contact point for the EJN in Paris that can be contacted at any time for any mutual assistance request. (fax: 0033 144861353) When there is a liaison magistrate for the country, requests can be sent to him see list of the contact points on French EU MS fiche of the Atlas). Although requests have to be sent this way, International Mutual Assistance Offices (BEPI / 0033144861371) of the French ministry of justice can still receive some of them from EU countries and will treat them exceptionally (e.g. EAW).
2) Between non EU countries but states that are part of the Council of Europe conventions: in principle the requests will be transmitted through the BEPI except in case of an emergency and will be sent back through the ministry's of justice international office.
3) When a Bilateral convention exists: of course, refer to its clauses but in most cases the diplomatic way is compulsory for incoming requests to France.
4) When no convention can be referred to: incoming requests of all criminal matters have to be sent through the International Mutual Assistance Office (BEPI) according article 694 of the French criminal procedure code.
DIRECTORY OF CRIMINAL MATTERS AND PARDONS (of which the BEPI is part of) - Organisation chart