Purchasing Campsites in France – Guide

Purchasing Campsite Information

purchasing campsite in mountain valleyAre you are thinking of buying land for use as a campsite? Here’s some helpful information about the purchase and operation of a campsite.

This information is gleaned from Inter-France who provide services for those who intend purchasing campsite property or land for the purpose. The services are available to anyone who has found himself a prospect and will proceed to purchase. Have you found a suitable property? Visit their page ADVICE FOR PURCHASE.

There is much to consider before purchasing campsites or buying land with the intention of opening a camping ground in France.

Kind of campgrounds
“Murs” and “Fonds de Commerce”
Mobile Homes and Chalets
Setting up a new site
Purchase Process

Kinds of campgrounds

Nature Camp

A “Camping Rural” is located in the immediate vicinity of the owner’s house, in a rural or natural environment. There are about 1,100 of such nature sites in France. Sometimes, depending on the location, operating a campsite can be combined with Cottages and Bed and breakfast, which allows for the operation a slightly wider base can be obtained. Just named as the “tourist” sites is there from umbrella organizations classification in one Up to 5 stars, but for this type of land, the stars are not “étoile”, but “épis” (ears).

Camping à la Ferme

A “Camping à la Ferme” has up six places and offers capacity for up to 20 people. Each pitch has a minimum area of ​​300 m2 and the distance to sanitation is a maximum of 100 meters. A camping à la ferme allowed only two months a year are open and there are restrictions, are thus no mobile homes instance may set.

Aire Naturelle de Camping

When entering the new star ranking in 2012 Aire Naturelle was beaten initially. In 2014, this restored by supplementing the legislation and has also increased the maximum number of places from 25 to 30. An important consequence of the new regulations is that the Aire Naturelle is eligible for classification. This can be interesting for the operator, because it then can use a reduced VAT rate, making the tax burden be lightened considerably. For the Aire Naturelle subject to a number of conditions, including the maximum number of places, land surface up to one hectare size of the place at least 300 m2, annual reclassification of the post to preserve the natural vegetation and an opening period up to six months a year, after which the site should be restored to their natural state. In addition, a number of specific requirements in order to be eligible for classification. A problem in practice often arises is that the owner of Aire Naturelle, often without being aware of it, did not comply with certain mandatory formalities during the construction and opening of the premises. In that case, it is important that prior to the purchase will be seen if this situation can be repaired. When buying an Aire Naturelle expert advice essential to make sure you acquire a property that is perhaps not exploited in the future. Inter-France all the knowledge and resources in-house to be of service.

Camping “Tourism” or “Loisirs”

A “camping-caravaning” must have an official permit from the prefecture in which the number of places, any star class ring and the term “Tourist” or “Loisirs” is mentioned, which indicates whether a site with mainly places for tourists concerns (“Tourism”) or that there are almost exclusively fixed places (“Loisirs”) that are occupied by the same tenant during the entire opening period. For a star class ring must be paid to all kinds of standards and rules regarding the facilities, layout of the premises, facilities, sanitation, hygiene and safety. The presence of a swimming pool is also subject to strict regulations.

Residential Leisure

A Residential Leisure Park (PRL) is a camping area where at least 35 chalets (up to 35m2) or mobile homes are placed. The sites can be rented, but can also be sold as property, then the purchaser himself a chalet or mobile home can put on. There are provisions concerning the number of places, the percentage of land area for community facilities, the area of ​​land or sites and regarding the maximum number of people can stay on the property.

“Murs” and “Fonds de Commerce”

When buying a camping or other business activity distinguishes between the acquisition of the property, the “Murs” and the transfer of a “Fund” or “Fonds de Commerce”. A Fonds de Commerce is comparable to the term used in the Netherlands’ goodwill and inventory. ” Often a campsite “Murs et Fonds’ offer and is thus transferred both the property and the business activity. If only a “Fonds de Commerce”, you are being offered not the owner of the land and the fixed structures (note: chalets to 35 m2 usually are amongst the transfer of a Fonds de Commerce, and not that of immovable property, so these are usually included in the purchase of a Fonds de Commerce). The property will then be the subject of a lease and there will be an annual rental fee must be paid. Often there is for the tenant a first right to purchase to provide the property and in some cases, before a purchase option agreed to an already determined price. Thus a transfer of a Fonds de Commerce includes goodwill, inventory and business as entitled to an existing lease, transfer of alcohol and operating licenses, phone, website, domain name and other rights, but also the acquisition of a number of obligations. It is therefore very important that you seek expert guidance, that is uniquely mapped out exactly what you are taking on and also the joys and burdens which you do and do not want to accept!

