Hi was wondering were going to need to renovate out recently purchased house when we can get into france . Do we get permission first from the notieir sorry spelling or do i need to get plans drawn up thànks

Don’t think the Notaire will be too bothered.

But if planning Veluxes you will need to talk to the Mairie, and any outside changes within (?) 100m of a listed building are controlled as well.

Hi Karen. You will need to go through the mayor of your commune. You will need to produce a detailed plan of the works with photos of the existing buildigns elevations and the work you intend to do and fill in several forms. These will be sent off to the prefecture for your relevant department and they will give the yes or no to your plans. Takes several weeks to get approval/rejection. If you hear nothing within a certain timeframe it usually means you have been successful.


What do you intend to do - its nothing to do with the Notaire anyway really unless its a condition of the purchase.

If its internal (excluding adding space) then you don’t need to ask for permission tell anyone.

If you’re adding bathrooms or converting attics then you generally need a Declaration Preamble - that’s more about local taxes in reality than permission

If its external - be it new windows or extensions then it depends - but you either need a Declaration Preamble (this is what I’m doing - they can say no0 or full planning permission.

There’s some limits on space/area and when you must use an architect

Mairie first to see what can and can’t be done, then architect if required, back to Mairie with plans etc and two months later you should get the yes or no, however if the property is within 500 metres of the church or a historic building the plans will have to be passed by the French equivalent of English Heritage so the delay could be longer.


I have a vague recollection that blocking or creating doorways needs to be approved, even if it does not add space.


Hi Karen

As some have said… not everything needs permission or to be done through the Mairie…

However, Regulations are changing and, in order not to fall foul of any misunderstanding/misconceptions, I would advise you to contact the Mairie in the first instance.

Not only is this the polite thing to do, as the new member of the commune…
but it does ensure you get the correct advice.

Talking things through, costs you nothing but your time… but it is well worth the effort.

best of luck


Architect may not be required - depends on the size of your property in the first place and what, if any, additional space you are adding on. Our main house, we needed an architect even though (at the time) we were only adding on an entrance porch, because of the total size of the property.
Our gite, I drew up all the plans and elevations because the total property came within the limits. We still needed planning permission because (as others have said) we were doing major external changes, including putting back the roof. We talked to the local planning officer which really helped as she brought the total dimensions to within what we could do for ourselves - eg not counting the stairwell or the thickness of the walls (don’t ask!)
I’m not sure what the limits are these days - you need to check.

Are you going to do the renovations yourselves? If not, and you are doing a major project then it might be worth employing a local project manager. Ours managed our house and did a great job. He was also trusted by all the local artisans so they were prepared to work for us. As British incomers we were an unknown quantity and they were reluctant to deal with us directly. Also, bear in mind that any good local artisan is worth his weight in gold and is probably fully booked up for the next 12-18 months.

There is a wealth of useful information on this site with several people doing (or who have done) their own renovations, so it’s worth having a good look around.
What fun! We did ours 11-12 years ago and although it can be scary at moments it’s so satisfying.


Déclaration préalable

when i arrived, in 2003, spoke to mayor, who said, my location , was such that he would not be fussed what we did, as long as we spoke to farmers either side. They said, just carry on, so we did

Sorry Marie not notaire as i originally said !! Anyway thanks for the replies very helpful my gable end needs completing looks v old the main house is finished but requires rendering so well do what we can

What has been allowed in the past… is not necessarily allowed nowadays, since everything has been tightened up.

And the tightening-up… the rules and the following of correct procedure… is not all bad news…

Some years ago, my own Maire gave the go-ahead for a simple project… much to the dismay of the clerk responsible for Urbanisation, who had to jump in and stop things in mid-flow … until the correct paperwork was completed.

There was a silver lining, however, as the clerk discussed things fully with the Owner and helped obtain a small grant towards the work, which pleased the Owner no end.

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Hi, Stella, disagree, i am afraid, that things have tightened up. May be, in the towns, but here, in the deep country, back of beyond, its if anything, easier. Local mayors, and i dont include mine in this, have become disgruntled with their powers being all but stripped, and staff, cut back. They know, their days are numbered. My guy, is very dedicated, , and very helpful, not the same one, as when i came. I do know though, through other discussions, that many are not even consulted, prior to work taking place. Our guy, even personally, delivers covid masks, to all the elderly… john

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We will have to agree to disagree… we obviously have different experiences.

I live in a country commune… not a town…

apart from my own projects, I have been involved with several folk seeking renovation/works and thus been in touch with different Mairies both in towns and countryside… things in my experience… are definitely tightening…

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Łets hope our marier is chilled and helpful as well weve had lots gone wrong on our journey to live in france

What do you mean?

Elections every 6 years

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That’s a shame… I hope things go more smoothly from now on… fingers crossed, you will be in France asap…

Of course, it’s in the everyone’s best interests that the “Civil Servants” at the Mairie are helpful and welcoming … :upside_down_face: but, as we all know, everyone will have good and bad days… so not always smiling… :thinking:

The “Civil Servants” are the ones who (should) know what’s what… and can give you best advice.

(note: the Mayor is not in quite the same league, he/she is elected by the commune every 6 years)

:hugs: :hugs:

It is always worth talking to an architect or two about the project. When I was planning one project (unfortunately it fell through), the architect gave me several very interesting ideas I would not have had myself, and suggested a couple of cost effective ways of dealing with a couple of issues.

He also surprised me by saying “If this is a typical farmyard, there should be a well in the middle, let’s see if we can find it” - took a couple of dowsing rods out of his briefcase and walked across the lawn. He did find it - pulled back the grass and mud with his boot and there was the lid.

Architects are also well up on planning law and they’re pretty honest on whether you need one or not in terms of the square metreage.

Hi Andrea thanks for the input

Hi Karen, what exactly do you want to do?
We have a house on which we have undertaken quite a bit of work.
We need to get planning permission to change some windows but the internal working - knocking down walls - did not require that. We are not near any special monuments or listed buildings, so there was no issue in getting the permission. You can ask your Mairie to supply you the relevant planning application forms. You will need to do measurements etc of the external changes as well as send photos of how things are at present.
If you are doing an extension I don’t know, but clearly planning for that will be a bit more arduous.