4 tips on renovating your dream French property

The dream of restoring and owning a property in France has a long history. 


Ever since the early 19th century when wealthy Britons started to buy and build luxury property on France’s north coast, thousands of people have made the journey across the Channel.

Today, popularity in buying and renovating a property in France remains strong. However, before ‘taking the plunge’ it pays to do your research first! So, we are sharing with you a few tips and considerations if you are planning to undertake a renovation project. 

  1. How much does it cost to restore a property in France?
    This will obviously depend on the type of property; the materials you are using; whether you are doing some of the work yourself or using local artisans; the location – and other factors. A good ‘rule of thumb’ though is you’ll need to spend between 700€ to 1,200€ per m2 – to restore an uninhabitable property or to build an extension[1].  
  2. Will I need planning permission?
    If you are undertaking only internal renovations you do not need planning permission. However, if this work includes the installation of new windows, larger doorways or external alterations you’ll need to check the regulations to see if you need approval. This is called obtaining a permis de construire.
  3. DIY – or using local artisans
    It’s fair to say that many of us have different levels of skills when it comes to DIY... and unless you are experienced in building/construction projects, the chances are that you’ll need to use the skills and expertise of an experienced local artisan. In France, the concept of a general builder does not really exist – instead, there are specialist trades; for example, plomberie/électriciens; menuiseries; charpentes etc. 
  4. Obtaining quotations and guarantees
    Always obtain several quotations for work: a devis. Once signed, this is a binding commitment to undertake the work at the agreed price. French artisans carry insurance and any building work comes with a 10 year – décennale – guarantee.

These are just a few tips. Restoring and renovating a property in France is a big project – but can be fun and hugely rewarding, especially when the build is complete and you are enjoying your new life in France. 


First published: 20th September 2022