IN SEARCH OF A PARIS APARTMENT by Adrian Leeds
Thursday, September 25, 2003
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
One of our readers contacted us a few weeks ago to help him find the apartment of his dreams. He was already well versed from reading French Property Insider and had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to spend and where he wanted to buy.
By phone, we spent two hours just going over his goals, criteria and budgets to narrow down the search. We determined that he wanted to use the apartment several weeks a year, but rent it the rest of time, hopefully making a small return on his investment in the process.
Our property search manager began the process and reviewed dozens of apartments before he even got here. This in itself is no simple task. Some of the best apartments are found through individual owners and there are dozens of agencies in each arrondissement to review.
This week, he landed and immediately started visiting apartments we had set up for him. In just two days, he found the perfect apartment. The location, the price, the size, the decor…everything fit. In fact, apartments like this one don’t come along very often, so, not to waste another moment, he made an offer, they countered and he accepted. The day after, he visited with the lenders (appointments we set up for him) and on his last day in Paris, he’s set-up with the Notaire to sign the Promesse de Vente. Not bad for a week’s work.
Finding and purchasing an apartment in Paris within five days is pretty difficult on your own. I’ve seen it done, but very rarely and it takes knowing the market very well.
But, that’s why we’re here and offering to help. We are happy to assist you with every aspect of buying an apartment — from locating the property, to setting up your contract-signing, getting a mortgage, helping you set up utilities or do a renovation and then rent the property on a short or long term basis.
(Monsieur) Jocelyn Carnegie, our property search manager, will be speaking at our upcoming Working and Living in France Conference on how to find property in Paris and France. I look forward to introducing him to you all.
Editor, French Property Insider
P.S. Full details of the property search services are on the French Property Insider website at http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/propertyconsultation.html
Volume I, Issue 33, September 25, 2003
In this issue:
* The Renovation Saga Continues at Rue de la Huchette
* Reconstructing the Interior of a Louis XIV Fireplace
* The Largest Antique Market in the World
* Who Can Have the Power of Attorney?
* How To Find the Provenance of Your Property?
* What’s the Latest Rate of Exchange, in Dollars, Euro and Pounds
* Hot Property: Penthouse with 360 Degree View of Paris
* Property For Sale: Bourgeois Chic Near Parc Monceau
* The Next Meeting is September 23rd
* General FPI Information…
REPORTING ON THE RECONSTRUCTION AND DECORATION OF RUE DE LA HUCHETTE
by Adrian Leeds
The renovation of our 18th-century apartment has become a fascination for all of us involved. Porter Scott is in charge of insuring the integrity of every element while I’m in charge of overseeing the project and the budget — so that what we entered into as an investment doesn’t become red marks on our accounting.
The integrity-maintenance is by far, the most intriguing, the most labor intensive, but has the greatest reward.
Early sunday morning CEO of International Living Bill Bonner met us at the apartment to deliver old bricks for use in the fireplace that he had found near his country home. I can attest to fireplace expert Monsieur Alain di Tuoro’s work (be sure to read Porter’s recount of the reconstruction of the Louis XIV fireplace below) — as the bricks are now in place and fit beautifully.
That day, we spent many hours at the Marché aux Puces hunting down furnishings for the apartment. The Marché aux Puces is a world of its own and seemed unaffected by the event happening all over the country that day — “Les Journées du Patrimoine.”From there we walked away with a stack of dealers’ cards marked with descriptions and prices of things we’d later reflect on and come back to purchase. I took photos of every item. (Read a detailed account of the market further down in French Property Insider.)
Porter spent the night among the dust at the apartment and discovered little quirks we might never have known otherwise…and made suggestions on ways of improving its little idiosyncrasies. For instance, the mattresses are too soft…so new ones are on their way.
Yesterday, he took Bill and me to a shop on the Ile Saint-Louis that specializes in old doors, windows and other building elements. We found 18th-century doors and shutters that would be perfect for cabinets and use as decorative items.
Little by little it’s all coming together, all with the goal in mind to have it ready for rental November 1. We’re already taking reservations. If you’re interested in being one of the first to stay there, see http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/rentals/huchette.html for details or email us to book your dates.
(You may also be interested in staying at our luxury apartment on rue Mazarine in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area — in a 17th-century building with lots of charm. For more information click here.
