Renovating for Pleasure and Profit
A Lucky Find in the 4th…
Two Bedrooms, Two Baths Recently Renovated by an Architect in a 17th-Century Hôtel Particulier
(FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
French Property Insider
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
Halloween partying is just two short days away, All Saints Day follows for an annual trip to our favorite cemeteries and the U.S. election looms over us only five days from now.
I’m opting out of donning my witchiest dress and hat on “All Hallowed Eve” to take two days in the Alsace-Lorraine region with a quick trip across the border to Germany to the spas in Baden-Baden…and you can bet I’ll be telling you all about my property finds there next week.
This week, French Property Insider brings you a close look at the Aquitaine region and some of the property finds in a part of France you might not have thought about otherwise. My Marais street was named after one of its departments, Saintonge. I’m sure you’re familiar with such well-known cities as Biarritz and Bordeaux, but one of my favorite seaside resorts is the quaint fishing village of Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
Aquitaine is famous for its religious heritage when during the Middle Ages 25% of the European population undertook a pilgrimage along the Route Santiago de Compostela. Visit it again by following the roads recommended by the tourist offices. Read on about how to order their brochure.
Properties there are…
Back in Paris, current property clients are buying and renovating their new properties to create profitable rental apartments. Derek Bush, our favorite associate interior architect, shows us how to rearrange old-fashioned kitchens and baths to better suit today’s lifestyle.
And for those of you holding off making a decision about investing in France till the outcome of the U.S. election is realized, no need. Either way, the Euro remains strong, properties in France continue to rise in price and value and we’re still enjoying a rich and rewarding French lifestyle.
Editor, French Property Insider
P.S. Mark December 29th on your calendar for the Invest in France Conference in Paris! — One full day to learn the best ways to watch your money and real estate investment grow before your very eyes…all while gazing at the world’s most famous monument over a frothy café crème. We’ll be sending you complete information within the next few days, but if you want to be notified by email directly, email Schuyler Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org/parlerparis
Volume II, Issue 44, October 28, 2004
In this issue:
* Renovate for Reward
* Aquitaine Living: The Facts and Fantasies
* Making Waves in Aquitaine
* Take the Holy Route
* What’s Going On in Aquitaine
* Visit the Aquitaine Museums
* Making Mollusks in the Bay
* Playing in the Parks and Gardens
* Currency Exchange Update
* Hot Property: Humble Homes in the Aquitaine
* Classified Advertising: Apartment Rentals
The Necessity and Art of Renovation and Reconstruction
By Adrian Leeds
It’s more often than not that the pied-à-terre of your dreams won’t be too dreamy until it undergoes a “face lift.” The French don’t move up or out as often as we transient Americans do, so most Paris apartments and country homes have been lived in for years without any major renovation or refreshment.
Old buildings were originally constructed with other uses or lifestyles in mind and don’t usually fit today’s needs. For example, apartments in Haussmannian style buildings built turn-of-the-century, which have beautiful high ceilings, parquet flooring, fireplaces and molding, are usually broken up into many small rooms without a very good flow pattern, the kitchen relegated to the back down a long hall where the servants could work and not be seen. This hardly fits today’s lifestyle.
The introduction of inexpensive modular cabinetry, particularly made popular by the Swedish home and housewares chain, IKEA, brought on a wave of transformation called the “American” kitchen. This refers to an open style kitchen, where the cabinetry and appliances are visible from the dining or living space and usually there is some sort of bar separating the two (but not always). Owners of small apartments found this to be a very practical solution to enlarging their living areas, even though at one time, the French were opposed to seeing the inner works of a kitchen or being subjected to cooking odors.
Smart rental apartment investors are scouring the Paris property market for apartments with two bedrooms and two baths — a combination sadly lacking for rental agents who have high demands
from couples or families seeking that kind of convenience. Paris apartments built turn-of-the-century and before weren’t planned to have a bathroom — people would wash, not that often, in a basin brought up by a maid. The hygiene campaign in France started after World War II and even some apartments still do not have even a shower.
If you’re in the market for two bedrooms, two baths, then set your sights on space that allows for the addition of a second bath, rather than limiting your search to apartments already outfitted with two complete bathrooms. Or, if your goal is a great one bedroom in less than 50 square meters, then think seriously about reconfiguring the space to make better use of the relationship of the kitchen to the living/dining areas and bathroom to bedroom.
