Blown Away by Bobos
by Adrian Leeds
Thursday, September 18, 2003
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
Last night I saw the most beautiful apartment I’ve ever seen in Paris…of contemporary style, that is. It could easily have been in Los Angeles atop the Hollywood Hills or in Miami on the beach. But it wasn’t. It was in the most unlikely of spots — a small unassuming street in the 10th arrondissement, which is one of the lowest cost per square meter areas of the city…2894 euro per square meter compared to the city’s average of 3619.
The two Frenchmen who have poured their heart, soul, creative talent, time, energy and sense of esthetic values into it are real estate agents…so no wonder they were able to find this 300 square meter, two-level ex-print shop with the entire wall on the street made of glass block. Even the old sign remains out front, so no one from the outside is any the wiser.
They have rented it on occasion to appreciative tenants…for 990 Euro a night. Compared to a suite at the Ritz, it’s a big bargain. You enter on the upper level which is the Rez-de-Chausée of the building. Only about two-thirds of this level is living space, as the rear part is entirely open to the lower level with an atrium glass roof to light the entire space. The floors are of a rich deep red Brazilian wood parquet with a lot of variety in its grainy patterns and have been polished to a lush patina. A metal walkway connects the entry to the master bedroom, past a metal caged elevator that once was. The bedroom is separated from the bath by a half-wall and the bath is a huge tiled space with two sets of showers and open to two square porcelain basins…almost like a men’s locker room…but the feeling of showering in a space of this size is a fantasy come true. On this level is also a “small” salon (about 30 square meters) open to the lower level.
The stairwell down is entirely made of glass, so as you step down, you might feel a slight sensation of falling until you trust the surface. The lower level consists of a very contemporary kitchen all in sky blue metal cabinetry and stainless steel counters, two additional simple bedrooms, a shower/bath of pale green tile and glass block, a large salon open to the height of the two levels and an indoor swimming pool separated from the salon by an aquarium!
I couldn’t help but be “blown away” — and my French compatriots thought this expression to be worth remembering, seeing as it was so fitting of our reactions to this divine architectural wonder.
This is the Paris of the Bobo’s — those young French who are “plus bourgeois que bohèmes.” This week’s issue of “Zurban” (a weekly entertainment guide) happens to feature this particular demographic and psychographic group who have chosen the 10th and the area around the Canal Saint-Martin as fitting their style. We all agreed, we were Bobo’s, too.
Editor, French Property Insider
Email: [email protected]
P.S. For a taste of Alain and Hervé’s great sense of style, visit their site
Volume I, Issue 32, September 18, 2003
In this issue:
* Knee-Deep in Dust at Rue de la Huchette
* Claudia Tells Her Tale of Sa Nouvelle Maison
* Dr. Derek Locks it Up
* Philippe Auguste — What Would He Think If He Saw Le Louvre Today?
* More Leasebacks on the Market
* What’s the Latest Rate of Exchange, in Dollars, Euro and Pounds
* IL Announces is Global Retirement Index
* Hot Property: A Stunning Apartment in the 7th Arrondissement
* Property For Sale: Overlooking Rue de Bretagne
* The Next Meeting is September 23rd
* General FPI Information…
REPORTING ON THE RECONSTRUCTION OF RUE DE LA HUCHETTE
by Adrian Leeds
Our Porter Scott spent much of this week knee deep in the dust at rue de la Huchette making decisions with our “bricoleur” on how every detail would be shaping up.
The walls are now freshly painted a soft cream color to which we all agreed was perfect. A small room is being added to accommodate a toilet so as to enlarge the bath. A clothes dryer is being added over the washer in one corner of the bath. Over part of that room, a bridge will be built to connect the two mezzanines and another part will be the foundation for an elegant curving staircase.