RESPECTING FRENCH TRADITION: Reconstructing the Interior of a Louis XIV Fireplace
by Porter Scott
Finding high caliber French craftsmen to work on renovation projects in Paris is a challenge, no matter what time of year it
is. September is one of the most difficult months to get anyone to intervene because almost all Frenchmen have recently returned from lengthy summer vacations and they have a lot of mail to clear from their desks. Futhermore, most of the best craftsmen are inundated with work and cannot even get to many of the clients who are begging them for help. In addition, the problems French artisans have managing their businesses are aggravated by French labor laws that make it prohibitively costly to hire personnel; hence, the ‘one man show’ has become the norm. This means that a lot of these guys just wing it and the mail piles up on their desks.
In less than a week’s time, through the craftsman grapevine, I got one of the best ‘Atrier-Marbriers’ in Paris to begin work on renovating the Louis XIV fireplace in the International Living rue de la Huchette appartment. Alain di Tuoro is a short round man of Italian extraction whose easy-going smile is all you need to see to know that he is an expert at what he does; otherwise, he would not be spending most of his time working on the ‘Monuments Historiques’ (historical monuments) for the French government.
I met him at the appartment on September 16th in order to determine exactly what needed to be done to reconstruct the fireplace interior. He first pointed out that the mantel’s feet had been reduced in height because someone at some point years ago had added about 3 to 4 inches of flooring to the appartment. We duly decided to remove some of the flooring and make a step down in front of the mantel in order to restore the original proportions. Then Alain got down on his back and started feeling out the flue to see just how he was going to make the flue breathe properly to avoid smoky fires. He explained to me that the angle of the upper brick section just behind the horizontal mantle top is the key. If it has the right slant, everything is peachy keen (not exactly his words, but close enough). Soot was falling into his face all the while he talked. As he lay there on his back, we discussed the nuances of the brickwork and the techniques for feeding oxygen to a fire.
It turned out that Alain knew the guy who rebuilt my fireplace roughly 18 years ago, a third generation ‘Atrier’ named Monsieur Adam. Adam was considered by the trade as being the best out there. I had heard that this master craftsman had died unexpectedly of a heart attack a few years ago. Alain told me that that could not be true because he had been to see Adam at his house just two years ago. I asked him “Have you heard from him since then?” and he said “Non.” “Well then, he could be dead after all,” I responded and we left it at that. (Besides, if he was still alive, I probably would have contacted Mr. Adam instead of Alain!)
When it came time to determine the price, Alain was still on his back, but, he thought about it for a minute and then, off the top of his head, he said it would be 15,000 Francs (2286 euro). I said “That sounds reasonable” and with that, we struck a deal, to be confirmed by a written ‘devis’ or bid, that he was going to fax to me before the end of the week. Naturally the devis did not come as planned; but Alain showed up on time to begin work without having first received the signed proposal and a deposit check for 30% of the total amount to be paid before he started the job.
It was his fault of course, because he did not send me the devis on time; but we are both in a hurry to get the job done and it just goes to show you that when the vibes are good and the trust is in place, formalities are nothing but that. Besides, doing administrative tasks is a hassle for a one man show who always has dirty, soot covered hands.
Alain will get his check, the fireplace will be done in 5 days, and I already have another project for him — that is, if I can nail him down.
Editor’s Note: Since this article was written, a decision was made to remove the entire mantle and raise it to the proper level! It has been buried below the floor tiles about six full inches.
THE LARGEST FLEA MARKET IN THE WORLD
By Adrian Leeds
There are several flea markets in Paris, but none as large or as well-known as the Saint-Ouen “Marché aux Puces” — it claims to be the largest antiques market in the world.
There simply isn’t anything that ISN’T there…furniture, paintings, jewellery, chandeliers, trinkets, porcelain, objets dart and decorative goods. Their Web site says that “All have been carefully selected, authenticated or restored by highly qualified professionals.” This, I am certain, isn’t true, but I would agree that most of the merchants have integrity and genuine interest in their trade and you can feel comfortable dealing with them.
Don’t bother going mid-week — it’s only open saturdays, sundays and mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., including public holidays. When you exit the Métro at Porte de Clignancourt, do not be fooled by the stands and stands of new goods. Walk past them northbound till you cross the Périférique amd turn left onto rue des Rosiers. That’s where the real market begins with more than 220 specialized antique dealers and an ever-changing selection of goods.
Rue des Rosiers is the central street of the flea market, from which the markets branch off along its entire length. You will encounter many antique dealers and restaurants. My favorite is Napoli — an Italian restaurant and pizzeria at number 136 open every day for lunch except Wednesdays.
