Permitting in Paris

Following the recent launch of our international insights map, we interviewed Carole Netzer, a director at Hyphen, about her experience of permitting in her home city of Paris

Q: How does Paris compare with the rest of France? 

A: When applying for permits, Paris shares the same timeline and conditions as other cities in France. The key difference is the location and whether or not a site is located in an area of historic interest. Like many cities in France, Paris is home to a lot of conservation areas which means additional planning controls. Therefore, any issues and complications that may arise are usually connected to heritage (rather than the city itself).

There is also a lot of administrative work, politics and discussions to be had with the city and this is true for every department. As a result, there are a great deal of pre-agreements and negotiations involved.

Q: In your experience, do you feel that France is more or less bureaucratic than the rest of Europe?

A: I’m not sure if any other country in Europe is as bureaucratic as we are! This isn’t specific to permits, I think it’s because of how we deal with administration on the whole.

Q: Can you recall a situation which gave you great satisfaction for overcoming a challenging permitting situation in Paris?

A: Perhaps, the most challenging and satisfying project we’ve worked on in relation to permitting was in Rue Saint-Honoré and this was because it’s such a famous retail destination – requiring a lot of pre-authorisation from the city. We also encountered some complications with the landlord. Consequently, it was really difficult to obtain the permit and the only way to overcome this was with a lot of patience and careful negotiation – which all paid off in the end.

Permits can be difficult to obtain for any number of reasons; however, I’m pleased to say that we have always secured what we needed to and sometimes it just takes a bit longer – depending on the location!

Looking for your next project location? Visit our interactive map for tips and insights into local planning regulations, in over 20 countries across Europe!