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I was very excited to receive the following information from internetsdairy:

Did you know that in France, you legally own the Earth's crust, mantle etc. beneath your house, right the way down to the centre of the planet?

[I read this] in a book about the Large Hadron Collider. They had to get permission from homeowners on the French side to tunnel through ‘their’ rock; some refused until the government arranged some kind of settlement. No such problems on the Swiss side of the border, so long as the tunnel was below the level where you might want a wine cellar or artesian well.

Presumably, your subterranean zone of ownership forms (for a regular-shaped house) a sort of inverted pyramid that tapers toward the Earth's centre, or there would be magma disputes.
Yes, alongside its mission to confirm the existence of theoretical particles, it turns out that the collider was also designed to try to establish the full extent of France. So thanks to the work of CERN, we can now confidently assert that as well as extending infinitely upwards into space, France territory also extends all the way to the Earth's molten core. The question that logically follows, and therefore the next scientific frontier, is: does France then continue through the planet and emerge just south-east of New Zealand? We can only hope that science is ready for its greatest challenge yet.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 14th, 2011 02:52 pm (UTC)
In principle this is also the case in England and Wales. "cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad infernos" is the traditional maxim.
(And indeed only recently my landlord received the letter beginning the compulsory purchase process for a layer of subsoil through which Crossrail will run.)
Mar. 14th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
I'm intrigued; while I’m content to be wrong about this—although I admit it would be a shame to have to abandon the “infinite France” hypothesis—I had understood that since space flight became a reality, countries had generally understood that there was a finite upper limit to their airspace, except (“Non!”) France. Are we guilty of the same thing, then?
Mar. 14th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
Oh long before that in practice, so far as rights *above* the ground are concerned, see for instance here (fairly short). Though there's a distinction between national airspace and private property rights anyway. But not so much below, see this judgment of the Supreme Court last summer (which contains all anyone sane might wish to know about the history of the concept and its application as a matter of comparative law).
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:29 pm (UTC)
Sorry, yes, that should be this judgment of the Supreme Court
Mar. 14th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
I take it France is too far from the equator to occasionally sweep out and envelop, say, Jupiter, thus briefly giving he people of France total ownership of a planet over 300 times more massive than our own.
Mar. 14th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
Presumably, to be consistent with relativity, Franceness is bounded by the speed of light, so the planet throws off a spiral of pure Francicity into space as it turns?
Mar. 14th, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
I discussed this with a friend (in particular, the hypothetical situation of standing on the sun with a gendarme - when Sarkozy passes a law banning burquas, could the gendarme retrospectively arrest you for wearing one seven minutes ago?) and we decided Franceness would have to bound to the speed of light, thus France = its light cone.
Mar. 14th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
Metropolitan France - L'Hexagone - is north of the tropics (23.5 degrees for a reason!) so you're out of luck there.

But that's neglecting the spread of France across the surface of the globe. Off the top of my head, there's at least three Departements d'Outre Mers well within the tropics: Guadeloupe, French Guyana, and Martinique. Legally, they're part of France.

So not only is Jupiter occasionally French, the Sun is French too. Doubtless many other stars too, but it'll be a little while before the light cone reaches another galaxy, even if you take a very generous view of when the Merovingian Franks established the country.
Mar. 17th, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC)
Assuming that France does stop at the centre of the earth, can we posit "infinitesimal France", the point in the earth's core that is more intensely and essentially French than anywhere in the universe?
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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