What are the rules for drying clothes outside in France?

Partner article: Exploring the rules in France hanging out your washing 

Clothes drying on a laundry line can be a contentious issue

Reader question: I was drying clothes outside my window and some neighbours said we could not do that because it makes the area look poor. Are there any rules against this?

There are indeed rules against drying washing by hanging it out of windows even though the government has at various times promoted drying clothes outside as an energy-saving measure.

You are free to dry your laundry outside if you own a house which is not part of a lotissement which will have had rules and regulations set when constructed.

If you live in a lotissement you might find, for example, that washing lines must be in the back garden, out of sight from the road, and used only at particular times of the day or on certain days of the week.

If you break the rules and regulations, the owner of the lotissement can take legal action against you, but this is rare.

Most blocks of flats have similar rules, banning hanging washing from windows, or drying on balconies. If not banned there may still be specific rules in place such as using drying racks below the height of a balcony guard rail. 

Most French towns and cities have by-laws which forbid hanging washing from windows, citing safety and hygiene.