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Legalities in France


Legalities in France

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France Legalities

Business isn't as easy in some countries as it is here in the UK. You need to be aware of the cultural and legal implications of your business operations, because, in some places, you could face heavy punishment for transgressing. For instance, relocating a bikini shop to Saudi Arabia isn't the most astute business move.

It is therefore important to acclimatise yourself with the law. There will be many legalities in France that you will have to adhere to, and you may even find that some laws you are familiar with here in the UK are no longer applicable. Likewise, you may find some new laws which strike you as strange or even oppressive.

As a business, will I be charged for taking my rubbish to the local tip (decheterie)?

You will be charged a small fee.

What are the regulations for specific businesses?

In France, establishments who welcome the public e.g. cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels, etc. are regulated by a special law concerning the risk of fire and panic. There are specific insurance policies applicable to these types of activities.

An establishment selling beverages, (debit de boisson) except restaurants, must obtain the appropriate licence to sell drink. The licence has four options:

  • Licence for non-alcoholic drinks
  • Licence for non-alcoholics drinks and alcoholics drinks with an alcoholic content with 3 or more degrees alcohol content
  • Licence for the two above plus drinks with an alcoholic content with more than 18 degrees alcohol content
  • Licence for the three above plus spirits, rums, brandies, liqueurs and all remaining drinks that are not prohibited

Two weeks prior to opening or taking over a debit de boisson (drinking establishment), written notification must be sent to the Prefecture de Police in Paris. Their contact details are:

Prefecture de Police de Paris
19, Rue Truffant
75017 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 44 90 37 17

What is the difference between a restaurant and a drinking establishment?

In France, more liberal regulations apply to restaurants as they serve drinks that accompany a main meal. The restaurant may apply for a licence if they want to sell alcoholic drinks.

How many rooms are there in a Bed & Breakfast (chambres d'hotes)?

A chambres d'htes is limited to 5 bedrooms and 15 guests. When you start trading you will need to inform your local mairie.

What about a guest house?

It is classed as a chambres d'hotes/table d'hotes as an evening meal is served in addition to breakfast. Again, you when you start trading you will need to inform your local mairie.

What is a gite?

A gite is an apartment or house in a rural location that is rented for holiday lets. Grants are available if you wish to renovate a property to use as a gite. You can apply to:

Gites de France
59 rue Saint-Lazare
75439 PARIS Cedex 09
Tel: +33 (0)1 49 70 75 75
Fax: +33 (0)1 42 81 28 53

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