Porter has called in a fireplace expert to remodel the 17th-century limestone (correction from what I called “granite” last week). The layers of paint are being carefully stripped off to reveal the original stone. International Living CEO Bill Bonner is providing his own personal old used bricks from his Château d’Ouzilly in the south (pictured at the top of every page on the French Property Insider website) so as not to disturb the esthetic with new materials. To top it off, we’ll be looking for a large dramatic mirror to be the focal point of the entire room.
We’ve already purchased a pale creamy yellow leather and wood one-motion top-of-the-line sleeper sofa for the grand salon and we have plans to add a comfy “fauteuil,” a couple of occasional chairs, a small antique “commode” (chest of drawers) and soft lit lamps…all on an area carpet that doesn’t totally cover the beautiful old “tomette” tile floor.
The dining room side of the salon demands an antique iron chandelier, a big heavy wooden table and solid chairs. Chair hunting started in the Passage du Chantier just off rue Faubourg Saint-Antoine. There are several chair manufacturers there who will upholster their chair frames in whatever fabric you ch
oose. This is where your negotiating skills come in handy — they are all vying for the same business, so you can haggle a bit, but beware…they’re tough and experienced.
The kitchen is getting a face lift with a new sink, regrouted tiles and new lighting. Otherwise, the pale blue/gray cabinets are close to perfect.
The triangular-shaped bedroom is getting rearranged to accommodate lots of closet space, queen sized bed, desk and chair. It’s on the courtyard with a large window, so it’s bright, but quiet.
If you’re planning on purchasing property in Paris, or anywhere in France, don’t be surprised when the original owner’s furniture is removed and you discover how much work really needs to be done, just like we did! Allow enough in your budget for some renovation and furnishings, because the more luxurious the furnishings, the higher rent you can expect and the higher class the clientele.
The rue de la Huchette apartment will be ready for rental November 1 and we’re now taking reservations. 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 )
Claudia Smith attended our first Working and Living in France Conference in the fall of 2002 followed by the Languedoc-Roussillon tour with the dream of finding a B&B she could call her own. This past year has been a series of trials and tribulations…as she’s kept us posted throughout her entire adventure.
Now settled in her dream home in the south, she recounts:
“I went back to Pezenas to close on my house the first two weeks of August, and despite no furniture and no fans, I am still alive to tell the tale. Even though it is very difficult and expensive trying to travel at the last minute during the peak season, wild horses would not have kept me from the experience of signing the “Acte de Vente” in person, rather than give someone the power of attorney…would have been like giving birth by proxy!”
“The house is a 2-bedroom/2 bath/3-levels with garage and sun-terrace, 95% finished. I return late October to pay the last bit and buy furniture.”
And she sends a special message to our legal advisor, Jean Taquet:
“Although I have only been a reader of your column for the last year, many of the issues discussed have impacted me personally. After meeting with you in person in February to discuss what my “FRENCH LIFE BOX” should be, and your answering my preliminary questions, your columns continued to raise new ones. Your worthiest advice has always been to try to tune into the differences in culture first and foremost. However even armed with this advice, I have had several major contretemps. But hopefully, I have avoided many more unawares. I have just completed purchase of my first French home. Now the real fun begins and I go forth with not a quiver full of arrows, but of polite questions.”
San Diego CA and
Tourbes, France — Herault 3 km Southwest of Pezenas 20 km north of Beziers
“DR. DEREK” ON DOOR LOCKS
The article a few weeks ago on expensive door locks reminded me of an incident that happened to me many years ago in England. I was doing a student vacation job which involved selling door to door. Whilst passing a house, a lady ran up to me and said that her front door was shut and that her keys and baby were inside, could I help?
Yes, I kicked the lock open. You can’t do that in France, door locks are more resistant. English locks have improved since, but the difference comes from the culture. An Englishman lives in a house –entry can be from many points and so security in England relies more on anti-intrusion devices. Many French people live in apartments and the front door is the only source of entrance and hence its protectiön is a major source of concern. The young couple who live in an apartment above my office came home to find that their front door had been jimmied open and the double doors were lying flat on the floor in the hall and many things missing.
