The luxurious two bedroom fractional ownership apartment known as "Le Palace des Vosges" feels more like a house in the country, but is conveniently located right in the middle of Paris’ most elegant square, the Place des Vosges. If this is the year you plan to purchase your Paris pied-à-terre, Le Palace des Vosges is the perfect property – it is finely decorated by Interior Architect, Martine de Matteo, and furnished with every luxurious amenity. There are just a few shares left. Become one of the happy owners of Le Palace des Vosges before it's too late.
In the summer of 2010, one of our best real estate agents called to ask, "How would you like to be the first to see an apartment for sale in one of the oldest buildings in Paris?" (There are three that make this claim.*)
Naturally, not only did I agree, but I RAN to meet him at 11-13, rue François Miron. The middle-aged structures stand out from the adjacent architecture and reek of old-world charm. They are impossible to miss and tourists stop to regard them every few minutes.
Paris historic plaque at the rue François Miron buildingFrançois Miron apartment interiorView from the rue François Miron apartmentHalf-tember building at rue VoltaThe Nicolas Flamel house
"The structure is of wood, composed of solid wood beams and pillars that are often carved out of one tree. The walls have afterwards been completed by filling the gaps between the structure with unbaked bricks, plaster or cob. After the 1666 London fire, Louis XIV imposed coating all facades with plaster in order to avoid, or limit the propagation of a potential fire. The wood exteriors had thus been covered for several centuries before uncovering them some time in the 20th-century. These houses have been transformed many times, notably in 1966 by the architect R.Hermann."
Inside the famous 15th-century half-timbered houses, which were two combined to make one apartment building, the hallways had been modernized and an elevator added. The apartment, a studio of a mere 18 square meters (193.75 square feet) on the third floor (European), had exposed beams and half-timbered walls. The two large square windows, south-facing, not only allowed an inpouring of light, but from them were beautiful views of the street and the buildings just opposite. It could not have been sweeter.
I wrote an offer letter on a napkin on behalf of a client and 'locked it up' until the client could wing his way over to France to confirm the purchase. I told the agent that if the client didn't purchase the apartment, I personally would! When it comes to the old rule of 'location, location, location,' this piece of property was at the top of the low-risk investment list and knowing how well it would rent for vacation rental, felt confident it would be worth owning for many lifetimes.
The client flew in to Paris and loved it, but his 'significant other,' offering an opinion from the other side of the Atlantic, didn't think it was large enough to satisfy her taste or that of her two dogs. They declined it.
With a dozen or so potential buyers waiting 'with bated breath' for the buyer to forfeit the apartment, another agent within the same agency 'sold it out from under me' and I was more than unhappy to lose it. In fact, it took years before I fully forgave the agent for allowing me to lose it.
Then, last week, the same agent called and asked, "How would you like to have an opportunity to buy the same apartment you saw three years ago in one of the oldest buildings in Paris?"
The couple who had purchased it three years ago are divorcing and for this reason, must sell it prematurely. Not only did I agree to see it again, but I let him know that this time, there would be 'no games' -- we wanted first right of refusal to make up for the last time when we lost it!
The current owners had done a bit of renovation to it, and while it wasn't to our taste, it was an overall improvement. One phone call to one of our clients seeking a good investment property sold the apartment sight unseen. His offer, a few thousand euros less than asking price was readily accepted and now the wheels are turning to prepare the pre-sale agreement for signing.
The client arrives this week to confirm the purchase. Our associate Interior Architect and Designer, Martine di Mattéo, and I are already planning for its renovation and decoration to turn it into a cozy luxury vacation nest in one of the oldest buildings in the city. This is going to be one of those projects we can really pour our hearts into!
Sunday, Martine and I make our twice-annual visit (September 6-10, 2013 and January 24-28, 2014) to the Maison et Object Trade Fair to get ideas and choose furnishings. If you have never been, you may want to put this on your list of things to do in the "City of Bright Ideas" -- as it's one of the most comprehensive and amazing displays of home furnishings you can possibly experience. It's from here the ideas will come that will "turn a sow's ear (a 15th-century studio) into a silk purse (a luxury apartment)."
*The three houses in Paris thought to be the oldest are the houses at 11-13 rue François Miron (4th), the half-timbered house at 3, rue Volta (3rd) and the Nicolas Flamel house at 51, rue de Montmorency (3rd).
P.S. When buying an investment property overseas, the constant fluctuations in the exchange rate are an important factor that can impact the overall cost. We work with currency exchange specialists Moneycorp and World First to help you make the most of your Dollar or Sterling when buying property in France. Find out how you can make your money go further -- visit Currency Exchange.
PARLER PARIS APARTMENTS
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.
On the third floor of an 18th-century building in a great Marais location near the corner of rue Charlot on rue de Poitou, La Fleur de Poitou has been fully transformed into a regal home away from home. Renovated from stem to stern in 2011 by Interior Architect Martine di Mattéo, the apartment is a colorful and shining example of what is possible when good taste and savoir faire are combined.