What are the rules of having a BBQ in France?

What are the rules of having a BBQ in France?
Photo: DmitryPoche/Depositphotos
As we head into summer BBQ season is approaching, but can you just light your charcoal and go in France, or are there rules to grilling?

The taste of barbecued food is something that we can’t get enough of, but having a BBQ does come with some problems especially if you live in a built-up area.

Helpfully, the French government releases seasonal BBQ advice.

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It says that there is no general BBQ law in France but potential grillers – especially those who live in towns and cities – should check several codes first.

The first is the rental contract for your home, some have clauses forbidding BBQs.

Then there’s the rules of the building if you live in an apartment block – some forbid BBQs and some restrict them to certain areas.

Finally there could be a town or municipal decree. Some areas – especially if there is a drought – will ban or restrict BBQs to avoid the danger of starting wildfires. Some clauses restrict charcoal BBQs and allow gas ones, and others restrict barbecuing to certain times. Check with your local mairie to see if there are restrictions where you live.

If you don’t have an outside space where you live, you could head to the park. Some parks offer BBQ spaces with permanent brick to do your grilling on. However, if these are offered then cooking must be kept to this area of the park only – it’s not an open invitation to light up wherever you feel like.

As in many countries, lighting a BBQ on moorland on grassland is strictly forbidden, because of the risk of starting wildfires.

So that’s trouble with the authorities covered, but what about trouble with the neighbours?

Well this appears to be a fairly common problem in France, so the government has released a guide on the various steps you should take if you are having a dispute with a neighbour over a BBQ. Essentially the advice is to try and resolve it with a friendly conversation if possible, but if not there are various steps you can take up to and including legal action.

The health rules don’t relate specifically to BBQs unless you are inviting more than 1,000 guests, in which case you will need to set up a health passport, but the general guidelines of social distancing and keeping gatherings small are good ones to follow in any case. 

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