Architect Derek Bush has worked with two projects of these kinds with our recent apartment purchasers. The first was a 47 square-meter one-bedroom apartment in a 16th-century Marais apartment. When the young owner first purchased the apartment, the kitchen was a tiny galley off the living room, the bath opened to the hall which was long and narrow leading from the main entrance to the living room and the bedroom was disjointed from the other living spaces.
A reconfiguration of the spaces opened the kitchen to be come a part of the living/dining room and gave access from the bath to both the hall and the bedroom. The space that was originally a separate toilet was opened, shortening the length of the hall and opening to the living/dining like a funnel would. With today’s lifestyle, the livability was improved by 100% and the renovation expense about 20% of the original cost of the apartment.
The second project is yet to be realized, but in the buyers are in the process of ownership of a 97 square-meter three bedroom Haussmannian style apartment with one bath and one toilet. The central core of the apartment is badly divided for the kitchen and bath: the kitchen is off the main foyer down a narrow entry to an L design with poor use of space and the bath is opposite it, off another long and useless corridor.
The apartment, for purposes of a luxury rental, needs two full baths, one leading to the main part of the apartment, the other within a master suite. Bush has already offered up several different configurations which will add a second bath where just a toilet exists with an entry to one bedroom, move the kitchen to where the bath was, opening it to the central foyer and installing a bath where the kitchen was. The estimated cost of renovation is approximately 10% to 20% of the purchase price.
In both cases, the renovations will greatly improve the livability, add to the value of the property and turn them both into luxury rentals that are sure to attract vacationers and keep them coming back year after year.
Editor’s Notes: Derek Bush, DSB International Interior Architecture, specializes in four main areas: offices, restaurants, retail and private residential. DSB currently has a team of eight working on projects all over France. They can provide full service a well as working in conjunction with other teams. This service includes: surveys and pre-purchase advice, advice on improvement works, cost of works estimates, preparation of projects, tender and consultation documents and management of works. For more information, contact: http://www.bush-architecture.com /, email@example.com
Aquitaine: The Facts and the Fantasies
Population: 2 908 359 (1999)
Area: 41 308 km² (7.6 % of France’s total area)
Aquitaine (or “Guyenne” or “Guienne”) now forms a region in south-western France along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain.
In Roman times, the province of Aquitania originally comprised the region of Gaul between the Pyrenees Mountains and the Garonne River, but Augustus Caesar added to it the land between the Garonne and the Loire River. At this stage the province extended inland as far as the Cevennes and covered an area about one third of the size of modern France. Aquitaine was quite thoroughly Romanized in its culture, unlike northern Gaul.
The 4th century AD saw the Roman province of Aquitaine divided into three separate provinces:
* Aquitania prima, the north-eastern portion, including the territories which later became Berry, Bourbonnais, Auvergne, Velay, Gévaudan, Rouergue, Albigeois, Quercy and Marche
* Aquitania secunda, the northwestern portion, with its capital at Burdigala (Bordeaux) and comprising the future Bordelais, Poitou, Saintonge, Angoumois and western Guienne
* Aquitania tertia or Aquitania Novempopulana, the southernmost portion, adjoining the Pyrennees and covering what later became Bigorre, Coming, Armagnac, Béarn, the Basque country, Gascony, etc.
In the 5th cen
tury, as Roman rule collapsed, the Visigoths filled the power vacuum, until they were driven out in 507 CE by the Franks, with a mixed army of mercenaries and federates, who included Burgundians. When Clothaire II died in 629, he divided the kingdom of the Franks and gave Aquitaine to his son Charibert, who set up his capital at Toulouse and strengthened his claims by marrying Gisela, the heiress of the Novempopulana; however, Frankish control was never very secure; they were primitive by comparison and had only the most rudimentary sense of urban life and the res publica. Aquitaine put up little resistance to the Moors in the 8th century, but Charles Martel drove them out, and Aquitaine passed into the Carolingian Empire.
