How to register a business to sell on French markets

By Valérie Aston on 20 May 2009 · Viewed 11588 times · Questions

In order to sell on French markets you will need to get a carte de commerçant ambulant from the sous préfecture and register your business with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. So how do you go about getting this card?

  1. Contact your local préfecture or sous-préfecture and ask for a carte de commerçant ambulant. A temporary certificate entitled attestation provisoire, valid for 30 days will be delivered to you.
  2. On reception of your temporary certificate, go and register your business at the Centre de Formalités des Entreprises at the Chambre du Commerce et d’Industrie. The extrait KBIS, official document confirming the creation of your company, will be posted to you within 10 days.
  3. Go back to the préfecture with your extrait KBIS and attestation provisoire in order to request your final carte de commerçant ambulant which will be valid for 2 years.
  4. Renew your carte de commerçant ambulant every 2 years at the préfecture.

In order to get a spot in your local market, you will need to get in touch with the placier at the mairie. This person is responsible for managing all existing sellers, allocating new spaces and dealing with potential issues. Get in touch with him in the first place, to ensure that there is still some space available. Some markets refuse to take new sellers, if there already are several traders with the same activity. A market spot is charged anything between 1 to 5 euros per meter.

This card is free for now. A new law has been voted, which will enable the Centre de Fomalites des Entreprises at the Chamber of Commerce to manage the card in the future. However the new law will not be effective until the arrete is published, probably by the end of the year.

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.