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How Property Sizes are Measured in France

Property is measured differently in France than in UK and elsewhere. This article explains the French measurements in terms of:

  • Common French property measures (square meter, are, hectare)
  • Differences in the standards for measuring property (UK/USA versus France)
  • Tx-sizes and Fx-sizes
  • Fx versus xF

Common Measures

If you are not used to French measurements, the following table may be of help:

French Measurement

UK Equivalent

Square Meter

A square meter is one meter by one meter, commonly abbreviated to "m2". It is equal to approximately 10.75 square feet, or 1.2 square yards.

Are

An Are is 100 m2 (e.g. 10 meters by 10 meters). It is a common measure for land area, equal to approximately 120 square yards (e.g. 10 yards by 12 yards).

Hectare

A hectare is 100 ares ("hect" is 100, so "hectare" = 100 ares). It is equal to 10,000 m2 (e.g. a piece of land 100 meters by 100 meters), which is about 2.5 acres. If you are buying a property with a hectare or more of land, you already have a considerable amount of property.

Land size can be expressed in Ares (e.g. 50 ares) or Hectares (e.g. half a hectare). It can also be expressed as a combination (e.g. 1.2 Hectares may be written as "1 Hectare, 20 ares".

For exact conversions and for more information on French measurements, click on Detailed Metric Conversion or click on Quick Metric Conversion.

Measurement Standards - UK vs France

When a property is advertised the land area is normally expressed in Ares or Hectares, unless the amount of land is quite small, in which case it is expressed in square meters. The size of the house is expressed in square meters, and is referred to as "Surface Habitable".

For UK buyers, this term can be very misleading. In the UK, the term "surface area" is used, and it is the internal surface area of the house (in other words, the total of all the rooms). In France, instead of "surface area", the term "surface habitable" which translates as "habitable area" is used. The main difference is that in the French system, only living areas (e.g. bedroom, dining room) are included but non-living areas (such as the bathrooms, toilets, stairways, garage, and so on) are excluded.

To illustrate, if a house has 130 m2 of rooms (as measured under UK norms), but 30 m2 of these are non-living areas, in France the house would be advertised as only 100m2 rather than being advertised as 130m2. In some cases the difference can be as much as 50% between the two systems (e.g. a house advertised as 100m2 in France would actually be 150m2 by UK standards). However, this is an extreme case, usually the difference between the two systems is more like 25%. So if you are living in the UK in a house of 200m2 and want a similar sized house in France, you will probably want to look at houses advertised as 150m2 rather than houses advertised as 200m2. In any case, before buying (or making a special journey) it is worth contacting the estate agent or seller to confirm exact details

Tx-sizes and Fx-sizes

Another French norm is to advertise a property as "Tx", where "x" is a number (e.g. T2, T3, T4, and so on). This system is most commonly used for apartments rather than houses.

This method is essentially just a count of the number of rooms. So a T3 apartment is an apartment with 3 rooms. Note that this excludes bathrooms and toilets. So a T3 apartment may have a living/dining room, plus 2 bedrooms. A T1 would be a "studio" apartment.

The Tx system is only approximate as it does not provide any information on the size of the rooms. Also, it can be slightly ambiguous; for example a combined living/dining room counts as only one room but if one was to put a solid divider between them it would become 2 rooms.

In some parts of France one will see the "Fx" system instead of the "Tx". Both systems are identical, it is just that some parts of France use the letter "F" and some use the letter "T".

Fx versus xF

One may also come across the term "xF", which is completely different than "Fx". The "Fx" system is the number of rooms an apartment has (see explanation above) whereas "xF" is the number of "faces" that a house has. In the "xF" system, "F" stands for the French word "face", which is equal to the English term "side". So a "2F" house is a house that has two sides (in other words, it is a row house or terrace house). A "3F" house is an end of terrace house (otherwise known as semi-detached) as it has 3 sides. A 4F house is a detached house, as it has 4 sides (in other words, no adjoining houses).

 
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