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A guide to property renovations in France

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

Study up on home improvement strategies in France. Find out what must be done to make a French house safe for vacation subletting, and how to make a sublease that will rent out.

If you have just purchased a home in France, we wish you the best! If you decide to purchase a house in France, you will find that you have many opportunities for improvement and personalization. Learn your legal responsibilities for maintaining the security of your property, how to decorate and furnish your new house, and how to generate some extra cash by renting out an unused garage or shed.


Do you need a place to stay temporarily while you restore your French utopia? If so, Homelike is the place for you. Whether you are looking for a studio in the heart of the city or a loft large enough to fit the entire family, you will find it all on their user-friendly web. Locate your next temporary dwelling by visiting Homelike now.

Renovations, decorations and fitting it out

You may move into your new French house as is and be quite content. The likelihood of you wanting to make some adjustments or perhaps substantial modifications, though, is quite high. In any case, you will need to stock your new home with a variety of necessities.

Looking to sell the house after a short time? Depending on how long you want to remain, you may just need to make minor adjustments, such as painting or rearranging furniture, or you may need to do more extensive renovations. Never forget to think about whether or whether your effort improves the property's worth. Be sure you have the necessary permits before beginning. The French planning standards and regulations are outlined in the Code de l'Urbanisme, which may be obtained from the local town hall (mairie).

No matter how big or little the job is, you should always plan and leave room for the unexpected. Get many quotations (devis) before hiring a local tradesman, and always ask for referrals from friends and neighbours. The project will likely go behind schedule if you can not keep an eye on it every step of the way. Try to set up a replacement project manager in case you need to take some time off. Incorporating French-made items into your house is a smart move. Thus, they may be easily integrated into preexisting infrastructures and services.

Some of the most common locations where one may find the required items are listed below.

Building materials, fixtures and fittings ­ and DIY

The likes of Bricorama, Leroy Merlin, Mr. Bricolage, and Point P are the places to go if you need anything from the building materials to the picture hanger to complete your home's décor. Ciffréo Bona is the go-to spot for any construction supplies, and Kiloutou rents out anything from a digger to a damp-detector.

The flooring selection at most hardware shops is limited to laminate and wood, but at Mondial Moquette and Saint Maclou, you may get carpets, wallpaper, and paint in addition to the more common laminate and ceramic tiles.

Castorama is a one-stop shop for all of your home's functional needs, from the kitchen sink on up. We at Lapeyre sell and install all kinds of kitchen, bathroom, and door hardware.

Household goods

French hypermarkets like Carrefour, Auchan, and Leclerc are great places to stock up on kitchen equipment and other necessities for your home. Almost every major city has one of these on its outskirts. TVs, phones, laptops, white goods, kitchen appliances, bedding, crockery, DIY, garden furniture, and just about everything else you may need to outfit a new house are all available at low costs. Indoor fixtures and furnishings such as couches, rugs, and curtains will not be available.

Darty is a chain of discount department shops that focuses on selling electronics, furniture, and home furnishings. If you are looking for a broader selection of home goods, department shops like BHV and FNAC are well worth a visit.


There are many well-known French retailers, including BHV, BUT, and Fly, that specialise in selling couches, mattresses, and other furniture, as well as big and small home appliances, and outdoor furnishings (also sells nicely designed kitchens). Conforama is the place to go if you want something inexpensive and upbeat. Of course, there is always IKEA.


Plants, gardening supplies, tools, furniture, fences, decorations, and even solar panels may all be found at either Gamm Vert or Botanic, and any pet supplies you would need can be found at Botanic (even livestock). If you are not intending on spending every day of the year in France, you should think carefully about how much time and effort you want to put into a garden while designing your outside area.

Maintenance and safety

In France, property owners are required by law to maintain a certain level of upkeep.

Fire protection

If you live in a high-fire risk area, you must remove all dry brush and vegetation from your property within 50 feet of the home by July 1st of each year. In the event of a fire, this will restrict its spread and make it easier for firefighters to reach your home.

Septic tanks

The majority of homes in rural regions are equipped with a septic tank (fosse septique) underground to treat wastewater from the kitchen, bathroom, and toilet. Every four years, you must have a certified business pump out and inspect the tank.

Swimming pools

Having a swimming pool in your French backyard is strictly forbidden. Be sure that your pool meets all French safety regulations, such as putting a fence around it or installing alarms.

Rent your French property

Many rural French homes have a dependency (outbuilding) that might be renovated into a profitable gîte if the following conditions are met:

Make sure the barn or outbuilding you want to convert has a functional layout and design, and keep the ongoing maintenance expenses in mind.

Maintain a clean and uncluttered aesthetic (think about cleaning and maintenance).

Make sure there are lots of readily replaceable cooking implements and dishes in the kitchen.

You will need two sets of sheets, a television, a DVD player, and Wi-Fi (if available), as well as sturdy outside furniture.

Consider your options for advertising the gîte, accepting reservations, coordinating check-out and check-in timings (will you be present? If you do not have someone to maintain the gîte and the garden (and the pool, if you have one), you should find someone willing to do so.


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