Responsibility for pavements when it snows in France

We have had our first snow of the winter and a neighbour has told me that I should make sure I clear snow off the pavement in front of my house. Is that not the mairie’s job? F.S.

24 January 2018

Many councils have it written in their arrêtés municipaux obliging residents to clear snow – plus slippery leaves or fallen fruit in season – off the pavement as far as the gutter and should scatter sand or ashes on sections likely to ice up.

You should check with the mairie and, if you live in a mountain area, see if you also need anti-slide devices on the roof to stop snow falling onto passers-by... and to break off any icicles that could do the same.

There is no general law imposing snow clearing but the majority of towns have arrêtés municipaux making owners and tenants responsible for keeping pavements safe and clear all along the frontage of their property.

In addition, the ‘template’ for departmental health regulations has an article saying householders’ private paths should be cleared and that snow should not be pushed into the gutter.

Holiday home owners may need to call on a neighbour or pay someone to do it. Failure to clear snow can lead to a €38 fine.

If you have not cleared the snow and someone slips and falls, you may face a damages claim but your contrat d’assurance responsabilité civile insurance may give cover.


Question answered by Sarah Bright-Thomas of Bright Avocats

Tel: 05 61 57 90 86 -

If you have a legal query send it to

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