Do I need planning permission to run a Gite or B&B in France?

Nov 5, 2019

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Do I need planning permission to run a French Gite or B&B in France?

Anyone can set up a gîte: non-french (EU) inhabitants, farmers, professionals, craftsmen, retailers, retired couples,  communes (village, town, townhall) or other groups of local people.

Gites can be registered with a professional network such as the “Fédération Nationale des Gîtes de France” who offer advice and assistance service through their 95 departmental centres and award the label “Gîtes de France”. The “Relais Départementaux” are organizations regulated by the law of 1 July 1901 which group together the owners of Gîtes de France accommodation in the department and, where necessary, the representatives of public bodies involved in Green Tourism (Conseils Génaraux, Chambres d’Agriculture, Comités Départementaux du Tourisme, Directions Départementales de l’Agriculture).

Gîtes can be listed under various categories subject to the type of activities or accommodation provided:

Gîte rural
A rural gîte (gîte rural) can be either in the countryside, by the sea or in the mountains and is furnished in a simple traditional style reflecting the local architecture. The gîte should be situated in a landscape that is well maintained, calm and away from noise, traffic such as main roads, railway lines, factories, etc.

Gîte de séjour
A “gîte de séjour” is a large capacity accommodation anything from 12 to 50 people and intended to accommodate friends, families or to be used for seminars, classes or sporting venues or groups of people needing spacious accommodation.

Gîte d’étape
A “gîte d’étape” is located on a route or a footpath and provides a welcome stop for walkers, riders or cyclists who can stay one or two nights before continuing their journey. When the two types of services are proposed, this will refer to a “Gîte d’Etape et de Séjour’ (these must be equipped and managed in order to provide the different types of services). Foreign owners of gîtes are less likely to make these distinctions when referring to their properties and are more likely to simply state whether the gîte is on its own or part of a complex.

When a gîte is used frequently and the service provided generates more than 50% of the owner’s income, or if it generates over 22,867.35 euros, then the gîte must be registered with the Register of Commerce.

Marketing your gite or b&b:

It is very important to decide how the gîte or b&b should be marketed. Your gite can be registered with a professional network such as the “Fédération Nationale des Gîtes de France” who offer advice and assistance service through their 95 departmental centers and award the label “Gîtes de France”.

The “Relais Départementaux” are organizations regulated by the law of 1 July 1901 which group together the owners of Gîtes de France accommodation in the department and, where necessary, the representatives of public bodies involved in Green Tourism such as Conseils Génaraux, Chambres d’Agriculture, Comités Départementaux du Tourisme, Directions Départementales de l’Agriculture.

The Gîtes de France organization can award you the “Gîte de France” label which guarantees the standards of comfort (from 1 to 5 stars) to your visitors and respect the national charter. All gîtes “Gîtes de France” are classed according to their environment, the level of comfort and the services provided. Each will be reassessed at least once every five years. Gîtes being considered as establishments open to the public (and classified as category 5).

Measures must be taken to conform to Health and Safety & Hygiene regulations, signage, and disabled access, etc. The local Town Hall (Mairie) must be contacted in order to request a visit by the Health and Safety civil servants and to obtain authorization from the Mayor to run the gîte.