Current Affairs

Aerial views are tremendously useful when property hunting. From a buyer’s viewpoint they show up all sorts of important details – geographical location, proximity to neighbours, nuisances and can even give a vision of the property from the public domain using the ‘little man’ function (the latter works much better in urban areas as he tends to get lost in wheat fields in the depths of the countryside!) A site that has become an indispensible tool for buyers and estate agents alike is geoportail.gouv.fr. This site enables you to superimpose the land registry parcels (cadastre) on to the aerial view. But sometimes this can reveal issues…

Some 15 years ago, in September 2002, I left London for good for the Gers. The Gers?! Where on earth is that some may ask? The Gers: rural ‘département’ in the depths of south-west France, tucked away between Toulouse and Bordeaux just north the Pyrenean mountains. No motorway, a single-line railway and a main city of 22,000 people. In London, one of the world’s major cities after all, I was at the beginning of my carrier (law degree in the UK and France, qualified as a barrister, pupillage at a criminal law Chambers then head of the legal department of a French real estate agency). Give all that up?! That’s nuts!

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