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Clarity on WW2/WW1 relics in France

Posted: Sun May 27, 2012 7:52 pm
Hi all

Following a couple of recent queries, I thought I'd just clarify the current French laws regarding WW1 and WW2 relics. These have been translated by a Frenchman.......

Translated into English. The new French regulations conceirning digging/searching and picking up relics from French battlefields;

.....On our first search day (we had the intention to dig very carefully), we are deep in the forest when we got caught by a Forestier. A Forestier, is a French forester. Some Forestier has something more judicial powers then the foresters we are used to. Adorned with gun and handcuffs he told us the following:

1. The battlefields of France have been declared to historical sites of the French state;
2. All items in or on the battle fields is owned by the state;
3. Taking something / or picking up is the theft of the French state;

How futile, rusty or trivial picked up the article may be the law condemns it as theft of the French state for which the fines are strict.

However, if they have the impression it has to do with tourists with a purpose other than a 'souvenir' pick is also another law (eg in the Somme, Champagne, Verdun, Meuse and Argonne)

Have in possession:
1. a detector, or
2. spades, digging tools (a garden spade is too much), or
3. parts or components of ammunition;

Then immediate confiscation of their vehicle until the fine (FF 20,000 / € 3100, -) is payed. The French government is willing to containment of the offender (s) until this decision is respected.

The law also states that landowners permission to dig is NOT SUFFICIENT and that you also need written authority from the local government prefecture. Mind you, even if you have both these, you still can't remove the item from the ground !

Hope that helps