By the time he went to France to play, he was already 31 years old. He played from Olympique de Marseille from 1985 to 1988, playing 36, 38, and 35 league matches in each of his three seasons there. He then spent one season at Sporting Toulon Var, playing 31 matches. Two years at FC Girondins de Bordeaux followed, where he played 38 matches in 1989–90 and 37 matches in 1990–91. He ended his playing career with AS Saint-Étienne, where he played 35 matches in 1991–92 and 38 matches in 1992–93, but only 26 matches in 1993–94.
Bell, in joining the campaign United Against Malaria in 2009, stated that "malaria ... affected his playing".