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Renovating a house in France

October 1, 2010

I remember when I lived in the UK, I heard people say that it’s difficult to renovate a house in France if you are british – they have the “prix anglais”, and everything takes so much longer because you’re not french. Well I can tell you, it’s still difficult if you are french!

My french husband is having some work done to our house, and it’s taking an eternity to arrange. There are no problems with the language barrier of course, but the endless waiting for approvals of various sorts from the mairie and other authorities is as real for him as it would be for english people. The only difference is that french people tend to accept all this as a fact of life. And so it is- but I can’t help thinking that if the french people had stood their ground more often in the past, the administration here wouldn’t be so tortuous as it is today!

Having work done on a house is as expensive here as it would be in the UK, too. From what I’ve seen so far though, the quality is good. Furthermore, when you have finished, you will still have more space, and fewer cars on the roads nearby, in Brittany than you would have in, say, Devon.

Overall my message is DO learn french, it will make things easier. However, if you do work on a house here and you find things hard, realise that it wouldn’t be much easier even if you were french!

I haven’t given much detail – because I don’t want to bore people, and also because I’d have to go and find the facts and figures in my husband’s files! If anyone wants any specific info, please shout and I’ll see what I can do!

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