If you’re going away over the next few months and leaving the house empty, it’s worth visiting www.gendarmerie.interieur.gouv.fr and clicking on the section Operation-tranquillite-vacances.

Along with advice on keeping your property safe during your absence, there is a downloadable pdf form (OTV Demande individuelle 2012.pdf) to fill in and take to your local gendarmerie, with contact details of a local key holder or yourself.

They will then carry out regular checks on your property in your absence. In case of the worst, do check your insurance policy – most French companies will not pay out unless you have receipts, photos, keep valuables in a safe… …even though there may often be no indication of this on your policy.

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