The first market you come to is Vernaison on your right. It’s also the oldest and one of the largest, with some 300 stalls. In 1885, the owner of a garden in the Parish of Saint-Ouen, decided to sacrifice some of this lettuce plants and other vegetable plots to rent a few acres to merchants. These were rag-and-bone men or “ragpickers” who would sell the antique objets they found or bartered from scrap dealers just outside of Paris. Actually crossing the “wall” of Paris would have involved paying a tax known as the “octroi.”
Other merchants soon joined them and not long after the first “guinguettes” were also doing a good trade. Edith Piaf was one — she started her career singing at “Chez Louisette” in Vernaison.
By 1920, the Vernaison terrain was covered with rough shanty huts erected to protect antiques and bric-à-brac from the weather, from petty thieves and various other misadventures.
In 1925, 70 antique dealers formed a company and rented a group of market gardens a few steps away, thus the Marché Biron was born. Nicknamed “The Faubourg Saint-Honoré of the Flea Market,” faithful customers find an international choice of treasures: chinese vases, dolls, old glassware and china, silver, 1900 art, art deco, carpets and tapestries, scientific, marine and musical instruments, posters, old post cards and old-fashioned clothing.
Marché Dauphine is the newest market to have opened its doors in Saint-Ouen and also one of the biggest. Thanks to almost 300 antique dea
lers and bric-à-brac sellers, there are numerous specialists in various niche markets such as old documents, dolls, curiosities from the world of the navy or photography, watches, regional furniture and primitive objects.
If you want to ship goods outside of France, the merchants are well-equipped to assist you and there are shippers in the market ready to package and ship to wherever you like.
One thing I do recommend, however, is if you are serious about purchasing a quantity of goods, take someone with you who is really knowledgeable. Spending five hours in the market with Porter Scott was one-tenth of the time it would have taken me alone to find as many wonderful furnishings as we did or make as many good deals as we did — all because he knew the merchants personally and knew who sold what. It worth paying an expert to guide you through the maze of “allées” at the Marché aux puces.
“DR. DEREK’S” ARCHITECT’S ADVICE AND SERVICES
If you have basic questions concerning apartment and home renovation, contact our resident expert Derek Bush by visiting http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/services.html
POWER OF ATTORNEY — CAN YOUR NOTAIRE SIGN FOR YOU?
What happens when you purchase a property in France, but because you’re not living here can’t be present at the signing of the “Promesse de Vente” or the “Acte de Vente” to sign the documents?
One of our readers wanted to know if the Notaire could perform the signing duties on behalf of his client.
Legal advisor Jean Taquet says: “The notaire as an individual entrusted by the French state to perform a specific mission cannot be the beneficiary of this power, a third party can be.”
Jean Taquet for his clients, and we for ours, can sign on your behalf with proper power of attorney. This document is required in French, so our suggestion is to have this drawn up by the Notaire before you leave France and entrust someone like ourselves or a friend or relative to act in your interests.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR HISTORICAL BUILDING…
How do I gather the building’s data (the building was designated a heritage building), i.e. date built, architect, when it came by its protected status?
“Le classement monument historique,” (which I assume is what happened to this building) is delivered by “les Monuments de France” which approves or denies the request often made by the owners. The criteria are of course the age of the building, but also its specific interest for historical reasons.
The information you are looking for is may possibly be found if you go to the “Cadastre” and the “Conservation des Hypothèques.” The Conservation des Hypothèques is where you would find the name of all the previous owners. The Cadastre should have the basic information on the building which should include the date of completion.
Service du Cadastre
6 rue Clisson
01 45 86 67 67
Service de la conservation des hypothèques de Paris
6 rue Paganini
01 44 64 50 46
What is the exact term, in French, for such protection.
“Etre classé monument historique.”
What does this status mean to an owner?
The good things:
– these is a very strict limitation to the right to build anything within a set area around the building…
– the heavy maintenance of the building is subsidized by the administration…
The bad things:
– anything done to this building in terms of improvements must be pre-approved by this organization “les Monuments de France” and their architects have the reputation of being very harsh and conservative,
– the choice of the craftsmen is extremely limited since they must be approved for this kind of work. They are therefore very expensive and difficult to get to work.
Jean Taquet is a French jurist and associate member of the Delaware Bar Association, specializes in civil, criminal and commercial law. He frequently gives courses about the legal system in France and recently spoke at the International Living Working and Living in France Conference in Paris. He is also well known for his informative Q and A columns in past Paris Voice magazines, which can now be purchased in one document as “The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France”
To subscribe to his monthly newsletter or to contact Jean Taquet for a personal consultation, email Jean Taquet
TODAY’S CURRENCY UPDATE
Rates as of 2003.09.25 14:20:31 GMT.
