How do you find out how old your house is?

Hi all, I am looking for some advice to find out how old our house is. We have had an extension built, I am filling in the Impôt form and it is asking when the house was built. I've been through all the sale documents and can find no reference to build date (it is an old stone cottage so probably built before records were kept). Any bright ideas welcomed.

Many thanks everyone, I think I will be heading down to the Mairie as my starting point

That's not strictly true, Carol. I was a heritage conservation professional (in France) before retirement, and, for example, we had one house from 1660 put on the Inventaire Supplémentaire des Monuments Historiques because of its decorative elements - which the proprietor promptly proceeded to partly destroy !

The first thing to do, if you really want to find out the age of the house, is to check the "Cadastre Napoléon", which was in fact realised at varying dates in the 19th century, for each commune (copies held at each Mairie and also the Archives Départementales - AD). If the house is on that then the next thing would be to see if the Notaire's Registers are held at the AD, of which some go back a very long way. After that all would depend on any other documents remaining. Sometimes there are mentions in parish registers, which can go back in quite a few cases to the mid-17th century.

On the water counter, if it hasn't been changed, is a copper cover. On this you find the date when the water was attached. At least in my case the year of which the house has been built.

If you can’t find a date carved into any beams or lintels, I’d just put ‘pre 1800’. As there’s no grade listing in France, apart from chateaus, they’re not going to worry about following it up, I would think :slight_smile:

Once it is over a certain age they don't care ;-) it is because new-builds usually entail some sort of tax-credit (offset against future tax payments & tapered ie they won't give you a wodge of money).

Try the Mairies they usually know most things, except our house was on the oldest carte still in existence which was 1812 our house was there then.