Which type of business system to open in France?

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My partner and I are setting up a business in France. It is a small luxury camping business with only three sites that offers cycle touring also. Alongside this we will be developing a smallholding business with an aspiration to sell our products to guests and at market. Many years down the line (approximately five to ten), we also hope to run residential camps for school children who are struggling in school due to domestic not academic reasons to come and stay in order to help their development.

  1. Should we set up as a micro-entrepreneur or SARL business? We have a lot of large initial outgoings for work being done on the property and purchases and were wondering if being VAT registered would be of benefit to us?
  2. The business will be based on our own privately owned property, but we would like a clear separation between the business and us in legal terms, how can we achieve this?
  3. We were advised by our local chamber of commerce that we do not need to register as a business at all as we are small enough to be a civil activity under the approval of the Mairie, is this correct? And is this advisable?
  4. How would we go about registering our business name in France?
  5. For the future residential camps we are thinking of having these run as a charity, is there anything we need to do now to prepare for that?
  6. We both own properties in the UK that we rent out so currently complete a self assessment tax return there, would we need to complete this for France also with our UK properties? And vice versa for our French income?
  7. Are there any grants or places we can go for funding our business in order to help us develop the business with particular reference to making it green, i.e. solar panel for bathrooms, electric vehicle for airport transfers?
  8. Can you recommend a particular provider for our business banking needs?
  9. What sort of public liability insurance would we require?
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