The Golden Years of France
Living like royalty…
(FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY)
December 7, 2006
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
They say we get wiser as we get older. And instead we just get discarded. That’s what’s happening here in France where dozens of historical properties are being sold off to pay old debts. Today we visit a recent article in the New York Times about this very practical solution to an immediate problem…turning "or" into "argent" or gold into silver (money!) along with properties for sale that should turn your head and empty your pocketbooks.
Taking the golden years a little further, take a look at the Viager solution — a win-win for many seniors and investors, except the inevitable wait…waiting to "kick the bucket" and break the lease.
Paris Bouge…Paris is moving and shaking daytime and nighttime — the Métro is extending its hours for night owls, the 3rd district is offering free Internet to everyone day and night and the city budget outlines their program to upgrade the quality of life in the City of Light.
Bad news for those, like myself, who were born in the territory of the Louisiana Purchase…no free rides and no free citizenships in France without the usual effort.
Read on about these issues and much more in today’s 47th issue of FPI — winding down to the end of 2006.
Editor, French Property Insider
P.S. Scroll down to read more about our two new surprise presenters at the upcoming Living and Investing in France Real Estate Seminar on December 29th! Hope you can make it.
Volume IV, Issue 47, December 7, 2006
In this issue:
* French Historical Buildings For Sale
* "Dying" to Own a Paris Apartment
* The Viager Way to Own French Property
* Paris Extends Transit Hours
* Q&A: Changes to Louisiana Purchase Provision
* "Sneak Peek" at the Paris 2007 Budget
* Free WiFi in the 3rd Arrondissement
* Living and Investing in France Real Estate Seminar December 29, 2006 – New! More Presenters Added to Schedule!
* Vive la France Property Show, London, January 17-21, 2007
* FPI Property Consultation, Search and Relocation Solutions
* Today’s Currency Update from Moneycorp
* Next Parler Paris Après-Midi: December 12, 2006
* Hot Property Picks: Paris Hôtels Particuliers
* Leasebacks: Cap Affaires Antibes, France, Mediterranean Coast, Antibes
* Managing Your FPI Subscription
* Classified Advertising: Parler Paris Apartments
France is Selling Historical Buildings to Pay Off Debt
By Craig S. Smith / The New York Times
Published: December 1, 2006
From the International Herald Tribune
PARIS: For sale: history, with a view. France is selling off dozens of historic properties in Paris and the provinces, using the proceeds to move government bureaucrats into less-expensive properties and to help pay off the national debt. So far it has unloaded dozens of châteaux, villas and "hôtels particuliers," the stone mansions of Paris’s golden age.
Foreigners, including pension funds and private equity firms, are so far the biggest buyers. For all their Gallic pride, the French seem happy to have anyone take them off taxpayers’ hands…
To read the entire article, visit: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/01/news/treasures.php
Waiting to Die…But Not Necessarily
By Adrian Leeds
It’s a terrible feeling, waiting for someone to die to your benefit. That’s what the following article is all about…the French Viager. You’ll learn that it’s a way for someone to sell their apartment before they die and still have use of it until their death and a way for someone to purchase it before his death at a reduced cost. Both parties win, in spite of the inevitable.
Very recently I ma
de an offer to buy a property "en viager"
; and now await the decision from the DNID (Direction Nationale d’Interventions Domaniales) with whom the property is held. It’s one of those very French and zany stories…
An elderly man sold his apartment "en viager" to a man…who died, leaving it to his children to inherit. Unfortunately for all, the deceased man hadn’t paid the tax bills and the children didn’t want to take responsibility for them, so it fell into the hands of the State, namely the DNID.
The apartment has a large terrace overlooking the street, so it’s highly desirable. The Syndic of the building has issues with the terrace because it was never recorded on the deed as it was created (basically) illegally, and therefore has never been assessed for copropriété (homeowners’ fees). The Syndic wants this resolved as soon as possible.
