Tuesday, 11 August 2009


We had a meeting with the mayor yesterday to talk about next steps.

You may remember, this is the mayor who told us that, if we bought the Shack and got permission to enlarge it, we could live next door to it in our yurts and have up to 20 people in yurts on the land next year. The mayor who, when I asked for that in writing, gave us her Parole.

Her word.

Her solemn oath.

So I was more than a little surprised when she told us yesterday that we couldn't live next door to the Shack in our yurts. That we had to show we were living in the Shack (external dimensions to be 7 x 3 metres when finished - which is something we can't currently afford to do anyway and winter is approaching fast). She told us, in fact, we couldn't live in yurts for more than eight months in a year. And that we couldn't have three yurts on our land for guests next year. She suggested putting up one yurt and, if no one says anything, putting the other two up in 2011. Problem is, we can't live on one yurt's income. We're already overdrawn (which is very inadvisable with a French bank). And we'll never raise the money for the showers and toilets if we can't pay the loan back.

The French word for this situation is translated as: Shit (hence the headline).


dND said...

I'm impressed you can write such a calm piece. Sounds like she's only just looked up the regulations. I do hope she comes up with a valid solution and that something gets sorted.

Surely you must come under campsite regulations and campsites can open all year (they might chose not to but I'm sure on the med coast they do). Have you tried posting questions about it on any of the forum sites? I occasionally use Total France; while I got confirmation of what people had told me, the relevant French office still refused - still that's all part of the 'fun'!

All the best and I really hope something gets sorted really soon.

devolutionary said...

Thanks Deborah. Looking back I think I may have asked the wrong question at the start of the meeting. I said: 'We want to find out what the next steps will be.' I assumed she had thought about it. I now think she hadn't. She leapt onto a computer and said: 'The nearest yurt camp is a Chambre d'hôte - you must be that.' She then phoned a friend and they decided we should be a Chambre d'hôte. Essentially, she came up with next steps for us in a reactive kind of way, instead of admitting she didn't know.

In her recommendation of opening one yurt next year, she also said: 'If I were you'. Which, plainly, she isn't. Doesn't change the fact that we're having a low energy day.

One thing that's already come out of it is that Her Outdoors has registered as an auto-entrepreneur seamstress and textile crafts person. As if we didn't have enough to do...

Kalba Meadows said...

Well, all I can say is that she hasn't got a clue, your maire, has she? Sounds like she's making up the rules as she goes along. Which doesn't help you one bit. She said, putting it mildly. One of the things that can be really hard to cope with here is how much power the maires have got, especially when (often the case in small communes) it comes without any real understanding or knowledge ...

I assume that you already know about the various forums and sites here which pick apart the thorny issue of putting up yurts, and in particular living in them? (If not let me know and I'll raid my bookmarks). There are lots of really helpful people out there. We were originally going to put up a yurt on our land here for guests and so did a lot of exploring round the whole thing - in the end we decided not to go ahead so never got round to doing the permission bit. I'm in Ariege (Pyrenees), where huge numbers of people live in yurts, tipis, benders and so on, largely hidden away up in the high valleys, but surprisingly it's one department that doesn't (yet) have yurt tourism.

Hang on in there. I won't say good luck because I think you need a bit more than that, but you know what I mean.


devolutionary said...

Hi Kalba, thank you and welcome. Moving to the Pyrenees was one of the ideas Her Outdoors had the other morning, coincidentally enough, during an 'all options' moment.

We're moving forward on the basis that the mayor had forgotten about the legislation (from the CCI, I think) that you can have up to 20 people camping on your land with nothing more than a declaration in the Mairie. I need to see the CCI very soon anyway to fulfill my contract with the Pole Emploi (I'm a chomeur these days) and we have to put a dossier together for that. I suspect having the dossier will help smooth the path for many bureaucrats, but we've been in resistance to putting it together for years.

Which brings me to my next point: I'd love to have your yurt links. We've been off the grid for months and busy cleaning 12.5 acres, growing veg, building animal houses and all the rest. You can send them to the ecovallee e-ddress or stick them up here for the world to enjoy.

Hope to hear from you again.