Thursday, 6 February 2014

Renovation project - How to apply to open a B&B in France

Renovation project - How to apply to open a B&B in France

Miracle of miracles we wake to no rain again! This means John can continue on the barn roof. The edges have all had cement added to them to close them and the sterling board gets a couple of coats of liquid rubber, hopefully the rain will hold off long enough for it all to dry. We do not have any rapid hardener, this would make it dry much more quickly, we need to go to the shops to see if this can be bought in France, we had brought some over with us but it was used up a long time ago.
As the weather appears to be holding off John makes a start on the steps down to the barn from the garden, we have given this some thought and decided to have three large steps made from oak beams and broken slate.

John cuts the oak beams to size and I have the joy of breaking the slate, to buy slate suitable for this job would be quite expensive, but as we have so much broken slate from the roof we can recycle this and use it on the steps.

I fill a bucket with slate and then just hammer it with the hammer (quite cathartic, but really knackering to enjoy too much). Our pile of slate looks enormous, but it is surprising just how much it takes to cover the steps.

I am also applying to become a B&B today, we have been told that because we are only having two rooms we do not need permission (but we were also told we did not require permission to replace our broken windows if they were like for like and this was not true).

Be very wary of advice that you are given, always check with your Mairie, to ensure that you get the correct information. Even if permission is not required it is polite to speak to those in charge of your town/village and you will foster good relationships with the officials, you never know when this may be needed!

I had already collected the forms from the Mairie and just needed to state the address and how many rooms were going to be used.

The forms required were called the:




Again check with your Mairie in case the forms are different in your area!

I fill them in and go to the Mairie, I ask if I can speak to the planning officer but am told I need to phone her, I explain that my spoken French is not really good enough to speak on the phone and the receptionist tells me quite firmly that I must telephone, I try explaining t a different way, and the receptionist is just as firm, bugger what do I do, I must have looked quite crestfallen as she then said in very broken English, NO, the planning officer is on the phone! Oops, I just have to wait till she gets off the phone (my spoken French off the phone is obviously not as good as I thought it was!)

She finishes on the phone and we go though the forms, all are completed correctly, they will be handed over to the Mayor who will make the decision and then they will send the forms back signed and stamped, keep your fingers crossed for us or our blog may be becoming to an abrupt halt!

We have some lunch and John s looking at new TV’s again, he really wants a SMART TV, and as I am such a nice person (plus so fed up of him looking at them) I say let’s go and buy one.

We head over to Quimper to have a look at all of the big shops and find exactly what we want, we buy it and arrange delivery, then find out that because of the size we have to come and collect it, it’s too small to be delivered. Oh well, we do like Quimper and we do need to buy some more building supplies so another trip will not be a problem.

Top tips:
  1. Always make sure you get the correct information
  2. Do not just listen to hearsay (regulations change often in France)
  3. It is always a good idea to stay on the right side of your local Mairie
  4. Don't try to water proof a roof in the rain!


  1. Yes it is true, best not to rely on any " none expert" planning advice!
    Good luck, hope you get your permis and lots of clean tidy paying guests!!

  2. Congratulations on another step forward!

  3. thanks Gill and Anji, its starting to get exciting now :)

  4. Every day in my dinner half hour I read your blog, and it’s great!!! My hat goes off to you two for making things happen in a new country.
    As soon as you open myself and my wife will be booking a room!!!
    Great blog.

    john and jo preece

    1. Hi John and Jo

      What a lovely message to receive, so glad you are enjoying the blog and look forward to your visit

      Kindest regards

      Jenny and John