I came upon the property by sheer fluke, and I can’t divulge much about it’s location for fear of others learning about it and outbidding me! The offer I have made to the DNID is about one-half of what it would sell at market value. Acquiring a property of this kind at this price would be a big bargain, but of course, there I would be awaiting the resident’s death.
Truth be told, the elderly gentleman is no longer living there, but allows family and friends to use the flat. Options to acquire the apartment sooner include offering him a cash settlement to cancel the lease or investigate if any of his behavior has broken the lease, e.g. proof of his non-residence/use! There are attorneys who specialize in this work, but proof is not all that easy to find. If you can show there is no electricity or phone bill, it helps, and I’m sure there are other tricks of the trade to learn about.
Meanwhile, I keep my fingers crossed, because even if I have to wait years to call it my own, at half the price, I won’t mind!
The French Way
From The Times Online
If you’ve found the perfect villa in Provence but can’t quite afford it, this ingenious system could be the answer, says Paula Hawkins
Gone are the days when you could snap up a small chateau for the price of a semi in Tooting — French property is not the bargain it was. Property prices have risen across France by about 8 per cent a year for the past decade, but in the regions most loved by the British — Provence, the Dordogne, Bordeaux and Brittany — house price inflation has been particularly strong. Homes remain affordable by UK standards, but finding the perfect bolt hole across the Channel now means a little more work.
One way of finding cheap property is to scour less fashionable destinations in the center of the country where foreign buyers have not yet pushed prices out of reach. But if your heart is set on a chic little apartment in Cannes, then you may want to consider buying “en viager.”…
To read the entire article, visit:
Turning into a Pumpkin
By Adrian Leeds
Excerpt from Parler Paris
Monday, December 4, 2006
Night owls will be happy to learn that FINALLY (!) the RATP is launching their new program on December 23rd to keep the Métro trains on their rails Saturday nights and holiday evenings until 2:15 a.m., one hour later than the current (and antiquated) schedule! Friday nights are not to be forgotten, either — beginning this coming July 1st, 2007, they will be added to the late night scene and as of January 1st, 2007, 30% more night buses will be maneuvering the streets of Paris and the suburbs. "En plus," 500 taxis will be riding the moonlit streets, too, answering to a new phone number unique for all those waiting at stations.
This is big news for all public transportationists who have had to rush to catch the last train after a movie or say fast goodbyes after a great dinner at a friend’s. Especially on occasions such as New Year’s Eve! Imagine having to catch the Métro home before the strike of midnight when we worry it might turn into a pumpkin!?
French Nationality and the Louisiana Purchase Provision
Q and A by Jean Taquet
I am an American citizen and was born in the state of Louisiana. I work for the French Education Department, Ministère de l’Education Nationale, as an English teacher’s assistant. I have read that the fact that I was born in a former French colony or territory enables me to ask for French nationality without having to wait for the minimum required five years of lawful residency in France. Can you tell me more about this provision of French law? Indeed I searched the French official Web sites and found this one http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/ stating that the law has been changed and that this specific provision no longer exists.The July 25th 2006 law called Loi Sarkozy, drastically changed the provision "article 21-19" of the Civil Code, also called the Napoleonic Code. Does that mean that I am too late to submit my request based on this provision or do you think that I still stand a chance? I recently went to the prefecture and the civil servant did not even know about this provision, and told me that I could try but that this request would be denied if it is reviewed.
In France, there are thr
ee possible scenarios
regarding a new piece of legislation just being passed. So some laws are passed to be applied right away and "les décrets d’application" which are the ruling taken at the level of the « ministère » are quickly issued.
Some other laws are passed with a definitive date for enforcement, very often January 1st of the coming year. This allows people time get ready for these new rules. Hopefully "les décrets d’application" will be issued on time but it is not always the case.
Then a few laws are passed as if they were enforceable right away but after a while it is obvious that there is a tolerance period from a few months to several years before all the provisions are fully implemented. This a French specialty that drives foreigners crazy; one recent example was the legislation about smoking in public places which was passed on January 10th 1991 was finally fully enforced about ten years later.
