Renovation Project - How to open a B&B in France
This maybe a bit of a belated post but we are finally there! So thought that it may be useful to let you know how we did it. It may have been more useful knowing this information before we started as apparently we left things to the very last moment and the B&B may have been refused, now that would've been rather upsetting after all the work we put into it!
Please remember that the following guidelines are based on our experience in Huelgoat, Finistere, Brittany. The process may be different in different parts of France so always check before following advice from non official sources (including this one)
The first step is to actually obtain permission to open a B&B, and as with most things in France you need to visit your local Marie. this process was reasonably simple, it would've been very simple had I been able to speak french better! it took a little while but all the words were there and I managed, I was actually rather proud of myself at this point.
This is the very first step to opening a B&B and should be completed before anything else, before the renovations, before you buy your furnishings and definitely before you set up your website, because if the Marie says no, then there will be no B&B. We realised this quite late on!
However it would be quite strange for a Marie to say no, we do not want you to bring more tourism to our town, contribute to our economy and pay more taxes but it is better to be safe than sorry.
There were two forms to complete, but these were only one page each. The forms were called:
DECLARATION EN MARIE DE LOCATION DE CHAMBRE D'HOTE
Recepisse de declaration en marie de location de chambre d'hote
Both forms are very simple and once completed they are to be returned to the Marie and you wait for a response.
Once they have been agreed, and signed and stamped you will receive them in the post.
So we are all set to open up, the next step is to register with the local tourist board. Again a very easy process (well it would've been easy if we had known the tourist office had moved whilst work was being completed!) once we found it we went in and had to arrange for a visit, unfortunately they have no visits before we left for the UK, so we book in for our return.
Our date is set and when she arrives we sit and complete the forms, we have great fun doing this as her English is not the best so we help each other along, I speak French and she speaks English with each other correcting each other. Luckily she is really impressed and happy with the B&B so is willing to put us on the tourist website. There is a cost of 100 Euro’s and we have to e-mail some photo's over later in the evening.
If the tourist office are not happy with your B&B they will not advertise it!
Next step is to make sure we have public liability insurance, we have found a fantastic insurance broker in our local town who is able to discuss all of our insurance needs, the liability insurance is so much less than we expected, which was a nice surprise. This is mainly because France has not joined the lets sue everybody brigade.
We have had an appointment with an accountant to look at our tax regime and will be making an appointment with the local tax office to register under the appropriate tax scheme. There are so many tax schemes in France that you will need to take official advice as to the most appropriate scheme for you.
So we are now registered and really ready to go everything is in place or so we thought, I have just realised that we have not registered the B&B at the office for our tax fonciere, I will let you know how this goes when we go to the office.
I hope this helps anybody considering opening a B&B in France, it may seem daunting at first, but we have found the process so much easier than we thought it would be. Just remember to get the permission early on!!!!!!!