The heirs of Charlemagne divided and redivided their inheritance, and Aquitaine passed out of the control of Neustria, the western kingdom of Charlemagne’s house, and in the 9th century the leading local counts gradually freed themselves of the vestiges of royal control. Bernard Plantevelue (ruling 868-86) and his son, William I (ruling 886-918), whose power base was in Auvergne, called themselves dukes of Aquitaine for a time. William V (ruling 995-1030) refounded a new duchy of Aquitaine, that was based in Poitou, and this power center survived. Aquitaine contained Poitiers, Auvergne, and Toulouse. In 1052 the duchy of Gascony (French: Gascogne) became part of “Aquitania”, by personal union of duke William VIII. Aquitaine achieved a high literate court culture of courteoisie that peaked under William VIII (ruled 1058-86). Duke William IX, the troubadour was a poet himself, and Poitiers became a center of the musical poetry of the troubadours. When William X died (1137), his daughter Eleanor of Aquitaine, the greatest heiress of France, married her guardian, Louis VII of France and followed him on crusade, then had the childless marriage annulled in 1152 to marry his greatest rival Henry II of England. She maintained an elegant chivalric court at Poitiers. Her sons, Richard I and John, and their successors as kings of England were dukes of Aquitaine (later known as Guienne).
Fighting during the Hundred Years War enabled Edward III of England to reconstruct the old duchy in the 1360s, but France finally conquered the remainder of it in 1453. After that the history of Aquitaine became part of the history of France.
Major cities in Aquitaine include Bordeaux, Mont-de-Marsan, Pau, and Perigueux.
Ocean in Freedom: Aquitaine
As far as you can see, a long, golden, beautiful beach on which ocean waves come and die: 270 kilometers of protected shore, from the Pointe de Grave headland to the Bidassoa river, at the foot of the Pyrenees. The Arcachon Basin’s indentation only – large inland sea which empties partly and fills up twice a day to the rhythm of the tides, unveiling channels and oyster beds, and letting for a while colorful boats lie on their keels – breaks up the straight coastline which, on 240 kilometers from the mouth of the Gironde to that of the Adour, seems drawn in a single line. Beyond the Adour and down to the Pyrenees, the shore is indented and offers small sheltered ports and inlets.
On the ocean beaches, it is nothing but the waves ebb and flow where one loves to dive into or be carried by. Aquitaine provides beginners or experienced surf-lovers with the best surfs in Europe. When the tide goes out, it uncovers “baïnes” these “shallow baths” the Aquitaine people know well and have learned to mistrust.
Family beaches and even child oriented resorts (Hourtin) or teen oriented (Carcans – Vieux Boucau), today as yesterday fashionable resorts where the exhilaration of casino gambling follows the one experienced on the waves, (Arcachon, Biarritz), huge areas where a ten-minute walk is enough to enjoy solitude and unspoiled space. The beaches are all on lifeguard duty, there one can swim safely. But whoever enjoys solitude or… the joys of naturism, only needs to move away from the main beach in order to find deserted areas where you can enjoy fresh air and sun to your liking.
Behind the dune bar that, despite man’s efforts, keeps on creeping over land, a forest was planted a century ago: more than one million hectares of maritime pines that hold the dunes. In former days, pines supplied turpentine. Nowadays, the forest is exploited for the wood used to make furniture or paper pulp (Gascony paper mills established in Facture and Mimizan remind us of it). But pines above all dispense balsamic scents, for the Aquitaine coast is also that, perfumes of pine and resin mixed with those of broom and heather, and the iodized air coming from the sea.
Form North to South, surrounded by forests, hardly indented from the coast, right behind the dunes, a string of large fresh water lakes follow one another. We call them lakes, or ponds, some of them exceed 5, 600 hectares. On their shores, sailing boat and board clubs, beaches developed for protected bathing: no wind, no waves, young children learn how to swim safely.
In the summer, each day brings a new celebration. Hard to decide where to go… But when you like the Aquitaine coast, you know how to appreciate it all year round, and quickly find that especially once the summer exuberance is gone, you can make it your own.
The Aquitaine coast has few buildings: no concrete waterfront, nor villas put side by side. The seaside resorts are separated by vast protected areas. Each resort has its own character. Many are the projection, on the seashore, of inland towns where you often find Roman chapels, the ones that, in the Middle Ages, accommodated pilgrims coming from the North on their way to Compostelle.
