Choosing a Plot of Land in France

Buying a plot of land and building a house is much more common in France than it is in the UK.  On the other, buying an old barn and converting it into a house is much less common in France than it is the UK.  Both options, however, are possible in both countries. Choosing a plot of land in France

When looking for a plot, the main 5 factors would be its location, size, orientation, view and of course price.  This may help to narrow down the choices and pin point the favourite ones.  There are, however, some crucial checks to be made before committing to a project.buying-plot-land-france-vorbild-architecture-blog-5

Permis de construire

At the beginning, probably the most important piece of information we will find out for you is whether it can be used for construction of a property. To stress, it is not legal to build on land classified as agricultural.  This would be confirmed by a certificat d’urbanism.  The place to confirm this is a local mairie, and this is actually where most of answers to questions regarding a plot of land can be found.  

If a parcel does not currently hold the certificat d’urbanism, it is possible to apply for one.  However, it is advisable to check with the mairie, if it is feasible to receive any assurance that this would be granted and on what conditions.  Still, it should be a good practice to add this as a condition in the purchase contract, or even speaking to the seller if the application for the certificate could be made before signing any purchase documents. 


Additionally, depending on what region the land is situated, we will check where it lays within local fire zones. For example, this is important in the South. We will check both Flood zones (for examples near streams and rivers) and avalanche zones (for example in the mountains). 

Location, location, location

Many plots are further away from a main road. We will enquire about the status of the road leading to it.  It may happen that the road is privately owned by another landowner.


Next, utilities connections should be investigated – power, water, gas, sewage, telephone line.  With regards to sewage, if there is no imminent connection to a local network, a cesspit will need to be build.  Apart for the cost of building and maintaining, it is good to learn what size would be possible.

Another feature that one may want to have is a swimming pool.  Not every plot can have one that is built into the ground and this type of swimming pool would also require a planning permission.   A free standing, above the ground level, swimming pool is less restrictive but may not be desirable by some.  The size of the plot of land governs the maximum allowed size of the pool.


In current times, we become more and more accustomed to technology and convenient communication. As a result of this,  many buyers would also be interested in mobile phone reception and internet connection.  This may be limited in more remote areas.

These are probably the key items to investigate. However, documents available in the Marie should provide a lot more information to study meticulously.  It is always advisable to ask any questions if in doubt in order to have an exhaustive understanding of the situation. 


How we can help

We regularly get involved in projects at this stage, or even beforehand. We can help you choose your site by working together with local estate agents, to your budget.  It only takes a chat, preferably over a coffee, to find out what you need and explain the way we work.  Needless to say we are also registered as architects in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.  Feel free to contact us today! Choosing a plot of land in France


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If you like this project and would like us to help you with yours –  we will be happy to advise on time scales, costs and details – or use our online form to contact us.

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