Permits, Standards and star class ring

The key permits for the operation of a camp, the operating license and the various liquor licenses. Below an overview.

Operating license

There is in France a new legislation regarding the star classification. This means that since July 2012 all existing ratings lapse and all campsites in France were re-classified in categories 1 t / m 5 stars. Grading is not mandatory, but for a campsite without stars applicable tax disadvantages that waiving rankings make it very unattractive. The new system of classification consists of a complex assessment of more than 200 points, which to a large extent required to be paid. Inter-France is in possession of all regulations, standards tables and comprehensive information on this subject and we will send to you on request gladly.
There are some campsites offered without stars derating or campsites, threatening a downgrade, this should during the purchase process in the right way to deal with it in order to prevent future problems for the new owner. Inter-France can assist you with this stand and deed.

Liquor Permits

Besides an operating license for a campsite as described above it is likely that more than non alcoholic beverages will be sold or provided. To do this requires that the operator have a liquor license, a “Licence de débit de boissons” A distinction is made between serving drinks as part of a meal (“Licence Restaurant”) or as consumption without being when eaten. Sometimes campsites offered with a liquor license where further research indicates that it only concerns a license for provision of drinks as part of a meal. A baguette is not considered a full meal and are sold on the basis of such authorization should be no drink other than at a full (!) Meal.


In France it is required that the new holder of duck branch license has been trained, and the “Permis d’exploitation” is obtained This is a course which should be followed for 3 days at a designated institution. Please seek more detailed information on this subject.

In addition to the above authorizations and standards, there are all kinds of requirements that a site has to meet, for example in the field of hygiene, safety and accessibility for the disabled. Upon the acquisition of a site is of importance that is given to compliance and any complaints or closure threats that may be transmitted to the campsite owner attention in the contracts properly. Expert guidance is indispensable.

Mobile Homes and Chalets

At most sites, allowed 80 to 100% of the number of places are provided with mobile homes, provided that it is provided with those elements which are characteristic of “mobility”, such as wheels, a drawbar, lighting and brake system, and the movement is not impeded by, for example, a conversion or permanently attached terraces. The surface should not be greater than 35m2, some models are allowed up to 40 m2. There are a number of cases where restrictions exist for the placement of mobile homes or the number which may be located, for example, if a property is in a flood-prone area or if there are special laws or municipal provisions allowing placement of mobile homes is limited.
An important concept is the “Légère Habitation de Loisirs,” the HLL. Many chalets are covered by this qualification. A H.L.L. has a living space of 35m2 and maximum allowed on a campsite “Tourism” will be placed in most cases 20% of the seats. The placement of an H. L. L. needs to be applied for planning permission. In some municipalities restrictions may apply.

The gross profit amount is available for payment of interest and repayment of financing, income taxes (corporate income tax) and contingency.

If camping in the above example would be offered for sale, the asking price would be determined on the basis of: The value of the fonds de commerce (goodwill and inventory / material) to be estimated in the above example 350 000 à 450 000 Euro. Plus the appraised value of the property. The purchase price of the site in this example would be approximately 850,000 Euros with a funding opportunity of approximately 425 000 (50% of the purchase price). On own capital contribution in that case would have to be invested an amount of 425 000 Euro for payment of the purchase price, plus a sum for acquisition costs and start-up capital equivalent to at least 75 000 Euro in total would therefore in this example an equity capital of about 500 000 euro must be at least available.


If not purchasing campsite ready to operate but buying land for the purpose:

Setting up a new site

The purchase of a property with the intention of starting a new camp set up is a very complex and capital-intensive affair, which in most cases will not obtain any kind of bank financing. Even if there is already permission is obtained to realize a campsite and in execution of the work met all conditions of the planning permission is to be judged the case after completion of the work by a committee representing all disciplines are represented and the assessment of which can be unpredictable are, because they are often motivated by the subjective views of judging people or by local circumstances. Thus it happens that in spite of issued permits the opening of a new camp is hampered by all kinds of new requirements, which partly result from a trend towards tighter regulation. All in all, a process which the conduct and outcome of surprises may be subject to major (financial) consequences. For those who like itself develops and improves it is therefore often a more interesting option to look for a site with a (valid) operating but with a backward turnover or less good condition.

Purchase Process

The process of purchasing a camping is a highly specialized discipline, in which attention should be given to licensing, regulation, whether or not there is aanschrijvingen or obligations to perform work and also the joys which they gladly will take and the charges which one would rather not get transferred. It is therefore important to provide you with expert guidance from the beginning. Inter-France has many years of experience and extensive expertise to guide your purchase smoothly.


