Glutton for Punishment!

Never try to open a restaurant in France. No, seriously, don’t be so silly as to try it.

Unless the derelict former restaurant in your village that sits opposite a stunning château, which you have been coveting forever, finally comes up for sale at an affordable price. And you get offered – without asking – a chance to set up the restaurant part of a new adventure because you had passionately raved about a dream … then by all means be as unwise as I am, it may be gluttony for punishment, but it’s exciting.

Despite being self-employed for years, I had forgotten how much France really doesn’t want to make it easy to take that first step of getting yourself legally registered as a bona fide business. To be fair, there is a wealth of information and help available if you go looking. All the correct legal advice is out there. It’s complicated, oh yes it’s complicated. Nonetheless you can find it.

But here are some things that no one will tell you that may just help you survive:

– Whatever work sector you want to register for, there are several different government departments that look after you (Chambres de Commerce, Artisans, Agriculture, etc.) All will have several different people who will help you do several different things (finance, register, retrain, whatever). No one will know what their several different colleagues are doing. No one will know what their equivalent colleague in another chamber is doing. Even tho’ they do the same thing.

Ask all of them for information on what you are trying to do, because eventually you will get most of the answers. (Warning: you will still be missing some small vital piece of the puzzle!)

– Even if you have already researched a subject, done your homework or completed a dossier for one of these several different people, don’t tell them at first. They need to do the thing they are supposed to do. (Keep in mind, however, that many of them are good at what they do when they do do it.)

– If one department rejects your request for financial aid, always ask someone else , in another government-aided initiative (of which there are many), as they will probably send you back to the original department that said no in the first place, who will then be able to begin the process that sets up the meetings to discuss the dossiers… (I guess I was talking to the wrong several-different-people in the first place.)

– When you end up spending hours in the wrong department because someone sent you there (and you only found out that it was the wrong department because someone else asked someone in the next office a totally unrelated question…), don’t worry, you can often find out extra information; did you know that to make sandwiches or sell hot chips (ie takeaways), you need to do a complicated training course and have several qualifications, but if you cater for hundreds at weddings and want to open a public restaurant, it is ‘unregulated’ and you don’t need any qualifications at all? (And no need for the complicated training course too – result!)

– Also remember, it is not all a black art. At every step you will be told something very complicated, you will not be supposed to understand the process, and it will be very dramatic and mystical and you must pay for someone to do it properly, but try not to buy into the very French habit of making the simple into something much more complicated. Keep rather calm instead, and carry on being a glutton for punishment. Watch this space, it’s very exciting!



2015 - before renovation, watch this space!

2015 – before renovation, watch this space!

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About partyinfrance

Rosie Paddon offers bespoke planning for all unique events in France. Wedding planning and Rosieskitchen Catering services. Rosie Paddon is able to put over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry around the world to use in organising exceptional French Events. Her enthusiasm for the area – with its atmospheric architecture, the markets and love of food, and the diverse activities available, means that she can provide you with vital knowledge to help you plan your party, no matter what your budget. From hilltop castles, a local chapel with ancient frescoes, feasts in an enormous banqueting barn, or a romantic vine clad tower, your dream wedding, or any celebration, is possible. French Events at Partyinfrance is a bespoke service and every wedding or celebration is unique so do not hesitate to contact Rosie for individual help and advice. ‘Rosies Kitchen’ also offers a bespoke Personal Chef and Private Catering Service. Working with as many local suppliers as possible, they have provided meals from a romantic dinner for two, to weddings and village fetes for over 200. Rosie believes that a celebration meal can make or break a successful party and is especially enthusiastic about food! Although usually leaning towards a relaxed French fete atmosphere - Spit roasting or barbequing over an open fire pit is their speciality - there is often a personal element relative to a couple that can be incorporated into a menu. Personal menus are devised to suit the occasion & the numbers involved. They are also experienced in Vegetarian & Vegan, and dietary intolerant options. Rosies Kitchen lovely catering staff are a must for use at events too large for clients to handle on their own. This is also the perfect answer for stressed hosts who want to organise their own event, but can use the consulting service, and can let the team take over.

4 responses to “Glutton for Punishment!

  1. Karen

    Yes, quite a different process to home but we know you can do it. Just think of the memories you are making…have fun and good luck!


  2. Thanks Karen, pleeease come and visit! Rx


  3. Well, all I can say is that France should award you a medal, as you’re doing something for the local area and contributing to our life. So from me: un tres tres grand MERCI! And the very best of luck: I shall defo be supporting your venture every time I come down to this wonderful region.


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