B&Bs for sale in France

One way to make your move to France self-financing is to buy a B&B or ‘Chambres d’Hôtes’ and let out rooms to paying guests.

Buying a B&B and looking after guests under your own roof can be a more demanding experience than buying a Gîte - where your guests will cater for themselves in separate accommodation. But if you’re a people person and not frightened of hard work this can be a rewarding business and some clients will become firm friends who return year after year. If you’re a good cook you could even offer ‘Table d’Hôtes’ and offer guests half or full board.

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The advantage of buying a B&B as a going concern is not only that you will generate an immediate income from existing bookings and return clients, but you will also be spared the bureaucracy and paperwork involved in starting a businesss from scratch.

The French Code du Tourisme sets the maximum number of B&B guest rooms at five, and the maximum number of guests at fifteen. Each room must have separate access to a bath or shower room and a WC. The owner/occupier must receive the guests, provide breakfast and ensure rooms are equipped with bed linen and towels. The price of each room must be clearly displayed and payment taken only on presentation of an invoice.

Register your French B&B at the Mairie (Town Hall) confirming your identity, your address, how many rooms you have, how many guests you can cater for and the dates you will be open for business. Not only will the Mairie add you to their list of all the local chambres d’hôtes, but they will advise you on matters such as insurance and the benefits of adhering to Gîtes de France who will classify and market your B&B in return for an annual subscription.

It is not compulsory to join Gîtes de France – and possibly not necessary if you are targetting only UK clients – but joining will certainly boost your number of French visitors. Gîtes de France will rate your B&B according to criteria ranging from architecture and setting to comfort and services. Their system uses ‘épis’ or ears of corn:

1 ear of corn: rooms are basic

2 ears of corn: rooms are comfortably appointed, each with at least one private shower room or bathroom.

3 ears of corn: rooms are well-appointed, each with private, fully-fitted bathroom (shower, bath, washbasin and toilet).

4 ears of corn: rooms are luxuriously appointed, each with private, fully-fitted bathroom within a residence with character and in a beautiful setting. Additional services may be available.

French Property Centre would advise you to contact Gîtes de France prior to their inspection and ask for a ‘grille de classification’ (a checklist) which will help you to see if you’re meeting the required standards; and if not, to do something about it. You only get one chance to create a first impression!

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