From North to South, you find: le Verdon-sur-Mer, Soulac-sur-Mer et l’Amélie, Montalivet-les-Bains, Hourtin-Plage, Carcans-Plage, Lacanau-Océan, Le Porge, Grand-Crohot-Océan, Lège-Cap Ferret, Arès, Andernos-les-Bains, Lanton, Audenge, Biganos, Le Teich, Gujan-Mestras, La Teste, Arcachon, Pyla-sur-mer, Biscarrosse-Plage, Mimizan-Plage, Contis-Plage, Lit et Mixe, Saint-Girons-Plage, Moliets-et-Mâa-Plage, Messanges, Vieux-Boucau-Port-d’Albret, Seignosse-le-Penon, Hossegor, Capbreton, Labenne, Ondres, Tarnos, Boucau, Anglet, Biarritz, Bidart, Guéthary, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Ciboure-Socoa, Hendaye.
"Verdana">Aquitaine: by Maison de la France
"Verdana">Aquitaine: by Maison de la France
* Route Santiago de Compostela
In 1998, France’s roads to Santiago de Compostela were listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, thereby joining Spain’s Santiago de Compostela roads which had already been listed in 1993.
Should Saint James Day, July 25th, be a Sunday, as was the case in 2004, the year is considered to be a Holy Compostela year, or a Saint-James Jubilee or Pilgrimage Year. For many, this provides the perfect opportunity to travel towards their campus “stellae,” or star field. The pilgrims of yesteryear were driven only by religious motives, whereas those of modern times have various interests. Some still undertake the trip for religious reasons, while others enjoy the simple pleasures of walking, or are driven by philosophical considerations or by the need to find peace and harmony. Irrespective of their major reason for undertaking the voyage, all pilgrims agree on one thing: the trip marks a significant event in their lives.
During the Middle Ages 25% of the European population undertook a pilgrimage. Rome and Jerusalem were too far away for most, but the Route to Compostela was accessible for rich and poor alike. Over the centuries, many churches and abbeys were built along the way, where today’s pilgrims can find a stopover location. Around the churches and abbeys, vineyards were planted to provide wine for mass. Until the 15th century, Christians always took communion with bread and wine. Several of today’s reputed wine estates were founded along the itineraries followed by pilgrims. In the Aquitaine region, for example, the Irouléguy vineyard in Basque country was already producing quality wine as early as the 13th century, when the Roncevaux abbey monks served some 50,000 meals a year to grateful pilgrims.
The roads to Santiago de Compostela offer a threefold heritage:
* Architectural heritage
* Natural sites
* An immaterial heritage: meeting and exchanging, experiencing an inner meditation process, artistic and intellectual creation, hospitality, faith, sharing.
Reputed Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho was once an anonymous pilgrim. The title of his first book, published in 1987, was The Pilgrimage. In an interview with Pyrénées Magazine in 2001, the author said: “The road to Santiago was a rite for me. The road to Santiago totally changed my life. It allowed me to understand that the extraordinary occurs in the lives of ordinary people.”
During the last Pilgrimage Year, in 1999, over 150,000 pilgrims traveled to Compostela.
Those interested in the roads to Santiago de Compostela will find further information in the brochure Chemins de Saint Jacques de Compostelle (Roads to Santiago de Compostela)
This brochure, relating the origin of the pilgrimage in the Middle Ages, was prepared by the Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrénées Regional Tourism Boards. It describes the four main routes: the Tours Route, the Vézelay Route, the Puy Route, and the Arles Route, but also the Pyrenean Foothills Route. It also describes the secondary route favored by English and northern European pilgrims, called the coastline route (also dubbed the English Route). For each itinerary, the key sites are listed. At the end of the brochure, readers will find a bibliography as well as the list of tourist information centers on the road to Compostela.
For a free copy of the brochure, contact:
Comité régional de tourisme d’Aquitaine
+33 (0)5 56 01 70 00
Bureaux de la Cité Mondiale fax: +33 (0)5 56 01 70 07
23 Parvis des Chartrons e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
33074 Bordeaux cedex http://www.tourisme-aquitaine.info
The Aquitaine tourist map published by the IGN (French National Geographic Institute) is a valuable ally. A scallop indicates the main sites along the four major routes crossing Aquitaine towards Santiago de Compostela. The map is on sale in bookshops and from newsagents. Price: 5.35 Euros.
* Events in Aquitaine linked to the roads to Compostela and to the pilgrimage…
The Moustey religious heritage and popular belief museum (on the Via Turonensis, or Tours Route) offers an exhibition on the “Pilgrims and parishioners” theme.