Chalabre is located in the department of Aude, in the Hers-Vif Valley, at the confluence of the river and two tributaries of the right bank: the Blau, which also passes Puivert, and Chalabreil, which may have given the village its name.

History of Chalabre

The village was founded in the nineteenth century and the land belongs to the house Trencavel. After the crusade against the Albigensians, land is bequeathed to Pons de Bruyeres, a family came in Languedoc with Guy de Lévis and Pierre de Voisins, after Simon de Montfort they were allies and neighboring lands Montfort Amaury in the Isle of France. His descendants were the lords, barons and Marquis de Chalabre and are studied in detail in the page dedicated to this family in the armorial Pays d’Oc searchable by lien1. In 1279, the village experiencing significant flooding. In 1350, the walls are finished and form a complete fortification around the village. The city center is a country house of the thirteenth century.

The weekly market

Le marché hebdomadaire

Under cover, Place Espérance Folchet, on Saturday morning.
Wonderful fruits and vegetables can be bought there, fresh eggs, poultry and other mouth-watering delicacies from local producers or nearby.
An mobie butcher is included, a wine merchant, a “pizza” truck as well as clothing for women and men.
A haberdasher and a bazaar complete this activity every 15 days.

Tourism in the area

Chalabre is located at a strategic tourist hub, near the Pyrenees with his family ski resorts, one hour from the Mediterranean beaches or Spain. But there are many sites and nearby places to visit.



www.camon09.org camon

La cathédrale de MIREPOIX

www.mirepoix.fr mirepoix

La cité de Carcassonne


The green way ‘La voie verte’

Association Traverse119

Le Château de Chalabre


Le Château de FOIX


Le château de Puivert


Le Labyrinthe de Nébias


Le lac de Montbel





The imaginative museum and sensitive museum that evokes the daily life of the past Quercorb and opens a window on medieval music, from the troubadours to the ars nova.

16 rue Barry du Lion
11230 Puivert

04 68 20 80 98


Parc de Jeux Gonflables de Montbel

Games Park Inflatables Montbel

Family fun at the lake for young and old
Inflatable games – € 5 / child
Pancakes – pancakes – Salads – Sandwiches – Paninis – Snack – Kebab – Buvette – Windows – Waffles
Canoe Rental & electric boats

May / June / September / October
Weekend – Holidays – RTT
Everyday from 11am to 21h

July / August / School Holidays
Everyday from 11am to 21h
06 08 77 28 76

Aude Pyrenees


Randonnée pour VTT
Hiking ATV


Sentiers de randonnée pédestre

Hiking trails



Land of the Cathars



Activities Overview

History, Sport and More Activities in the Aude.

vinyard near LimouxThe Aude together with the Ariège, is in the region known as Languedoc Roussillon in the south of France also known as the Cathar Country. The Languedoc in general is unspoilt and has a great deal to offer for curious and adventurous visitors. The area ful of history and stunning ever-changing scenery. Exploring the area is a joy and full of variety and surprises.


There are the amazing Cathar Castles to visit as well as Caves and Chateaux. Interesting attractive villages abound, along with ancient cities, deep gorges and high mountains. There are coastal areas and nature parks to be enjoyed and Local Food and Wine will tempt you when want to rest – and the Markets and Festivals never cease to draw you in.


market mirepoixA freat example is the Medieval Bastide of Mirepoix, a beautiful walled town with 14th century cloisters, cathedral and market, just a short drive away and about 60km via Limoux is the Cité of Carcassonne with its medieval centre – reminiscent of fantasy castles. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997.


For those who love outdoor activities, as well as the seaside, you can go lake swimming at Lac Montbel or in the lake beneath the castle at Puivert . You can go walking and hiking at numerous locations and even daytrips to the mountains are well worth the trip. Popular amongst people of every age, there’s horse riding and cycling – even karting or parachute jumping!


tree-roadCycling is a dream here – every cyclist I know finds it fantastic here with the low traffic volume and the beautiful scenery. For fans of the Tour de France, the race has visited the area several times; the last one came through on 16th July 2013


Whatever your preference you will be sure to find activites wherevever you are in the aude to suit your taste.


Video – Advice on buying property abroad

Video from Buy Association and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

This is an essential guide for property buyers in France. It is strongly advised to watch this advice on buying property abroad before jumping in!


Key information that people need to know before buying a home overseas is given in this video. First-hand advice on buying property abroad is given byFCO staff and industry experts. These include estate agents and overseas property lawyers, foreign exchange companies and lettings agencies.

Also taking part are a number of British people who have already purchased a property abroad to share insight and advice based on their own personal experiences. Topics including mortgages, property lets, foreign exchange, tax, legal advice, and general administration are discussed.