The bad news in your case is that the law regulating immigration was immediately enforced and the procedures as well as the requirements could be changed right away. So to answer your question regarding your chances of having your request accepted based on the old law, your chances are simply ZERO.
Apart from the law here is the issue of the civil servant’s position. This is very common and a lot of foreigners and also some French people get misled by the information they are getting from the prefecture and the civil servants in general. If you ask a technical question regarding their domain of expertise, then their answers are pertinent and their advice reliable. If you ask them vague questions, or their opinions, or questions outside their area of expertise, then the problem is that you will never get a simple answer like : "I do not know" or "I am not allowed to express a personal opinion" or "your question is too vague to be properly answered." Then, on top of that, come the guidelines they get from their management to direct people in one direction or the other depending on political decisions made on the "ministère" level. So I can translate the answer you got as stating, "this provision was not popular and we have been told to discourage people from using it and now I can assure you that your request will be denied for sure no matter how good the file you have put together is." Knowing that the review of such a request takes close to two years, I really do not see the point of your starting a procedure you know will be denied while preventing you from requesting it when you better comply with the requirements in the future. So, for this reason, I advise you not to submit any request for now and to wait until you have five years of legal residence in France before even considering if you should submit this request.
I would like to address this defunct provision so that its purpose and logic are better understood. Indeed the provision, "article 21-19 alinéa 5" stated that people who are born in a former French colony or a territory can apply for French nationality without having to wait for the five years. All the other requirements are applicable which are among other things that:
1 – they have a legal French residency and
2 – they have been fully integrated into French society.
The logic of this provision was that, someone born in a Francophone country which has a French school system and a French culture already has all the background to immediately assimilate into French society and therefore should be allowed to ask right away for French nationality. Most of the Francophone countries acquired their independence in the late 50′s and early 60′s. Therefore, for a decade or so this provision made perfect sense. To make an understatement, the way immigration policy is viewed and implemented has changed since the 70′s. Also, these African countries have been independent for so long therefore have not retained much of the French culture aside from keeping French as their national language.
I am not sure that Cajun language and culture can be considered to be widespread throughout the state, or that it can be seen as being closely related to French modern culture. Therefore considering the fact that Louisiana has retained close to nothing from France, your chances of getting your French nationality without spending numerous years in France to acquire French culture and be able to fit in French society were ZERO even under the old provision.
So, should you be interested in verifying if my advice is accurate, you should then go back to the prefecture and specifically ask if the provision "article 21-19 alinéa 5" has been taken out by the last piece of legislation and what are the current guidelines for proving adequate assimilation into French society.
The ones I am familiar with are:
– Being an employee and rarely changing jobs and employers,
– Having an excellent track record regarding declaring and paying taxes,
– For someone of your profile, having a French university diploma,
– Having an excellent level of French, as well as having a good knowledge of past and current French culture,
– Having secured a decent lodging and avoiding multiple moves, even within the same city.
The request must give the impression that you have put your life long anchor in France such that you deserve this nationality.
Considering all this, I strongly advise you to secure your residency with a carte de resident valid ten years before envisioning acquiring French nationality.
Jean Taquet is a French jurist and associate member of the Delaware Bar Association, specializing in civil, criminal and commercial law. He frequently gives courses about the legal system in France and regularly speaks at the Living in France Conferences in the U.S. and Paris.
He is also well known for his informative Q and A columns in past Paris Voice magazines, which can be purchased in one document as "The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France," available at http://www.insiderparisguides.com/answers/index.html (Don’t forget, you get a discount as a subscriber!)
To subscribe to his monthly newsletter, ema
il Jean Taqu
et at email@example.com
To make an appointment with Jean Taquet for his consultation services:
Phone: Cell: 06.16.81.48.07 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Budgeting a Good Hard Look at Paris
By Adrian Leeds
Excerpt from Parler Paris
Wednesday, December 6, 2006
My "little birdie" at the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall), privileged me with a copy of the city’s budget for 2007. He tells me that only a few have access to this information and today, I share it with you. (I don’t believe he will mind.)
