Meet Marvelous Marseillan and More

Meet Marvelous Marseillan and More

Marvelous Marseillan


French Property Insider

August 6, 2009
Paris, France

Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,

We’re back after a week of R and R on the beaches of Santorini. (Read all about it at Since returning, Paris has been sunny and very warm, and not as quiet as one might expect for the height of the vacation season. The open-air cafés are filled to the brim thanks to the sultry weather.

Real estate agencies are closed along with bakeries, restaurants and other businesses, who seem to have no issue with shutting their doors for an entire month. As long as I have lived here, I still don’t understand how these small independent shopkeepers can close their doors for one-twelfth of the year…and happily…while they earn no income. It’s completely against our American work ethic, and hence, we remain at full speed while others are relaxing on the beaches.

In today’s issue, we report on the most recent Ile-de-France property prices and sales volumes, which have shown signs of stabilization. This is good news for property values!

Also, a few trips to the famous "BHV" were worth retelling…so that when you do the same, you’ll be well prepared for what to expect, so have fun with that.

On a more serious note, John Rule reports on the "clause suspensive" — a contingency clause in the Promesse de Vente that protects both the buyer and seller related to financing the purchase. And for fun, there are a couple of articles from our sister publications about a luxury renovation in the heart of Paris and the newest substitute for Saint-Tropez: Marseillan.

This is where we focus our property sights…on the southwest where the sun shines just as strong as on the Riviera, but where prices are a fraction of the Côte d’Azur.

Enjoy your summer — on vacation or not — and consider your future investments in France with us at FPI.

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds
Adrian LeedsEditor, French Property Insider
Email: [email protected]

P.S. The best time to look for property in Paris is coming soon — September/October/November. Schedule your consultation or search now for the coming months by visiting or emailing [email protected]

Volume VII, Issue 31, August 6, 2009

In this issue:

* Property Market Improving
* Getting Bazar in Paris
* FPI Fractional Property Offerings: New Additions
* Understanding Suspensive
* Adrian Leeds on House Hunters Airs Again
* Tax Cuts Improve Property Outlook for 2010
* Currency Update: New Partner, New Converter
* Come Stay, Get FREE
* Parler Paris Apartments: Special August Rates!
* Discover Laid-back Marseillan
* Marseillan: An Affordable Property Market
* Hot Property Picks: Marvelous Merry Marseillan
* Overseas Investment Popularity is Strong
* Notaires’ Property Auctions Take Summer Break
* Two Property Shows in the Fall
* How You Can Obtain a Mortgage in France
* Parler Paris Après-Midi: Summer Break
* Managing Your FPI Subscription
* Subscribers Receive Discount on Insider Paris Guides

Property Sales Stabilize on the Ile de France
By Adrian Leeds

The Chambre de Notaires reported at the end of July that the volume of sales of property has shown a slight increase — sales were down 32% for May 2008 through May 2009 compared to a 40% decline for April 2008 through April 2009 and therefore there are signs of stabilization after a period of decreased sales since 2007.

Sales in Paris from M
ay 2008 through May 2009 were down by 29% comprised of 5,600 sales and compared to all of the Ile de France which reported a decrease of 32% and total sales of 23,000.

Prices in Paris on resale properties averaged a negative -5.9% for May 2008 through May 2009, compared to an increase in value of 9.7% the previous year, May 2007 through May 2008.

The statistics are gathered after the transactions are fully signed and deeded, and therefore there is a delay of more than four months between the time a property is priced, sold and finally passed title from seller to buyer. This delay in reporting should be taken into consideration when making price comparisons with properties currently on the market.

To consult the Chambre de Notaire report in its entirety, visit:

To learn more about Paris property prices, visit

The Only Thing Missing is the Kitchen Sink
By Adrian Leeds

It’s the joke that is true…the only thing one cannot buy at the Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville, known by everyone in Paris and beyond as the "BAY-AASH-VAY," is the kitchen sink. It sounds like a bad joke, but it’s virtually true — if the BHV doesn’t have it, then it doesn’t exist…except of course, the kitchen sink.

