If You Need to Get the Artisans in

If You Need to Get the Artisans in . . . .

France has many competent work-men.  If they are serious, they should be registered and carry full insurance in case of disasters or future problems arising from their work. The law dictates that most work has to be guaranteed for 10 years and they need to be insured to cover that aspect. They should also have a “SIRET” number which proves that they are officially sanctioned. All workmen should give an estimate “Devis” which holds for three months. Keep all receipts for work done and purchases as these are essential should you ever sell your house as this can reduce capital gains tax.  Also ensure that you have taken out Dommage et Ouvrage insurance in addition to your household insurance in case of liability regarding accidents to workmen on your site. Although there are some general building firms,  these are not the norm and often work is supervised and co-ordinated by an architect or mâitre d’ouevre. 

Quick tip

Paint effects

Try out different paint effects to give your home a new look, try rag rolling, stippling or marbling. If you’re handy with a paint brush and eager to let your inner artist out, then consider painting a trompe l’oeil effect on a wall. Remember you could simply project an image onto a wall and paint around it – you don’t need to be a great artist to have a go at this. So get your paint brushes out and get creative.


The Law regarding Building and DIY

Electrical Tip

“Although at first glance lighting, sockets and off-peak heating in France may all appear familiar, closer investigation will reveal that the installation methods are different to those employed in the UK”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/electricity-in-your-french-house/id413215097?mt=11


Importantly before you do anything drastic to your property, remember that as in England and the Channel Islands, planning permission has to be sought.  Contact your local Marie for advice.  Planning applications will be published in your local gazette.  Respect your neighbours in any exterior decorations or changes – you might think your ideas unique and lovely but the thinking of your neighbours might be very different!  France does not approve of people “working on the black” and workmen not declaring their income and those employing them are breaking the law. Do not chop down trees without getting permission.  Also remember that there are strict noise control laws in France which permit noisy DIY, gardening work and loud car vacuuming etc during certain hours only – so loud banging, sawing and hammering is out of the question on a Sunday afternoon, evenings or early mornings or during the lunch hour!  


There are certain jobs that the home-owner may wish to carry out for himself or more frequently these days – herself! This section is to assist these people.

There are many D.I.Y. stores throughout France. If you need assistance you ask for a renseignment which means a meeting with an assistant.  Assistants are assigned to different areas i.e. one will deal with plumbing materials, another with paint. 

If you are buying items such as tiles or wood cut to size, the assistant will prepare a hand written invoice which  which you take to the checkout – caisse.

Channel Islanders returning to the islands with goods can ask for an export invoice – without TVA which is presented to the Customs Department at the port or airport on departure.  Customs who will stamp this and this is returned to the company in France.  As a precaution against non payment, the company will ask for a cheque made out to them for the TVA.  This will not be cashed but will be held until they receive the stamped invoice copy.

Some “very basic” DIY Vocabulary

Tap- Robinet     Plumbing fittings – Plomberie

Sink – Evier      Shower Tray – Bac    Bath – Bain

Shower – Douche     Plug –  Bouchon     Washer – Rondelle

Floor tiles – Carrelage     Wall tiles – Faience

Wooden flooring – Parquet     Gutter – Gouttière

Pipe – Tuyau     Glue – Colle     Cement – Ciment

Paint– Peint    Paint Brush – Pinceau     Handle – Poignée

Hook – Crochet     Nail – Clou     Screw – Vis

Hammer – Marteau     Saw – Scie     Screw Driver – Tournevis

Wood – Bois     Tongue and groove  –  Lambris

Work top – Plan de travail    

Height – Hauteur      Width – Largeur

Thickness – Epaisseur     Square Metre – Metre carré


By clicking on the names below you will be taken to their websites.  All have D.I.Y. – Garden Supplies Departments:

Brico Depot






Mr Bricolage




Cedeo – plumbing and heating materials

Lapeyre – kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, tiles, windows doors  etc.

Point P – general building supplies

These are just a few

DIY Tips

Want to add a personal touch to your home? Then get creative to add style that’s one of a kind to your home. Patchwork, knitting and crochet can all be used to add chic soft furnishings and accessories to your home, from cushions to throws and more. If you are new to crafting there’s lots of advice available online including helpful craft tutorials. Also take a make do and mend approach to upcycling existing pieces in your home with paint, decoupage or fabric.


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“If you elect to have off-peak (heures creuses) electricity, then EDF will provide you with wiring controlled by their equipment to switch your off-peak system on and off. The EDF off-peak equipment is usually a relay located beside their meter and fusegear. This relay is meant for the control circuit functions of your contactor (contacteur) or off-peak relay (jour/nuit) only. It must not be used to directly control equipment. The EDF relay is timed to operate in the usual manner at the predetermined off-peak times”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/electricity-in-your-french-house/id413215097?mt=11


We are a new website, we are still growing our content, we want everyone that is renovating in France to help us feature what we all wanted to know when we all started, contact us with all your experience and tips, we live just south of Celles Sur Belle, in Deux Servre, 79, and are just about to start out on our next renovation, every job we start on, every problem, product or skill we need to learn about i will try and find some useful information on the internet and share it with you, yes I could do this by sharing it on facebook, but the problem is it just helps facebook and disappears down the timeline, here links and articles will be searchable and here permanently for you to book mark and refer to, so watch this space … and if you have links and articles that have helped you let us know !!1

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