It opens with a message I find very "French" — "Solidarité."
You know the French motto, "Liberté, égalité, fraternité," ("Liberty, equality, fraternity")? This was the slogan of the French Revolution, with one small idea added at the time: Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort! (Freedom, equality, brotherhood, or death!). Today, I propose that the slogan be changed to "Liberté, égalité, fraternité and solidarité."
"Paris, ville solidaire" is item number one of the budget, with a 70% increase between 2000 and 2007 devoted to this cause — to level out the vast differences between the rich and poor, to ensure that EVERYONE (including the aged, the handicapped, the blind, etc.) has proper housing and environment, adequate health care and access to emergency care. It further describes the need to abolish discrimination on every level including anti-semitism, racism, homophobia and efforts to maintain the memory of the deportation of the Jews during World War II…all described in great detail.
Part II prepares us for Paris’ future. The budget will allow for new openings in day-care centers and nurseries, particularly in the poorer districts. New schools will be built and existing schools will be upgraded. Unemployment will be addressed by a variety of different solutions to vitalize the economy, make job hunting and finding easier, enabling the unemployed with more skills, encouraging new business start-ups, promoting tourism, favoring attendance of universities, providing public WiFi/Internet access…and there is that word again — "action international solidaire"…meaning a solidarity with other great cities of the world.
Part III is about improving the city politically and environmentally. One million euros will be devoted to the "Conseils de Quartier" program which enables the residents to have more of a voice, regardless of their citizenship status. New associations will be encouraged to fortify and build the communities, including more collective efforts with the suburbs and Ile-de-France.
Paris will undergo major renovation in areas such as Les Halles, Des Batignolles and reducing the nuisances of the noisy and polluted "Périphérique" (outer ring road). More public transportation will be added including the new Tramway service, new bus lines, prolonging the hours of service of the Métro and adding more features to accommodate the handicapped. Biking will be encouraged and more parking places will be added. Many more taxi licenses will be offered and new taxi lanes built. Car parking costs for residents and local merchants will be reduced. Twenty-one-hundred new posts for security officers will be created and the fire department will undergo modernization.
More hectares of land will be devoted to parks and green space. Trees are being planted, playgrounds added, pigeon coops installed to control their proliferation. Noise level is of concern along with the quality of the water and keeping the city streets clean of debris and animal waste.
Culture is not forgotten as museums will be renovated, reopened, rejuvenated and big cultural projects will be funded. The young will be culturally educated and creativity will be encouraged. New sports facilities will be built, swimming pools opened, tennis courts and stadiums are planned for the future.
Part IV is what we’ve all been waiting for…to stabilize fiscal taxes so that our personal tax investment is not only prudent, but profitable. Taxes will not increase in 2007, but finding ways to generate more tax and spending it in more meaningful ways counts.
Sure, we pay a lot of tax living in France. Everything we purchase has 19.6% Value Added Tax included in the price, about 10% more than the U.S. sales tax. Employers pay about 50% of their employees’ salaries to cover their social security benefits (health care, retirement, unemployment benefits). Employees pay about 40% of their earnings to the French government.
But…health care is virtually free and guaranteed for all. Education through university is free of charge (and the quality is top notch!). Annual property taxes are as low as to be less than .001% (compared to 1% to 3.5% in the U.S.). Public transportation service is excellent and inexpensive. Art and culture surrounds us on a daily bases and is available to all, free of charge.
So, while we’re complaining about the high taxes and the complex bureaucratic systems that frustrate our American default mode for simplicity and ease of movement, we have to stop and take a good hard look at all that this social democracy has to offer.
That’s what the city budget did for me today…make me stop and take a good hard look.