1 U.S. Dollar equals Euro 0.869683 (0.887895 Euro last week)
1 Euro equals U.S. Dollar 1.14984 (1.12626 last week)
1 U.K. Pound equals Euro 1.44325 (1.43597 Euro last week)
1 Euro equals U.K. Pound 0.692882(0.696392 last week)
* FOR SALE: FPI HOT PROPERTY OF THE WEEK
We are constantly looking at properties for sale to offer to our subscribers only. Each week we will be bringing you one or two properties we believe are especially worth your consideration. As a subscriber, you will have an exclusive first look at these before they are added to the listings on our website.
SUNNY PENTHOUSE APARTMENT WITH 360 DEGREE VIEW
Two rooms, 49.25 square meters on the 6th floor with elevator in a modern building in the 9th arrondissement on the Grands Boulevards. Superb planted 46 square meter terrace with a 360 degree view of Paris. Great kitchen, fireplace, parquet, moulding, cave, jacuzzi, gardian, digicode.
Asking Price 460,000 Euro
Serious inquiries can be directed to Email: Penthouse_in_9th
* FPI PROPERTY LISTINGS – SALE
All of the following apartments are for sale by owner. There are no agency fees incurred with the exception of a finders fee we place to connect you with the owner and assist you in the purchase. We have chosen two very high level properties and two very low level properties, but both in very rentable areas of the city, should you wish to make your investment profitable.
The prime rental neighborhoods are the 1st – 8th arrondissements, but each depending on location within each arrondissement. The most requested is the Ile Saint-Louis, second the 6th, third the 4th. The most expensive property in the city is the Place des Vosges in the 4th, Ile Saint-Louis (also 4th) and the 6th arrondissement.
– BOURGEOIS 17TH NEAR PARC MONCEAU
145 square meters in a classic Haussmannian building with elevator, 4 bedrooms, beautiful entry, double living room, 2 bathrooms, fully equipped kitchen, excellent floor plan, Hungarian parquet flooring, more than 3 meter-high ceilings, moulding, 4 fireplaces, very bright exposure with wine cellar and possibility of private parking. Building renovation is already voted and paid for. Gardian, digicode.
Asking Price 890,000 Euro
Serious inquiries can be directed to Email: Parc_Monceau
— LEASEBACK PROPERTY NEAR HISTORIC ANTIBES
The residence is situated in a peaceful residential area only 5 minutes drive from the historic old town of Antibes and the beautiful sandy beaches leading onto the Cap D’ Antibes. It is only fifteen minutes drive from Nice International Airport, ten minutes drive to Cannes and the important Sophia Antipolis Technopole known as “The French Silicon Valley”.
The residence is built in a sleek modern style using a mixture of wood and frosted glass. It will be set in a tranquil wooded environment and adjacent to a new health and fitness club.
All apartments are sold fully furnished, equiped and decorated to comply with governmental leaseback regulations. These include a roof top swimming pool, a breakfast bar, common reception area, full linen service and underground parking. The location is ideally placed for tourist accomodation and lends itself to be used for your own Riviera holidays.
The residence has been designed with mostly one bedroom apartments, to meet with the demand for this type of accomodation and to maximise the rentability throughout the year.
All apartments guarantee a net annual rental return of 5,5%.
Why we recommend buying a leaseback investment? The French government proposed leasebacks to stimulate the development of tourist accomodation and offers investors financial incentives to invest. This includes a VAT waiver of 19,6% and various other taxation deductions.
When buying an apartment you become the freehold owner from the start and will sign a 9 year contract with a leading property management company. This company then markets the property to tourists and in return guarantees, in this case, a 5,5% net return on your investment for the period of their lease with you. This return is linked to the annual construction price index.
The rental income is net of:
- Condominium expenses
– City taxe
– Utilities expenses
– Replacement of furniture if required
Personal contributions have been minimized through the use of gearing (i.e the use of borrowed money to increase your profits in an investment). This is made feasible because French banks are happy to offer 80% finance over 20 years to non-residents for lease back projects.
PARLER PARIS APRES MIDI MEETS TWICE A MONTH
NEXT MEETING: September 23, 2003, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. AND EVERY SECOND AND FOURTH TUESDAY OF THE MONTH
This is your opportunity to meet twice a month, often with local professionals who can answer your Working and Living in France questions. You are invited to come for drinks and share your questions and comments about what it takes to create a life here, own property and enjoy what France has to offer. It is also an opportunity to network with other Parler Paris readers.
