We have not quite yet survived the bureaucratic bungling of setting up a restaurant in France, as we have just submitted to the mairie ten copies of an enormous dossier that needs to be presented to a load of different committees.
First a planning department to change the use of the building, (turns out that at some point after the restaurant last closed its doors in 1996, the building’s status was converted to domestic use, not commercial) then a department to make sure it is fit for public use, another meeting to look at all the fire and safety regulations and one to check out the handicap protocols. Oh, and don’t forget the historic monuments division - notoriously fussy - who have to have a peek too, because of the 700 year old castle across the road. Not that anything will be changing on the reams of plans and descriptions and forms to fill, since the last time there was major renovations in the 1950’s.
No one in local officialdom is able to say exactly when or what bits of paper need to come back from all these places, but whether their pronouncements affect the planned opening at the beginning of June we are yet to see.
Meanwhile, back to the fun stuff! Shopping on a budget to equip and enhance a derelict restaurant that had been part of the community for 60 years.
The fire department couldn’t tell me where I can buy the appropriate fire extinguishers, but the old owner has lent me some wonderful photos dating back to when his grandmother first opened the restaurant doors in 1938. I need to get the facts in order before I can recount the history, but the photos are going to look fabulous on the walls…
Rosie Paddon, Caterer and Events organiser both in France and abroad. www.partyinfrance.co.uk