A lot depends on your chamber of ag. We arrived in France a year ago and rented a smallholding initially.(we have since bought a place) We had a farm in the UK so we new what was in store, more or less. We tried emailing initially - no reply so we drove there - we walked in the door having got totally lost at 11:40 - awfully near the dreaded sacrosanct lunch hour. Despite this, a really nice lady sat down with us, gave us all the forms and helped us fill in everything, we paid our fee (small fee) and we came out with all the paperwork, a cheptel number (smallholding number) and instructions on a few basics at 12:25. We were very impressed a few queries since and I now have a reliable email contact, especially over the move. We have cows and pigs - not a huge lot but enough to manage here as we wanted to downsize anyway. We also had some marvellous advice from the French Pig Genetic Bureau as to where to find a breed of pig that we knew and liked. The "old" "traditional", breeds went through a measure of success in the UK 2000-2009, but eventually butchers and clients got to know that although the meat tastes great, it has an awful lot of fat when ready for table - there are some clients who do prefer to buy the old breeds however, so do not be put off them - it all depends on what you want..( it's finding your market). Most abbatoirs will not accept animals who are from an unregistered holding and, if an unregistered animal dies, you have to pay the costs of carcass pick up etc.
Happy to talk you through will send a friend request then you can access phone and email details. Vets are also unhappy about people who do not register these days, but again it depends on region; personally we have always kept to DEFRA rules in the UK and done the same here - anything for an easy life despite the paperwork. cheers Liz