So how do we protect ourselves? Well, firstly door locks, then surveillance equipment and alarms. Door locks can be anything from several mortice locks that double lock or a multiple action lock. This is either a lock with which on the second turn of the key, a bolt is thrown top and bottom and in the middle of the door, and sometimes other bolts at intermediary points (ultimately providing five bolts). Bolts are then added to the other half of the door.
To be more effective the inner face of the door is then clad in metal and metal corners are fixed to the outside of the door, and finally, a metal threshold is placed under the door. This stops the door from being jimmied off the hinges, the metal sheets stop the door from being kicked in or from having the center panels removed. The better the locks, the less chance the door can be opened with a “thief’s set of keys.”
Surveillance equipment is important. Alarm systems can be cabled or use infra-red systems. The simplest ones use movement detectors and as soon as movement is detected, a phone call is made to the security company with which you have taken a contract. Before calling the police, they ring the owner or his representative to make sure that they are not aware of why there may be someone using the premises, then they send around one of their agents and if there are signs of a break-in, the police are called.
A monthly fee for a surveillance company is around 50 Euros and then an extra charge is payable if they are called out. A direct connection to the local police station is not possible. Alarms are frowned upon and all alarms are equipped with timer devices that turn them off after twenty minutes. Neighbor’s alarms that went on all night long because of a cat or a bird that got into an apartment have made alarm credibility dubious and as for cars, an alarm going off attracts curiosity and then a frown rather than action from the police. We recently installed some very sophisticated door locks that work with a badge and the door locks automatically open or shut electrically with five throw-bolts on the edge, top and bottom. This lock cost 4000 Euros.
I always recommend the metal protection, bolts and security locks, These cost around 1500 Euros for the average apartment double door. Surveillance systems depend upon the number o
f radar detectors. You can get wireless kits and do the installation yourself. It is very important to let your insurance company know what type of protection system you have installed and this can reduce your insurance payments. Finally and as a matter of security, try and keep an inventory of any goods of value that you may have, keep the invoice, take a photograph, note serial numbers, these are all invaluable in case of theft.”
Editor’s Notes: 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
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
MORE ABOUT PHILIPPE-AUGUSTE AND LE LOUVRE
by Thirza Vallois
Philip Augustus built the ENTIRE Louvre of those days, which corresponds to the site of the buildings around La Cour Carrée, also referred to as Le Vieux Louvre. It was a square fortress, corresponding exactly to la Cour Carrée, in the middle of which there was a keep. The keep was the tallest structure in Paris at the time and was therefore as prestigious as the Eiffel Tower is at present, referred to as ‘la plus halte tor de Paris la citet’ (the tallest tower in Paris the city).
Parisians were very unhappy when François I demolished ‘la grosse tour’ in 1528 and started the Renaissance project for the Louvre — that is the replacement of the fortress by a 16th-century palace. They bemoaned it just the way their descendents would bemoan the old Les Halles central market in 1969. In the 14th-century, Charles V did no more than embellish the fortress, making it more suitable for a royal residence, and setting up in one of its towers the royal library and nucleus of what was to become the National Library.
François I’s project was continued by Henri II and by Louis XIV, which is exactly what we still see today around the Cour Carrée and which is worth a visit. It’s an architectural masterpiece neglected by most, typically, because everyone rushes to see the highlighted Pyramid.
To sum up, Philip Augustus’s strucuture WAS a complete fortress, not just the beginning of an enterprise, and a formidable construction for those days, which accounts for Shakespeare’s comment as expressed by Henry V. That future monarchs remodelled and reshaped it as a different matter: it was part of their magomaniac love affair with their city, which in those days, was synonymous with the Louvre: the king, the kingdom and his palace were one, and God save the King. Please, do visit the Sully wing next time you are at the Louvre!
