Two thousand years ago the Romans made careful maps of their Empire to be able to collect taxes from all landowners – so nothing has really changed since then. In various museums you can find old drawings of the plots of land, probably given to retired Roman soldiers to make into farms (and pay taxes). These Plans Cadastrale look very similar to the ones used today during property transactions, many of the plots and boundaries being the same as they were in the year dot.
Getting a copy of the Plans Cadastrale of a property used to mean a visit to the urbanism department of the local Mairie, waiting for everyone to come out of the pub/cafe/bar/ and get back into the office, waiting ones turn and then to be told their computer/Microfiche reader/printer/pencil/clay-tablet was out of order. Something we at Coast and Country, as an Estate Agent anxious to provide the maximum of information to our clients, sometimes experienced.
Now by entering the address of the property you can get these plans online at …
www.cadastre.gouv.fr Just a small word of warning however as different cadastral “sections” can share the same address, and some “sections” belonging to the same property may have a different address from the main one on which the house or villa is situated.
With this warning in mind you can zoom in your neighbours or anywhere in France and see exactly what area their plot of land is and where the boundaries are – so with Google maps and http://www.geoportail.fr/ you can get a very clear idea of a property offered for sale.