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An arpent (French pronunciation: ​[aʁpɑ̃]) is a unit of length and a unit of area. It is a pre-metric French unit based on the Roman actus. It is used in Quebec as well as in some areas of the United States that were part of French Louisiana.


1 arpent (North American) =
SI units
58.4713 m 5,847.13 cm
US customary / Imperial units
63.9450 yd 191.835 ft
1 arpent (Parisian) =
SI units
71.4647 m 7,146.47 cm
US customary / Imperial units
78.1547 yd 234.464 ft

Unit of length[edit]

There were various standard arpents. The most common were the arpent used in North America, which was defined as 180 French feet (pied, of approximately 32.48 centimetres or 12.79 inches), and the arpent used in Paris, which was defined as 220 French feet.

  • In North America, 1 arpent = 180 French feet = about 192 English feet = about 58.47 metres
  • In Paris, 1 arpent = 220 French feet = about 234 English feet = about 71.46 metres

Unit of area[edit]

Historically, in North America, 1 (square) arpent (arpent carré), also known as a French acre, was 180 French feet × 180 French feet = 32,400 French square feet = about 3419 square metres = about 0.845 English acres. Certain U.S. states have official definitions of the arpent which vary slightly:

In Paris, the square arpent was 220 French feet × 220 French feet = 48,400 French square feet, about 5,107 square metres or 1.262 acres.


In Louisiana, parcels of land known as arpent sections or French arpent land grants also pre-date the Public Land Survey System (PLSS), but are treated as PLSS sections. An arpent is a French measurement of approximately 192 feet (59 m), and a square arpent (also referred to as an arpent) is about 0.84 acres (3,400 m2).

French arpent land divisions are long narrow parcels of land usually found along the navigable streams of southern Louisiana, and also found along major waterways in other areas. This system of land subdivision was begun by French settlers in the 18th century, according to typical French practice at the time and was continued by both the Spanish and by the American government after the acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase. A typical French arpent land division is 2 to 4 arpents wide along the river by 40 to 60 arpents deep, while the Spanish arpent land divisions tend to be 6 to 8 arpents wide by 40 arpents deep.

This method of land division provided each land-owner with river frontage as well as land suitable for cultivation and habitation. These areas are given numbers just like standard sections, although the section numbers frequently exceed the normal upper limit of 36.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In Louisiana, an arpent is equal to approximately 0.84628 acre; see Derouen v. Poirier, 136 So. 2d 131, footnote 1 (La. 3d Cir. Ct. App. 1961) (dicta).
  2. ^ Julia A. Jackson; James P. Mehl; Klaus K. E. Neuendorf, ed. (2005), Glossary of Geology, Springer, p. 37, ISBN 9780922152766 .
  3. ^ The Public Land Survey System (PLSS)