Parc Naturel Régional des Landes de Gascogne
+33 (0)5 58 08 31 31
fax: +33 (0)5 58 07 56 85
The Lower Navarre and Roads to Santiago Museum in Saint Palais (meeting point of the Tours, Vézelay et Puy routes) relates the story of pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela and is devoted to the arts and popular traditions of the Basque Country.
Office de tourisme (Tourist Information center)
+33 (0)5 59 65 71 78
Place Charles De Gaulle
64120 Saint Palais
Santiago Center at the Hastingues rest area, on the A64 motorway towards Bayonne is a star-shaped building, surrounded by the names of the major European towns on the roads to Santiago de Compostela. Inside, a museum area relates the pilgrimage thanks to a soundtrack and to wax pilgrim characters. An instructive stopover to discover the roads to Compostela.
For more information the Route Santiago Compostello in Aquitaine or to receive a copy of the brochure, visit http://www.tourisme-aquitaine.info.
* Aquitaine Museum Highlights
Vesuna Villa — The Gallo-Roman Museum of Périguex
After years playing sleeping beauty, Périgueux decided to pull out all the stops to reveal its splendor. In 1970 the town created a protected sector. Thanks to an urban master plan for renovation, the magnificent Renaissance houses have regained all their beauty, the winding and now uncluttered lanes o
oze with charm, the Gallo-Roman remains have been highlighted with as one of the gems the discovery of the Vesuna Villa, around which the architect Jean Nouvel built a museum with see-through walls.
The Gallo-Roman remains of Périgueux are unique in Aquitaine because of their remarkably rich variety and the exceptional quality of their preservation. The Gallo-Roman Museum offers access to the latest discoveries, situated in a perfectly preserved Gallo-Roman villa (the Domus of Les Bouquets) dating from the 1st century. Built according to a classic pattern, it is laid out around a garden surrounded by a colonnade. Moreover, the Domus of Les Bouquets boasts an exceptional collection of wall paintings, which enabled the site to be listed in 1963 as a historic monument.
Visitors can follow two complementary itineraries, with various modern facilities to help in discovering the site: audio guide, models, audiovisual presentations and computer graphics.
The “Town and Public Life” itinerary presents the historic and urban context of the Vesuna Domus, including architecture, trade, religious life and funeral rites. It also includes the old collections formerly kept in the Périgord Museum.
The “House and Private Life” itinerary is organized around the remains uncovered on the spot. Specific signs provide explanations on the site and the main elements of daily life as visitors move through the house. Washing and dressing are presented in the balneum, meals near the kitchen, heating in a room heated by a hypocaust, an underground furnace designed to heat the baths and other rooms of the house.
Information and booking:
Villa Vesuna — Musée Gallo-Roman
+33 (0)5 53 53 00 92
Rue Claude Bernard
+33 (0)5 53 05 65 60 (low season)
The Eyzies National Prehistory Museum/Musée National de la Prehistoire
The National Prehistory Museum at Eyzies de Tayac re-opened its doors to the public in the second half of 2004. New rooms have been built at the foot of the former castle, thus increasing the total surface area of the museum to 5,480 sq. yards, including 1,800 sq. yards of exhibition galleries.
Special attention has been paid to classification and display of items to make Mankind’s great adventure through the ages accessible to all. Scientific accuracy, understandable commentaries, and beautiful lighting are the watchwords that guide the museum team and the committee of internationally renowned researchers who work with them.
Collections that were kept in storage because of insufficient space, items from private collections purchased over the years, and those that had been dispersed to universities or other museums in France have now been added to the collections that were displayed in the old museum. The museum also boasts an extremely comprehensive presentation of Paleolithic archaeology in Aquitaine. It is thus a body of knowledge formerly known only to scientists which the general public will now be able to discover.
The Eyzies National Prehistory Museum has thus become the leading museum in the world for Paleolithic archaeology (pre-500,000 to pre-10,000 BC).
