Channel France

& Gites & More 

D.I.Y. - "Bricolage"


About this site





Channel Islands :







If You Need to Get the Artisans in . . . .

France has many competent work-men.  If they are serious, they should be registered and carry full insurance in case of disasters or future problems arising from their work. The law dictates that most work has to be guaranteed for 10 years and they need to be insured to cover that aspect. They should also have a "SIRET" number which proves that they are officially sanctioned. All workmen should give an estimate "Devis" which holds for three months. Keep all receipts for work done and purchases as these are essential should you ever sell your house as this can reduce capital gains tax.  Also ensure that you have taken out Dommage et Ouvrage insurance in addition to your household insurance in case of liability regarding accidents to workmen on your site. Although there are some general building firms,  these are not the norm and often work is supervised and co-ordinated by an architect or mâitre d'ouevre. 


Importantly before you do anything drastic to your property, remember that as in England and the Channel Islands, planning permission has to be sought.  Contact your local Marie for advice.  Planning applications will be published in your local gazette.  Respect your neighbours in any exterior decorations or changes - you might think your ideas unique and lovely but the thinking of your neighbours might be very different!  France does not approve of people "working on the black" and workmen not declaring their income and those employing them are breaking the law. Do not chop down trees without getting permission.  Also remember that there are strict noise control laws in France which permit noisy DIY, gardening work and loud car vacuuming etc during certain hours only - so loud banging, sawing and hammering is out of the question on a Sunday afternoon, evenings, early mornings or during the lunch time!  



There are certain jobs that the home-owner may wish to carry out for himself or more frequently these days - herself! This section is to assist these people.


There are many D.I.Y. stores throughout France. If you need assistance you ask for a renseignment which means a meeting with an assistant.  Assistants are assigned to different areas i.e. one will deal with plumbing materials, another with paint. 


If you are buying items such as tiles or wood cut to size, the assistant will prepare a hand written invoice which  which you take to the checkout - caisse.


Channel Islanders returning to the islands with goods can ask for an export invoice - without TVA which is presented to the Customs Department at the port or airport on departure.  Customs who will stamp this and this is returned to the company in France.  As a precaution against non payment, the company will ask for a cheque made out to them for the TVA.  This will not be cashed but will be held until they receive the stamped invoice copy.


Some "very basic" DIY Vocabulary


Tap- Robinet     Plumbing fittings - Plomberie

Sink - Evier      Shower Tray - Bac    Bath - Bain

Shower - Douche     Plug -  Bouchon     Washer - Rondelle

Floor tiles - Carrelage     Wall tiles - Faience

Wooden flooring - Parquet     Gutter - Gouttière

Pipe - Tuyau     Glue - Colle     Cement - Ciment

Paint- Peint    Paint Brush - Pinceau     Handle - Poignée

Hook - Crochet     Nail - Clou     Screw - Vis

Hammer - Marteau     Saw - Scie     Screw Driver - Tournevis

Wood - Bois     Tongue and groove  -  Lambris

Work top - Plan de travail    

Height - Hauteur      Width - Largeur

Thickness - Epaisseur     Square Metre - Metre carré



Some of the building supply stores: and by clicking on the names below you will be taken to their websites. 


Brico Depot






Leroy Merlin

Mr Bricolage

Cedeo - plumbing and heating materials

Lapeyre - kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, tiles, windows doors  etc.

Point P - general building supplies