For a detail description of the past meeting and for more information about Parler Paris Après Midi, visitb http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apresmidi.html
Don’t forget that with your FPI subscription you are entitled to a discount on the purchase of any Insider Paris Guides. You’ll find details of the guides at http://www.insiderparisguides.com. When ordering, a box will pop up allowing you to enter the following username/password
Order more than one guide at a time and you will receive an additional discount!
RENTING AN APARTMENT IN PARIS OR HAVE AN APARTMENT TO RENT?
If you are seeking to rent a furnished apartment for a week, a month or a year or you have an apartment you wish to rent, there are a couple of ways we can be of assistance. Click here for more information: http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/forrent.html
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- FPI Website: To access any password protected pages, the username is: fpiuser and the password is: paris1802. If your computer utilizes cookies, once you log into a subscriber only section, the login information will remain active for seven days, after which you will have to login again.
- Past issues of FPI are available on the website. You will find the “Past Issues” link on the left under “Subscribers Only” or by going to http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/subscribersonly/archives.cfm
- To receive your free French Leaseback Report or the Paris Property Report, click on http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/subscribersonly/reports2003.cfm and download the pdf versions.
- Instructions for upcoming conference calls are on the FPI website. You’ll find the link under the “Subscribers Only” section on the left of any page.
- Get In On The Discussion: Care to weigh-in on current HOT topics of discussion on France? Get in on or start your own thread on our bulletin board at http://www.agora-inc.com/forums/index.cfm?cfapp=15
Guest Room or Two-Bedroom Apartment…ENTIRE APARTMENT AVAILABLE OCTOBER 31 – NOVEMBER 10, 2003
Located in a 17th century Le Marais Hôtel Particulier, this 70 square meter apartment two-bedroom apartment with lots of light is nicely furnished and is perfect for a single woman in the freshly renovated guest room when owner Adrian Leeds is in or for up to 4 people when she’s traveling.
The Guest Room is offered at $575 per week ($250 deposit required). The Entire Apartment is offered at $875 per week ($350 deposit required). References are mandatory. Pictures and more details available here: http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apartments/rentals/leeds.html
For information and reservations contact: Adrian@AdrianLeeds.com?subject=ABLGuestRoom
== FOR SALE ==
DUPLEX ON THE LEFT BANK
Paris Left Bank — 13th arrondissement bordering the 5th, duplex on the 3rd and last floor plus a loft, total 87 m2 with 71m2 Loi Carrez (above 1.8m2). Quiet, sunny, lots of character (wood beams, traditional staircase) with stairs from living room to loft. Main bedroom downstairs overlooking east courtyard and living room overlooking rue Pascal. Two rooms upstairs, living room 27m2, toilet/shower/bath separate, equipped kitchen, storage room, cellar, double glazed windows and pine wooden floors. Rental history 1850 euro per month.
Asking Price: 445,000 euro
Call for private sale: +33 (0) 6.74.98.08.27 or Email: Duplex_on_the_Left_Bank
2 lovely apartments in the 1st arrondissment across the street from the Tuileries Gardens, 3 minutes form the Place Vendome. Available for rent by the week or longer term: 6 months to 1 year. 2-3 bedroom duplex w. 2 baths/ Tuileries view. OR 1-2 bedroom same building. Both are elevator accessible, non-smoking and no pet properties.
To check them out and for reservation and contact information go to http://www.youlloveparis.com.
Stay in your own 17th-century pied-à-terre in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, by the week or month. Sleeps 4. Newly furnished and redecorated. Totally charming. From $150 per night. Visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/rentals/mazarine.html or contact Rendez-Vous à Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=IL_Reader or call +33 (0) 18.104.22.168.
SEEKING A MORTGAGE IN FRANCE?
The International Living Paris Office can help you secure a mortgage in France with interest rates as low as 3.35%.
Contact Adrian@AdrianLeeds.com?subject=Mortgage for more information.
HELPFUL CONVERSIONS FOR REAL ESTATE
To convert square meters to square feet, multiply 10.763 by 3.281 and for more conversions, refer to:
SUBSCRIBE TO PARLER PARIS
If you’re not a regular reader of the Parler Paris daily e-letter, and would like to be, simply enter your e-mail address here (it’s free!): http://www.internationalliving.com/signup.cfm
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Copyright 2003, Agora Ireland Publishing & Services Ltd.