Information and booking:
Eyzies National Prehistory Museum
1 rue du Musée
+33 (0)5 53 06 45 45
24620 Les Eyzies de Tayac, France
fax: +33 (0)5 53 06 45 55
For more information on these museums, or details about other museums and monuments in Aquitaine, visit http://www.tourisme-aquitaine.info
* Become an Oyster Breeder in Just Two-Hours
The Bay of Arcachon is a world unto itself. The inland sea is the sole indent along the Aquitaine coastline. It moves to the pace of the tides which renew the waters of the bay twice a day. The oyster has always prospered in the haven of the clear warm waters of the Bay, where most of the oysters bred in France are born in June and July. Today, the Arcachon/Cap Ferret oyster (crassostrea gigas) has replaced the wild Gravette oyster (ostrea edulis). The Bay oyster is best enjoyed fresh, with a dash of lemon. It can also be enjoyed with a small warm sausage, buttered rye bread and… a glass of white wine.
Oyster-breeders are all deeply committed to preserving the environment, even more so given that each of them is aware of the fact that the survival of oyster-farming is inevitably intertwined with the preservation of the Arcachon Bay ecosystem.
Each visit to an oyster harbor is unique, given that oyster-farming is significantly affected by tides. Visits are organized by prior appointment. On the Cap-Ferret side of the Bay, visitors can accompany the oyster-breeder on foot to the beds which are above water at low tide (rubber boots and hats are recommended). On the Arcachon/La Teste/Gujan-Mestras side of the Bay, oyster-breeders take flat-bottomed boats to travel to their beds located in the middle of the Bay. The “work” boat excursion lasts 4 to 6 hours, and involves accompanying the oyster-breeder to his oyster-beds during his working hours. Hats and sun-block are recommended. To this day, some lady oyster-breeders protect their skins from the sun by donning the traditional “quichenotte” headdress.
A brochure has been released providing a map of the Bay of Arcachon that shows all the oyster harbors. On the other side, the brochure provides the names and contact information for all the partner oyster-breeders along the oyster route, harbor by harbor. All of these partners have signed a quality charter. The brochure also indicates those who are able to welcome visitors and to show them around in foreign languages (English, German, Spanish).
The brochure provides a host of other ideas to discover the banks of the Bay of Arcachon: in the summer, walks, cycling excursions, sea kayak outings and guided tours are organized, the oyster harbors throb to the beat of jazz evenings, and old rigging regattas attract all those who love the sea.
a free copy of the brochure, contact:
L’Association de la Route de l’Huître et du Patrimoine Maritime du Bassin d’Arcachon
(Oyster and Ocean Heritage of the Bay of Arcachon association)
41, boulevard de la Plage
Office de tourisme d’Arcachon (Arcachon tourist information center)
+33 (0)5 57 52 97 97
Office de tourisme de Lège — Cap Ferret (tourist information center)
+33 (0)5 56 03 94 49
To prepare or enhance your discovery of the oyster route, enjoy a visit to:
La Maison de l’Huître
open every day from March 1st to September 30th
Port de Larros
from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon
33470 Gujan Mestras
and from 2:30 to 6:00 p.m.
+33 (0)5 56 66 23 71
Groups: year-round, by appointment
The “House of Oysters” was created to allow the general public to discover the saga of the oyster around the Bay of Arcachon and the working conditions of yesteryear, for oyster-breeders and their wives. Visitors will often be able to meet a retired oyster-breeder, who will be happy to share his know-how and to provide interesting commentary during the visit. The visit includes a film presenting the Bay of Arcachon and oyster-farming work, along with displays where visitors will discover the oyster at its various stages of development, as well as the predators which threaten it and the fish which spawn in the Bay.
For more information on oyster farming in Aquitaine or to receive a copy of the booklet, visit http://tourisme-aquitaine.info.
* Aquitaine Parks and Gardens
Aquitaine boasts a long-standing tradition not only of formal gardens, but also of landscape gardens. Public gardens (in Bordeaux, Arcachon, Pau, Bergerac and Nérac, to name but a few towns) are ideal locations for family outings, for after school or over the weekend. Teenagers and adults alike enjoy crossing them for their daily jog, or indulging in a quiet reading moment, amidst trees and flowers from all four corners of the globe, now well adapted to our climate. Access to public parks and gardens is free, and provides a restful break, in particular for those traveling with children.
An increasing number of private gardens are now open to visitors. Each has its own style: topiary gardens, water gardens, water-lily gardens, vegetable gardens given over to the produce of yesteryear, medieval gardens and medicinal plant gardens. Among the gardens most recently opened to the public (in 2003), Pyrénées Roses is entirely devoted to the queen of flowers. The itinerary gives free rein to the 5 senses, with 5 themes: seeing, lightly touching, breathing in, quivering and celebrating. The richness and diversity of Aquitaine gardens enable plant and flower lovers to organize their own perfect itinerary, with gourmet breaks along the way.
