Reader question: Can we park our caravan on our own land all year round?
In theory, you can only leave a caravan parked on your land for three months in a calendar year without needing to get authorisation from your local mairie.
The rules concerning caravan parking come under the code de l’urbanisme.
The three-month period does not have to be consecutive – you can park for a month, go away, then return to park for another two months in that year, for example.
These rules are designed to stop the abusive parking of caravans, as happened in the country, especially along the coast, during the 1950s and 1960s.
Enforcement is the duty of the mayor and, in practice, if your caravan is not causing any trouble and is not spoiling the view, it is unlikely that you will have any trouble.
However, to be on the right side of the law, if you intend to park a caravan for longer than three months, you should apply for permission.
It is preferable to talk to the mairie before you do, so you are aware of any local bylaws or other factors which could cause difficulties with an application.
These could include the proposed parking area being in a zone at risk of flooding, for example. A form, cerfa 13404, needs to be filled in – it can be found on the service-public.fr website.
It is the same form used for a déclaration préalable of building work which does not need planning permission, and includes on page three a box to tick for caravans.
If you do not hear to the contrary from the mairie in one month, the application has been tacitly accepted.
Note that a caravan must still have its wheels and not be fixed to the ground in any way and should not be used as an annexe to your home.