Protocol: Final Signing Acte de Vente

A serious question…we’re signing on Wednesday at the Notaire. I’ve read this is a somewhat solemn occasion and the parties involved wear suitable/appropriate attire, not that we’d show up in gardening clothes…
At the closings I’ve been to in the US, (both as buyer and seller) there’s usually an exchange of gifts; for example, the agent gives the buyers a plant and the sellers a bottle of champagne. The sellers in this instance have bent over backwards to accommodate us for the past three months and let us rent the house. They even had us over for cake and tea and introduced us to our neighbors, etc. The agent has gone above and beyond as well.
Would it be weird to give them both a bottle of champagne as a thank you? I don’t know the protocol here. All the parties, sauf la Maître Notaire and us, are British if that matters? Any suggestions on what we should and/or shouldn’t do?
Thank you for any input.

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Wear whatever you are comfortable in, and don’t worry about being formal - shorts and crocs​:sun_with_face::sun_with_face:?
I’m sure they would appreciate a bottle of bubbly too​:champagne::champagne:


We have bought a couple of houses in France.

There was a disappointingly small amount of ceremony at the Acte de Vente. It was a very quick almost informal and absolutely no gifts were exchanged in any direction. There was no dress code.

The meeting for the Compromis de Vente was much longer with every piece of paper in the entire building needing to be initialed by the buyer, the seller, the cleaner, the priest, the bus driver…!

I had hoped after the Acte de Vente was finalised that we would all go for a meal to celebrate but no.


Ditto Mat :sweat_smile:

French people don’t really go in for that sort of thing or dress up, but you are all foreign so we expect you to be different and find it charming, so go ahead. Just don’t go overboard :blush:


I’ve had one acte de vente where the agent produced the champagne (well cremant) as was acting for seller, and another where everything was done on screen at super fast speed and we were done in less than an hour with polite goodbyes and nothing more. In neither did anyone dress up.

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Ahaha!! Well I wasn’t planning on pearls and gloves but it could be my only opportunity for a long while! :joy:

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Awwww! After waiting three months there could be a LITTLE pomp and circumstance!

Clothes wise forget it, just wear ‘smart casual’ but the sellers sound lovely so depending on the time of day take them a nice bottle of bubbles, or if later morning or late afternoon out for an apero’ / lunch / apero!

Casual, not gardening clothes will be fine. Don’t bother with gifts for the notarie if you’re buying as you’ve just paid for their next holiday in the Seychelles with the fees.

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You can wear what you like and of course you can give the the vendors a bottle of Champagne or whatever. I just wouldn’t try and slip the Notaire a few bob though. :slightly_smiling_face:

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First property… we arrived at the Notaire’s direct from UK, after being stuck in jams, shutdowns… etc… so were 5 hours late…
( Notaire had assured us this was no problem… just get here !!)

We were hot and tired and disheveled… and were taken through a long, long document.

Everyone was delighted when it was all finally finished. We all shook hands and went our separate ways.

Second time… a few years later… arrived on time at the Notaire’s , dressed smart-casual… went through the business… shook hands… and the Seller took us next door for a drink…

third time… went through the business… shook hands with the Notaire… hugged the Seller (we knew her very well)… then we all went our separate ways…

good luck

Thanks! I think we will show up somewhere between disheveled and smart, shake hands and give the sellers a bottle of champagne to show our appreciation for everything they’ve done for us. In fact, I don’t think a bottle is actually adequate because they were amazing. The house is furnished, they went through everything was spotless, extra propane tank, dishes, glassware and silverware neatly arranged, pictures on the wall, I will never forget their kindness to us.

Now what about the agent who acted beyond her call of duty to arrange the rental etc. I remembered she said she doesn’t drink alcohol. I’ll find something…

Thanks again!


Gifts really are not necessary… but if you really want to…

Might I suggest that you give whatever you decide upon… when you are well away from the Notaire’s office. :upside_down_face: :slightly_smiling_face:

(chocolates are always well received… on virtually any occasion… in my experience… )

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The last time I sold a property, the (French) buyers gave me a box of chocolates. And yes, it was in the notarie’s office!


From my very limited experience I would be inclined to err on the side of fastidious formality. Our Maitre was irreprochably professional and he conducted the whole proceedings in French, although he spoke perfect English (we had a hired interpreter who strangely did not pronounce avenue Foch correctly, he corrected her).

I had rehearsed a short appréciation of the quality of his services in French when everything was concluded and he responded with a smile and a gracious inclination of the head.

He escorted us all the the car park and shook hand with each participant in turn. At my turn he said to me in English “If you continue like this you will do very well here.”. I was appropriately chuffed :hugs::smiley:

That impression of graceful and restrained cordiality, essentially French, has remained with me and shapes my own responses to others to this day.


Good advice! We have to stay and do wills afterwards but I’m sure we can take a break to walk down to the parking lot and get the stuff out of the car. Will try to find some fancy chocolates around here!

That’s a great story. I know the big event is conducted in French but we’ve had two phone meetings with the Notaire in English as well as French so it’s all good and I understand everything.
Yes expressions of gratitude, definitely in the parking lot.

The French aren’t big on cards, are they? A Thank-You card for the Notaire?

I’ll just bring a Thank-You card for the Notair(esse?) for the two phone calls in English to explain property division matters, rights of inheritance, life interest etc. That was nice of her.

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