Property Rights in France - Water


  1. Dispersal of Rainwater
  2. Spring Water
  3. Drainage Servitudes
  4. Rivers and Streams
  5. Towpath Usage
  6. Fishing Rights
  7. Shoreline Properties

7. Shoreline Properties in France

If you own a shoreline or beachside property then there are rights of way over the property that may be granted to members of the public.

Broadly speaking, a right of way of 3 metres is granted in certain cases to enable members of the public to gain access to the shore or beach and to be able to walk along it.

This right of way is called le chemin des douaniers and, out of nearly 5,000 kilometres of coastline in France, the servitude operates along about 20% of this coastline.

It only operates where the property is contiguous with a public area but does not apply where there is alternative public access to the shoreline. It also operates only to the benefit of pedestrians and not vehicles of any kind.

The 3-metre strip can be either parallel with the shoreline or perpendicular to it. So it could run alongside a property or to the front of it.

There are various exemptions to this rule, notably for properties built before 1976 with a boundary wall.


Next: Index - Water Rights in France

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