When you begin to set up house in the City of Light, there is no way to avoid a trip, or two, or three, or four to the BHV. It’s a seven-level building (including the famous "sous-sol" [basement] that takes up the entire block between rues Rivoli, Archives, Temple and Verrerie. That’s just one of its many structures, not only in Paris, but also in the suburbs, Lyon and Bordeaux. The main department store in Paris opposite the Hôtel de Ville, is certainly its most renowned and clearly, the most complete (with the exception of the proverbial kitchen sink).

The selection at the BHV in virtually every department is mind-boggling. Yes, I can hear you thinking…"{ but we have ‘Home Depot’ and it has everything!" I can tell you now that Home Depot is a drop in the bucket compared with the inventory at the BHV. One of my favorite departments is cabinetry hardware — handles and knobs. Allow at least two hours just to make a choice from the thousands of styles!

For the last two days, I have been scouring the aisles, departments and various levels of the BHV purchasing housewares for "Le Palace des Vosges," our luxury fractional ownership property that will be ready for occupancy September 2nd. This is one-stop shopping, but not in the way we Americans think of it — like going to "Bed, Bath and Beyond" or "Target" where you push a huge basket up and down the aisles, fill it up, line up at the cash register, pay for it all and then if you want it delivered or set aside to pick it up later, they roll it away for you until you’re ready.

No, it’s different in France and different at the BHV. We started out with our little rolling baskets to fill with kitchen gadgets, dinnerware, glassware, etc. and to ask if it could all be held for pick up or delivery. Yes, you can do that — as they have a holding station on rue de la Verrerie behind the store where it can be retrieved or scheduled for delivery. But don’t think for a minute you can happily wander from department to department, gathering items along the way, land at the cash register and ask to have the items sent to their holding station. "Au contraire!"

Every item that gets set aside must be written up on a separate ticket within the department from which it comes by a different sales person who is responsible for just that department. So, in other words, since the cookware is not part of the same department that sells potato peelers…you’re out of luck if you didn’t get your special sales ticket the first time around!

Finding a sales person who can write the ticket is often no easy task. We waited about 20 minutes before we found the one and only person who could write the ticket for the dinnerware, but who could not write the ticket for the glassware — naturally! That would have been too easy!

At the end of a 3.5 hour visit to the BHV yesterday afternoon, we had accumulated about 75% of the things we needed and to prove it, there were almost 20 sales tickets. When approaching the cashier with those 20 tickets, we discovered that they could not be paid for in total, but only one at a time as long as we were using our BHV credit card. That meant running the credit card for each, then signing approval of each.

We left there with a stack of papers and ‘bruises’ from the experience. I apologized to the cashier for
e culture shock with which I was experiencing, even though I had lived in France 15 years…and she agreed that it seemed like an awfully cumbersome system, for what reason it exists we have yet to determine. There is no question that French bureaucracy is more complicated and the taxation system imposes many burdens on administration. Culturally, there are issues involving control and complication, rather than simplification which must contribute to the lack of efficiency.

But still, there is nothing quite like the BHV to find just about everything and anything one would need to set up house…except of course, the kitchen sink. That we had to seek elsewhere.

See for yourself…virtually. Visit if you can’t do it in person.

Editor’s Note: There is only one share left of Le Palace des Vosges at the lowest entry price and prices are sure to increase upon completion of the renovation. For more information, visit

Lead photo by Erica Simone (

Fractional Property Offerings from French Property Fractional

If you are interested in traditional fractional ownership properties currently offered by our Fractional Ownership partners, see below:

Place des Vosges 


Chez la Tour

La Rsidence Luxembourg

Le Petit Tresor
 Maison Bleue

Paris Residence Club

Notre Maison dan Toulouges

To see our latest Fractional offerings go to

Understanding the "Clause Suspensive"
By John Rule

clause suspensive gn="left">The "Clause Suspensive" is a conditional clause in the "Promesse" or "Compromis de Vente" that protects the buyer by effectively making the offer conditional on financing.

