Large Landholdings and Seaside Development of Societies in France, 1750-1970

Markets and Concentration in the Rural Area
By Johan Vincent

Studies of seaside development have often addressed the land question under the aspect of the property developer. If we follow this reasoning, the entire French coastline was available to be sold. However, historical study of changes in large landholdings along the coast proves another reality: land inertia. Some large landholders subdivided their plots, while others kept theirs intact, either for prestige purposes or for their own leisure activities. Local populations also played a role in developing these properties, which were sometimes contested. Settlement of the French coastline did not occur in a wide open space. Large landholdings, especially old ones, represent a good sign for understanding future settlement trends.

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