Earning a Living

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Hi good evening

Does anybody know if you are allowed to trade with a traditional english  ice cream van in france.If you can sell ice cream from a van, do the french sell ice cream from vans or is ice cream only sold from an ice cream shop or supermarket.Also would anybody happen to know if you can openly trade in the streets for free like in england or do you need to purchase a permit / licence via the local maire if for instance a pitch was required for a sea front location or tourist locaton or even a flower show or a fete or even a festival etc.

Look forward to your replies.

Thank you


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I don't think there are many people here with French food retailing experience, especially in ice cream (eating being another matter). However, I know that there are mobile pizza vans and a few travelling chippies in France, so ice cream isn't necessarily a problem. That said, there could be all sorts of hygiene rules but if you have UK experience these would probably not be a problem.

I'd suggest that you should start by asking at the mairie in the area you're looking at targeting. They should be able to point you at the appropriate registration authority.

By the way, it helps if you say roughly where you are (now or planning to be) plus how much experience of your chosen career and of France you have. Otherwise people start guessing and the thread can wander off into hypothetical discussions.

Finally, your market will probably depend on whether you're looking at industrial (Walls / Mr Whippy) or artisanal (made yourself) products. See the current thread about ice cream.

Albert the InfoGipsy

"So welcome to the Citadel where the question is 'Am I?'"
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Big Smile [:D]


Arkle - I have no idea of the regulations but can only offer encouragement.  If I saw an ice-cream van in the street on a hot sunny day then I would make a beeline to get to it.  So I think you have a super idea which could be a real winner.  Hope you receive some replies to get your business started ... and hope to hear your ice-cream chimes coming along my street !!! 
If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back
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Never seen an actual ice cream van in 20 years here but thats not to say it cannot be done. The rules on fitting out vans for any sort of food sales is very very strict here which maybe puts folks off doing such things plus finding an outlet to supply your ice creams. Don't forget too that being self employed is also very expensive so you need to do a lot of homework because your cotisations will possibly outweigh your takings and the cost of carburants currently is eating into everyone's profits. I have to say, there are many times I would have killed for a lovely fresh whippy type cone instead of the boring old Cornettos which you keep indoors anyway. Our local port has a whippy machine outside which we love but they charge €2 for a single which is quite expensive.
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Twinkles little girl gets herself into a right state when she she visits the UK and  hears the ice cream man comingBig Smile [:D].  She cannot believe it. 

Val 2, it is incredible that in your 20 years, you have not seen an ice cream van.  It would be a truly unique experience for the french and maybe a very good business.

What I would point out though, is that the French have this unbroken rule of no snacking between meals.  Therefore maybe parks and fetes would be better than doing the rounds:

Back in Blighty and lovin' it!!
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If it can be done I am sure it would work very well. After all the usual courses including dessert (and our crumble) at the local apéritif dinatoire there was a mad rush from our table - the ice cream had appeared! The French are definitely big fans of ice cream.

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I have seen Ice cream vans but only on the coast, most towns and villages have shops with machines outside for the sale of Ice cream.


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Don't forget that many patisseries and salons de thé sell ice-cream (homemade, artisanal, but also the stuff that comes out of machines like chantilly), even in small places. And you can go to many cafés and order an ice-cream too. In fact, there are some "Palais de la glace" places, with huge terraces, specialising in ice-cream.

The trouble with a van is that it would possibily be most successful in places where there are no shops. Which also means that it would be most popular in the most unpopulated areas? That can't be great for business...

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