WiFi Pour Tous (WiFi For All) in the 3rd Arrondissement
By Adrian Leeds
Beginning December 13th, 2
006, the big exp
eriment begins to provide free WiFi Internet access to EVERYONE unlimited and free of charge…one more reason we love Le Marais!
For more information,
Adrian Leeds, Parler Paris, French Property Insider and John Howell & Co. of International Law Partnership Present the…
Living and Investing in France
Real Estate Seminar
December 29, 2006
Chez Jenny, Paris, France
If you’ve always dreamed of moving to France, starting a new life in Paris, enjoying a "pied-à-terre" of your own part of the year or perhaps investing in property in France, this power-packed seminar is a MUST. Hosted by Adrian Leeds, Editor of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre® and French Property Insider weekly e-zine and John Howell, lead attorney for John Howell & Co., International Law Partnership, London, this one day in Paris will put you on the right footing to make it happen!
We are very lucky to have two new presenters added to the roster, both of whom will be expanding on the idea of how to make your hard-earned savings grow, grow, grow, while enjoying every penny during your lifetime…particularly in such a beautiful place as Paris and France.
Let me introduce to you a new partner in John Howell’s International Law Partnership, Graham Platt. Platt is not only a qualified solicitor in England, but is also an admitted "avocat" (lawyer) in France who specializes in French Law and is an acknowledged expert in advising on property transactions in France. He is also completely bi-lingual in French and English.
For the first time, he will be joining John Howell during some of the most vital presentations!:
* Why Invest in Property in France?…
* How to Buy and Own Property in France!…
* and How to Minimize Your Tax and Maximize the Benefits!
Another surprise to top off an already impressive line-up of experts is Tarek Richey’s participation. A financial advisor for Raymond James Financial Services, he has lived in Expat communities his whole life having spent his younger years in the Middle and Far East, college years in the U.K. where he attended Wellington College continuing to the U.S.A. to study at Washington College, Maryland. Richey was District Manager of SunAmerica Securities before joining Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. where he is now focusing primarily on tax efficient retirement and income solutions — international wealth management with tax minimization and asset protection strategies to U.S. Expat individuals and business owners.
That may seem like a mouthful, but his clear and concise presentation will be the last and appropriately so: "How to Outlive Your Income!" — covering topics such as global tax issues, asset allocation and hedging the dollar/euro so you never outlive your income.
You will learn how to…
* Why Invest in Property in France?
* Find Your Dream Apartment in Paris or Home in the Country!
* Buy and Own Property in France!
* How to Obtain a Mortgage!
* Reduce Your Currency Exchange Risk!
* How to Minimize Your Tax and Maximize the Benefits!
* Rent Your French Property for Profit!
* Plus, answer all the rest of your questions during a Q and A panel with the presenters.
The Seminar Location
Historical Chez Jenny
39 boulevard du Temple
Place de la République
"An authentic Brasserie with a soul, a style and a history."
At the colonial exhibition in 1930, Robert Jenny had a kiosk where he sold produce from his region: salt-pickled cabbage choucroute, sausages and beer. Appreciating Parisian life and noting that the fine Alsatian products attracted the Parisians, this native of Strasbourg sought to set up business in the capital. He found just the right place not far from the place de la République, at number 39 boulevard du Temple. This was the hall where the former Victor ball was held. The quarter was lively, even though it no longer deserved the reputation of «Crime Boulevard» that it had had in the 18th century, when the plays billed at the many theatres in the area mainly drew inspiration from the items in the news.
The seminar includes a three-course lunch with Kir, wine and coffee!
Menu (subject to change):
* Kir Vin Blanc à l’Edelzwicker d’Alsace and Bretzels
* Terrine de Canard aux Pistaches, Chutney de Fruits Secs
* Suprême de Volaille à la Moutarde, Nid d’Alsace aux Légumes or Onglet de Veau à l’Echalote, Gratin Dauphinois
* Crème Brûlée Caramélisée à la Cassonade
* Wine or Mineral Water, Coffee
French Property Exhibition
Vive La France
January 19-21, 2007
THE UK’S NO.1 FOR BUYING IN FRANCE
French Property News are once again holding a French property exhibition at "Vive La France" – a celebration of all things French.
