When you move to France, your local Mairie or town hall will be your first port of call. Town halls in France serve a slightly different purpose to those in the UK and are far more instrumental in town or village life. Here are the main things that you should use yours for.


When you first move in, you may need local contacts for a variety of purposes. Do you need some work done in your garden or aren’t sure when the bin collection takes place? You can usually head to your local Mairie with these kinds of questions and they’ll point you in the right direction. In smaller towns or villages, the Mayor is usually someone who has grown up in the area, so they’ll be a font of knowledge for any questions that you may have.

Raising local issues

Perhaps there’s been a small dispute between you and your neighbour about something to do with your property. Before you do anything, it’s a great idea to take some advice from your Mairie. They’ll probably know more about your neighbours than you do, especially when you first move in, and will be able to provide guidance.

Similarly, regular meetings are usually held about utilities such as water, gas and electricity. Any problems with these, or other maintenance issues in the area, should be raised at the town hall. You’ll usually get the answers you’re looking for!

Social activities

When you move into the area for the first time, you may want to get involved in some social events and activities to keep you occupied and meet the locals. If there’s a specific hobby that you want to pursue, ask about this and you will be pointed in the right direction.

The Mairie is usually home to a ‘Comite de Fete’, a group that plans village events. So, if you really want to get stuck into town or village life, then why not sign up? You’ll meet with a variety of people and will soon get to know about all of the exciting things that are happening in the area.

Renovating your property

When you move in, you may wish to make certain renovations to the outside of your property or garden. It’s best to check in with your local Mairie before going ahead with this – you will often need planning permission or acceptance from the town hall, sometimes for the smallest modifications. It’s best to become au fait with the rules as soon as you move in to avoid any complications further down the line.

If you would like further advice on the selling process in France, download your free France Guide.

Why not split the cost and double the fun of owning a holiday home in France by buying with family or friends? Read our guide to Buying Abroad with Family.

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