Succession Tax in France

Whether you live in France or have a holiday home,

taxYou need to know about succession tax in France.

This article by Blevins Franks, international tax and wealth management advisers, explains the intricacies of these tax rules.

If you move to live in France, you will escape UK inheritance tax but will be faced with the French equivalent instead – succession tax. It works differently than in the UK, but this does not necessarily mean your heirs will be better off. The rules are more complicated and you need to familiarise yourself with how it works and consider what steps you can take to reduce your tax liability.

If you buy property in France but remain resident in the UK, you need to understand how the tax rules of the two countries interact and where tax will be due.

Succession tax – the basic rules

French succession tax is a tax on inheritance and lifetime gifts. If you are a French domicile (a concept similar to residence in France), you are liable to the tax on your worldwide assets.

Any assets you own in France are always subject to this tax, regardless of whether you or the recipient lives there.

In the UK, inheritance tax is charged on your estate. In France, succession tax is calculated on and paid by each individual beneficiary. The tax rates and allowances vary according to who the beneficiary is. The rates range from 5% right up to 60% and some exemptions can be very low.

Transfers between spouses and civil partners (Pacte Civil de Solidarité – PACS) are tax free. However, lifetime gifts to spouses and partners are liable to succession tax.

The value of your main home can be reduced by 20% for succession tax purposes, but only if it is occupied as a main home by your surviving spouse/partner or by one of your children. Succession tax should generally be paid within six months of death.

Tax rates

The tax rates for children (including adopted, but not stepchildren) and other relatives in the direct line start at 5% for inheritances under €8,072 and rise progressively to 45% for inheritances over €1,805,677. The same rates apply to spouses/partners in the case of gifts.

Under the current rules, your children will each receive a tax free allowance of €100,000 (reduced last year from €159,325). If you make a lifetime gift to your spouse/partner, they receive an allowance of €80,724.

If you leave assets to a brother or sister, they will pay succession tax at either 35% or 45%, depending on the amount. Their tax free allowance is just €15,932.

There is an exception for siblings who have been living with you for the last five years and are either over 50 or unable to work because of a disability. In this case they benefit according to the same rules as those for spouses.

Relatives to the fourth degree pay tax at 55%, with nephews and nieces receiving a €7,967 allowance.

More distant and non-relatives will lose 60% of their inheritance to tax, and their tax-free exemption is a mere €1,594. Unmarried partners who have not entered into a PACS arrangement, stepchildren and godchildren are all classed as non-relatives.

New EU succession law

The higher tax rates for distant relatives have been academic for many people. France’s strict succession law favours your children first, then your surviving spouse, so there has been limited possibility to leave assets to siblings, godchildren, friends etc, even if you wanted to.

This will change from August 2015, when a new EU regulation will allow you to elect, via your will, for the laws of your country of nationality to apply. British expatriates in France will be able to distribute their wealth under the provisions of British law, and so to whomever they wish.

Note that this only applies to succession law. It does not apply to succession tax. You cannot opt for UK inheritance tax to apply instead of succession tax.

There is one important tax impact you need to consider though. If you leave assets to relatives beyond the direct line, or non-relatives, they will have to pay very high tax rates, up to 60%, as outlined above, unless you plan to protect them from this tax.

UK/France double tax treaty

Under the UK/France Double Tax Treaty, long-term French residents are deemed to be domiciled in France for UK inheritance tax purposes. Therefore, if you are resident in France when you die, your worldwide estate will be taxable in France, not in the UK.

The exception is for any assets you own in the UK, since these are always liable to UK inheritance tax. On your death, these assets will be assessed in the UK to see if you have any liability to tax there. If you do, the UK tax paid can be credited against the French succession tax due on your total assets. If no tax is due in the UK, then succession tax is payable only in France.

If you are a UK resident, your French property will be subject to French succession tax under the rules and rates outlined above. It will also form part of your estate for UK inheritance tax purposes, but your heirs will be entitled to a credit for the French tax paid on the asset to avoid double taxation.

Succession tax planning

Succession tax planning is extremely important if you want to ensure your heirs get to keep as much of their inheritance as possible, rather than having to share too much with the taxman. Professional advice and planning can make a significant difference.

For example, assets held within an assurance vie benefit from succession tax savings if the policy was established with lives assured under age 70. The subscriber need not be a French resident, so you can set up the policy before you to move to France, or to cover assets held in France if you are non-resident.

French taxation is always complicated, more so if you have assets in more than one county, and it is important to seek specialist advice. If you have not yet moved to France, do not wait until you do. It usually pays to start planning early and to make sure you get your tax planning right from the outset, so seek specialist advice now.

The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual should take personalised advice.