4. Business Professions and Activities in France

  1. Business Professions
  2. Regulated Activities
  3. Artisan Business Activities
  4. Profession Libérale Business Activities

4.2. Regulated Business Activities in France

Certain business activities in France are 'regulated', with controls on access into a profession, or activity.

Foremost of these activities are certain of the professions libérales, but numerous other business activities require appropriate authorisation before you can start the business.

In most cases the authorisation required may be little more than registration with the Chambre de Commerce/Metiers, or in some cases with the prefecture eg, estate agents, brocantes.

In other cases additional criteria may be needed, such as the absence of criminal convictions, the need for a licence, or the need for an appropriate qualification and/or experience.

These business activities include bars, restaurants and hotels, gîtes, camp sites and bed and breakfast establishments, estate agency, driving schools, travel agent, hairdressing, transport business, domestic home care services and security services.

However, do not assume that because they are 'regulated' it is difficult to get into these professions as the entry requirements and procedures vary.

Surprising as it may seem there is very little regulation on setting up in one of the building professions.

This does not necessarily mean you are allowed to do all aspects of work within that profession. Thus, a plumber could not legally fit gas appliances without appropriate French certification.

You also need to ensure that an insurer would be willing to offer you professional indemnity insurance.

Practice does vary between the Chambres de Metiers but, at most, provided you can demonstrate some basic level of certificated training, or at least three years experience in the relevant building trade, you can set yourself up in business.

If you hold appropriate qualifications, then you will normally be be asked to get them translated and certified by a professional translator, although under EU regulations strictly speaking you are not obliged to do this.

If you have no qualifications, you would be well advised to bring testimonials, (translated into French and certified by a professional translator), which you can provide to the Chambre at the time of your registration.

This paperwork may also be required by your insurer when you make application for your professional indemnity insurance, if it is required by your activity.

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