Sud Ouest Editions have already published three user-friendly guides (21 x 12 cm), compiled by two garden-loving Bordeaux natives, Philippe Prévôt for the text and Richard Zébulon for the photographs. The history of each garden is presented, and the author gives his own tips. A practical information section indicates addresses and contact information, as well as the date of creation of the garden, and visiting terms.
Guides already published by Sud-Ouest Editions:
Guide des parcs et jardins de Dordogne (Dordogne parks and gardens)
Guide des parcs et jardins de Gironde (Gironde parks and gardens)
Guide des parcs et jardins du Béarn et du Pays Basque (Béarn and Basque Country parks and gardens)
Price indication: 6.90 Euros per guide
For more information on parks and gardens in Aquitaine or to receive a copy of the booklet, visit http://tourisme-aquitaine.info.
TODAY’S CURRENCY UPDATE
1 U.S. Dollar equals 0.786469 Euros (0.792979 Euros last week)
1 Euros equals 1.27151 U.S. Dollars (1.26107 Dollars last week)
1 U.K. Pound equals 1.43736 Euros (1.44434 Euros last week)
1 Euro equals 0.695721U.K. Pounds (0.692360 Pounds last week)
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FOR SALE: FPI HOT PROPERTY OF THE WEEK
Each week French Property Insider features a range of properties which we believe are on the market at the time of writing. These properties are featured in order to give readers a sample of what is currently available and a working example of prices being asked in various regions of France and districts of Paris.
As we are not a real estate agency, these properties do not constitute a sales listing. For those readers seriously interested in finding property in Paris or France, you can retain our services to do the whole thing for you. For more information, visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/propertyconsultation.html
*** Department 64 LE
Lescar, old mill transformed and restored into a Bed and Breakfast with lots of charm and a park at the edge of the water. Calm and serene. 8 bedrooms, 5 hectares of land.
Asking Price: 1,575,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** Department 24 SARLAT LA CANEDA 7 rooms – 210m².
SARLAT, 5 minutes from the center of town, but hidden and unique, situated in a pretty park. 5 bedrooms, 5600 square meters of land.
Asking Price: 420,200 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** Department 24 VERGT 8 rooms – 250m².
Superb Périgourdine traditional home with six bedrooms, 50 m2 living room, good condition. 1 hectare of land.
Asking Price: 323,805 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** Department 24 LEGUILLAC DE CERCLES 4 rooms – 112m².
BRANTOME Old farm renovated with two connecting barns, pleasant garden and unspoiled view.3 bedrooms.
Asking Price: 244,225 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** Department 47 LE PASSAGE 5 rooms – 135m²
Stone house from the end of the 19th century in a park of 1800 m2. Lots of character comprised of a salon, dining room, kitchen, maison de caractère comprised of a salon, dining room, wash-house, storeroom, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, terrace, garage and outbuildings.
1800 M2 of land, southern exposure.
Asking Price: 210,400 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
PARLER PARIS APRES MIDI
EVERY SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, November 9th, 2004
This is your opportunity to meet every 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.
Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais
96, rue des Archives at the corner of rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris
Mtro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, Rpublique or Arts et Mtiers
For a detail description of the past meeting and for more information
about Parler Paris Aprs Midi, visit:
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, visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apartments
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- To access this password protected page:
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The password is: paris1001
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- To receive your free French Leaseback Report or the Paris Property Report, click on
For all International Living managed apartments in Paris, take a look at http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apartments or http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/longterm.html for long term apartments.
For rent by the week or longer
Two lovely 2 or 3-bedroom apartments — 1st arrondissement, same building. Just minutes away: the Louvre, Tuilleries, Place Vendome and more. French style gives you a true taste of Paris. Fully equipped makes your Paris stay effortless, comfortable and memorable.
Complete information at http://www.youlloveparis.com
HELPFUL CONVERSIONS FOR REAL ESTATE
1 square meter = 10.7639104 square feet
1 hectare = 2.4710538 acres
For more conversions, refer to: http://www.onlineconversion.com/
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Copyright 2004, Adrian Leeds Group, LLC