Ticket Prices: £8 in advance, £12 on the door
Tickets available from : 0870 013 0730 or
Over 175 exhibitors – Estate Agents, Builders, Developers, Architects plus financial and legal advice.
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TODAY’S CURRENCY UPDATE
Visit the FPI Web site and click on the link on the left panel or click here for Currency Convertor by Moneycorp Global Money Services: http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/moneycorpconvertor.html
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Parler Paris Après-Midi
NEXT MEETING: December 12, 2006 AND EVERY SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
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
Métro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, République or Arts et Métiers
HOT PROPERTY PICKS: Paris Hôtels Particuliers
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/consultation
*** Paris, 3rd Arrondissement, 2 rooms, approx. 55m²
Two room apartment on the first floor of a hôtel particulier built in 1693 and recently restored in its entirety. Offers a beautiful living room, separate kitchen, lovely bedroom with walk-in closet and bathroom. In perfect condition.
Asking Price: 556,000 € + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
*** Paris, 14t
h Arrondissement, 3 rooms, appro
In a lovely old hôtel particulier, this apartment is on the second floor. With a large living room and dining room, separate kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, toilet and cellar.
Asking Price: 840,000 € + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
*** Paris, 3rd Arrondissement, 5 rooms, approx. 133m²
In a 17th century hôtel particulier, 5 room apartment on a quiet paved courtyard. 4.6m high ceilings, large rooms, 2 parking spots. Southern exposure.
Asking Price: 1,380,000 € + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
LEASEBACK NEWS FROM IMOINVEST
CAP AFFAIRES ANTIBES
France, Mediterranean Coast, Antibes
Studio 23m² to 28m² €135,000 to €160,000
One Bedroom 33m² to 39m² €188,000 to €223,000
GUARANTEED RENTAL INCOME UP TO: 4.85%
MINUTES FROM CANNES AND SOPHIA ANTIPOLIS
Between Nice and Cannes in the South of France on the French Riviera only a fifteen minute drive from Nice International Airport, ten minute drive to Cannes centre and the important Sophia Antipolis Technopole. Antibes is referred to as "The French Silicon Valley," with it’s attractive and active town life, popular with "foreigners" from Paris and the north of France, non-French, and with the local population. There are plenty of charming streets for exploring, restaurants of all types and prices, and lots of authentic little shops.
Offering strong profitability and easy access, the Residence Cap Affaires – Antibes is ideal for investors, businessmen, and tourists alike, who would like to get in at the ground floor of this fast growing business centre in the South of France. The residence offers comfort and services aimed at meeting the needs of its guests. Investors will benefit from a full VAT refund and a guaranteed rental income for the length of the commercial lease. Please take advantage of this exclusive preview and pre-reserve. This property will be released next week with full details and pricing.
SEEKING A MORTGAGE IN FRANCE?
Let us help you secure a mortgage in France at a competitive interest rate. Visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/loan for more information or contact Adrian@AdrianLeeds.com
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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/
Welcome to your home in Paris. Home is how you will feel in a private apartment in Paris that has the "seal of approval" from Parler Paris Apartments and me, Adrian Leeds.
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***NEW SPECIAL RATES FOR DECEMBER!
"Les Arts et Métiers"
Rue Bailly, 3rd Arrondissement
Spacious One-Bedroom Apartment
Architecturally designed and very cozy, this spacious one-bedroom apartment is situated in the heart of Paris on a tiny L-shaped street just facing the Métro entrance for Arts et Métiers and the Musée and Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers on rue Bailly.
Price (everything included):
Night/150€ to 200€
Week/875€ to 1155€
Month/2700€ to 3000€
Pictures and more details available here: http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apartments/rentals/artsetmetiers.html
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