Monday, 15 February 2016

Renovation project - Do I need planning permission for new windows in France?

Renovation project - Do I need planning permission for new windows in France?

As the house is so cold and damp, replacing the windows has become a priority. This is something I have not been looking forward to as it means I have to go to the Mairie to apply for planning permission.

I arrange what I am going to say in my head and set off.

I ask for an appointment to speak to the planning officer and I'm asked what for. I reply that I want to replace the windows as they are rotten and old, I'm asked if I want PVC and quickly explain that no, I want traditional wooden windows, I'm asked what colour I want them and reply, white, I explain that I want them to look exactly the same.

At this point the secretary starts to speak English, I'm shocked I have struggled in here many times and nobody has said more than a couple of words in English.

I ask if I can continue in French as I need to practise, I'm rewarded with a big smile and she says yes that is perfect.

We discuss the windows and I receive the best response ever, we do not need permission if they are to be replaced with exactly the same windows.

I give my thanks and apologise for my broken French, to which she replies, not at all, your French is very good and you made a big effort.

I have said it many times before, as long as you try to speak French most people are extremely helpful and patient.

I leave a happy bunny and more than just a little impressed with myself.

It's a good day and nothing can ruin it until later this evening when I go for a bath and have to sit in our freezing indoor/outdoor bathroom. As I lie down to wash my hair I look up at the ceiling and feel dread at what I can see, and realise the bathroom is now our priority, we need to build one in the house as soon as possible so that I am not looking at the black mould and wondering how much of the paint will fall in on me!

It's amazing how your priorities can change so rapidly!


  1. We went about our back doors, we took the estate agent as, although I can speak some French, we replaced white doors with glass doors. The agent explained there is nothing behind the house and no one can see them. We said we wanted double glazed and they didn't ask any more. I I was also told we can paint the house, shutters, put down a path and patio and we didn't need to have permission to do any ot those things. In fact they joked, it's only the English who ask. It's still polite to ask though xx

    1. Hi, we had no problem painting the house or shutters as long as it was exactly the same. But we were told at the Mairie any changes must be agreed as we are in a protected area. Was it the Mairie who Joked? Also if you plan to sell your house the notaire will ask for permissions for any work completed in the previous 10 years. Glad you had no problem with your changes also :) x

  2. Actually I agree your ceiling looks nasty and needs a makeover but I'm fairly convinced it isn't mould so nothing to worry about health-wise, only ugly. As a stopgap measure you could just scrape all that loose paint and give the ceiling a lick of emulsion. I suppose eventually you'll have to look into the reasons for that paint failure, maybe lack of insulation and condensate on the cold ceiling. Hope this helps and lifts your spirits a bit!


    1. thanks so much, it is condensation and no insulation, topped with a flat roof. Luckily the new bathroom will be ready soon and we can change this room completely :)