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 Paris' Hôtel de Ville

Nos Meilleurs Voeux Pour 2019 (Best Wishes for 2019)

French Property Insider
Volume XVII, Issue 3
Thursday, January 17, 2019 • Paris, France

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Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,

Nos Meilleurs Voeux Pour 2019

Maire of the 3rd District, Pierre AidenbaumMaire of the 3rd District, Pierre Aidenbaum

Deputy Mayor, Emmanuel Grégoire, at the Carreaux du TempleDeputy Mayor, Emmanuel Grégoire, at the Carreaux du Temple

Paris Population 1801-2018

Paris Housing StatisticsParis Housing Statistics

Mayor of Paris, Anne HidalgoMayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo

At the onset of the new year, every year, the City of Paris sends out its good wishes ("voeux" in French) to the people with gatherings inviting the public, or at least "some" of the public. The Mayor of the 3rd arrondissement, Pierre Aidenbaum, hosted a public event at the Carreaux du Temple last Saturday where he spoke briefly with his municipal team at his side. The First Deputy Mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Grégoire, spoke on behalf of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, as she was held up by other events taking place in the city.

In his address to the residents who gathered there for the well wishes, the "paroles" (spoken words) by the illustrious city officials, and the free champagne, M. Grégoire made a point to discuss the loss of population Paris has experienced since the 1960's and blamed much of it on the increase of short-term rental apartments. That's when I wanted to hiss and boo, but thought better of it! What a blatant distortion of the facts!

Here are the true facts: According to The World Population Review, the city has been declining in population and can now claim about 2.2 million residents, while the "banlieu" (suburbs) are growing with 10.5 million residents. Sure, after World War I, Paris reached 3 million inhabitants, but for good reason: access to goods and services. The decline started  after that and by the 1960s, reached the 2.2 million people mark.

Paris wasn't the only city to see declines. New York and London were also feeling the pinch as people found larger and less expensive accommodations outside of these major cities. I also contend that moves by companies to the suburbs where they also found more attractive corporate and commercial real estate contributed to the move outside of the cities by their employees. Again, according to The World Population Review, "People tend to immigrate to the city when they are young, yet once they reach retirement age, they migrate to the countryside in order to live a more peaceful and less expensive life."

In other words, the increase of short-term rental apartments, which makes up a tiny fraction of the city's housing pool, cannot be legitimately blamed for the city's decline...yet, the audience ate up his words believing it to be true, while I knew better and was subsequently seething. The true numbers according to the INSEE as of 2018: Paris has 1,142,877 main residences, 112,651 secondary homes (8.2 percent) and 110,909 vacant homes. Short-term rental properties are now only legal for main residences. The city's complaint has more to do with the number of secondary residences which they claim have been taken off the market for primary residents. Now that short-term rental is illegal for secondary residences, one might argue that these homes are left vacant and therefore increasing the number of vacant properties.

I left before Madame Hidalgo arrived — about 2:30 p.m., which I later heard from M. Aidenbaum — then the two of them went off to Café Charlot for a late lunch themselves! (I have seen the two of them there on other occasions.) A member of the Socialist Party since 1994, Hidalgo was the First Deputy Mayor of Paris under Bertrand Delanoë (2001–2014). She spoke at a similar large gathering last night at the Paris Hôtel de Ville. The other mayors of Paris, of all 20 districts, stood at her side on the podium in the grand ballroom of the City Hall as she talked about the progress the city has made during the past year and what she sees as its future.

Madame Hidalgo is an excellent extemporaneous speaker, barely taking a breath in a clear and concise manner. She talked about her most important announcements and goals for the city: the environment including further incentives to reduce the number of cars while increasing non-polluting transport systems (using the word "respire" many times during her address), free transport to school for children under 11 and other benefits for kids, new measures concerning the housing of low income families and the homeless, improving the cleanliness of the city and an increase in cultural institutions and availability of the arts to the public.

While one cannot argue with any of these admirable goals for the city of Paris, she barely mentioned economic goals and aspirations for the people. As a result, I was uninspired.

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds - Paris, France (1994)

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group


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