Editor’s Notes: Thirza Vallois is the author of “Around and About Paris” Volumes I, II and III and of “Romantic Paris.” Acknowledged worldwide as a Paris expert, Thirza Vallois is invited to lecture throughout the world and contributes to various publications, as well as to television and radio documentaries. She will be conducting the Grand Tour of Paris as part of the upcoming October Working and Living in France Conference. Non-conference participants can attend. For more information about Thirza Vallois and the tour
SPECIAL LEASEBACK PROPERTY NOTICE
Villa Murano, the leaseback property on boulevard du Temple in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris offered is SOLD OUT. One of our French Property Insider readers was the buyer of one of the last three available.
To be announced in next week’s FPI will be a new Paris leaseback property near the Gare du Nord. We will have details at that time.
Be sure to get your free Leaseback report as part of your subscription to FPI by clicking here
TODAY’S CURRENCY UPDATE
1 U.S. Dollar equals Euro 0.887895 (0.891846 Euro last week)
1 Euro equals U.S. Dollar 1.12626 (1.12127 last week)
1 U.K. Pound equals Euro 1.43597 (1.42104 Euro last week)
1 Euro equals U.K. Pound 0.696392 (0.703711 last week)
IN THIS MONTH’S SPECIAL ISSUE OF INTERNATIONAL LIVING –
2003 GLOBAL RETIREMENT INDEX and…
How to Live and Work in Paris–One American Shares the Secrets of
Navigating la Vie Française
by Adrian Leeds
“Thousands of Americans of all ages come here every year in the hope of a job… career… new friends… in short, a new life. Paris is very séduisant (seductive), so if you come here on vacation once or twice, it’s easy to get hooked. Beauty, culture, cuisine, language, style, art, literature, history, romance, architecture… it’s all here for the asking, as long as you’re willing to pay the price.”
* 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.
FOR SALE BY OWNER
IN THE HEART OF THE 7TH ARRONDISSEMENT — A STUNNING APARTMENT
2-bedroom/2-bath apartment 4 blocks from the river. Sunny, spacious 72 square meters, elevator, gorgeous views of tree-lined avenue. Perfect rental apartment, completely remodelled this past year, beautiful restored oak parquet. Spacious living/dining room with 2 sets of French doors to decorative balconies with view towards the river. Second bedroom/office opens with large sliding doors to create spacious living area, empire-style sofa bed, desk, TV, etc. New bathroom tiled in beige limestone ensuite, fixed shower and sink. Large master bedroom ensuite with marble bath faces quiet courtyard. Large and completely remodelled kitchen, white cabinets and granite workto
ps, separate WC off entry with oak closets plus dressing room for plenty of storage. Surrounded by restaurants, cafés and shops. One block from rue Cler market, 1 block to the American University of Paris, 5 blocks to Invalides, 5 blocks to avenue Montaigne.
Asking price is 560,000 euros.
* 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.
– PARIS — RUE DE BRETAGNE, 3RD
3 rooms, 60 square meters, 1st floor, 2 bedrooms, each on a terrace/courtyard, living/dining room on street, modern American kitchen, digicode
Asking Price 310,000 Euro
Serious inquiries can be directed to Email: Bretagne
– OVERLOOKING PLACE SAINT-GERMAIN DES PRES
63 square meter 3-room luxurious apartment recently renovated on the first floor with an elevator overlooking Place Saint-Germain des Prés and with a view on Les Deux Magots.
Asking Price: 885,000 Euro (seller willing to negotiate)
Serious inquiries can be directed to Place_St_Germain
– 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
FPI CONSULTATION SERVICES
We’re equipped to assist you with every aspect of buying an apartment. We can create a package for as much or as little assistance as you need. From merely locating an apartment to helping you set up utilities or do a renovation, we can help.
Full details are posted on the French Property Insider website at http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/propertyconsultation.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: [email protected]?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 [email protected]?subject=IL_Reader or call +33 (0) 188.8.131.52.
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 [email protected]?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
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Copyright 2003, Agora Ireland Publishing & Services Ltd.