The buyer sets three terms:

1) the maximum amount the buyer will request from the lenders

2) the maximum term of loan the buyer will request

3) the maximum interest rate acceptable to the buyer

The buyer can walk away from the purchase with their deposit in hand if one of the terms is not met. The buyer may also do better in terms of the loan that they end up with, but it is best to put minimum acceptable terms in the clause.

Terms must be reasonable to be accepted by the seller. The buyer must apply to at least two banks and have proof that neither bank is willing to provide financing that fits the clause terms, in order to cancel the purchase without penalty. Sellers prefer offers with no Clause Suspensive, naturally, as it reduces a risk to them that the purchase will fall through two or three months down the road. Sellers can often be pacified with a letter from at least one lender, which approves them "in principal" for the amount that they have put in the clause (but the letter is not binding from the bank’s perspective). The buyer must inform the seller of the inability to get financing by the date mentioned in the Promesse or Compromis de Vente in the form of a registered letter by the lenders to satisfy the Clause Suspensive.

Currency OnlineEditor’s Note: John Rule is the Mortgage Manager for French Property Loan ( and is available to consult with you on any issues on buying property in France. He can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].



Adrian Leeds and French Property Consultation on HOUSE HUNTERS INTERNATIONAL!

Watch Next Week…

"Settling Down in Paris"- Episode HHINT-402



Tune In:
August 10, 2009 10:00 PM ET/PT
August 10, 2009 2:00 AM ET/PT

"Vacation Home in Paris" – Episode HHINT-1A05


Tune In:
September 01, 2009 10:00 PM ET/PT
September 01, 2009 2:00 AM ET/PT

To learn more, visit or email Adrian Leeds, at [email protected].


French Tax Cut to Boost Holiday Homes
By Simon Lambert

Currency OnlineThe French property market will get a boost next year at the expense of UK property thanks to a little noticed tax change, experts forecast.

French holiday home developers say that they are already seeing substantial interest from offshore investors for when the tax is axed at the end of this year. A substantial amount of investment cash from the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and British Virgin Islands could shift from focusing on UK property to French, after France scrapped a 3% annual levy.

From 1 January 2010, private investors and funds from the offshore investment hotspots will no longer have to pay the levy, which was charged each year on a properties open market value.

The seemingly minor change is predicted to have a downward effect on residential property prices in the UK and give a boost to French prices, with France’s holiday home developers seeing substantial interest…

To read the entire article go to

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Take the Risk Out of Currency Conversion

If you’re buying a holiday home or investment property overseas, when you trade your currency is crucial. The euro exchange rate is constantly fluctuating, so trading at the right time will mean your money goes a lot further. Adrian Leeds Group LLC and Moneycorp are working together to ensure you make the most of your Dollar or Sterling when buying a property in France.

For the latest exchange rate use our currency converter at

A Renovation in Paris
By Liza Foreman

If a tourist passing along the Rue du Cloître Notre-Dame just looks up, it is not hard to glimpse, through the open windows above, the rich colors of old master paintings that have been stretched across a ceiling in Linda and Bryant Edwards’s first-floor apartment.

And from the home itself, in an elegant Haussmann building dating to 1905, the family has its own view — of the garden behind Notre Dame Cathedral.

“In the day, it’s nice to open the windows and hear the children laughing in the garden and the musicians playing on the bridge that joins the Île de la Cité and the Île Saint-Louis,” said Mrs. Edwards, who is 42.

When her husband, 54, presented her with the apartment as a gift for her 40th birthday, Mrs. Edwards envisioned a kind of “Tale of Two Cities” life, split between Paris and what was then the couple’s home in London.

But since then, the Paris apartment — a 160-square-meter (about 1,723-square-foot) place in the city’s Fourth Arrondissement — has become a vacation home rather than the weekend retreat that they had envisioned, because last year Mr. Edwards’s work at a law firm prompted a move to Dubai.

“Instead, I’m having the true Gulf experience,” Mrs. Edwards said, adding, “The locals all flee for London and Paris to escape the summer heat.”

The apartment had two bedrooms and two bathrooms when she found the sale listing online in 2006. She has since added a luxurious décor, created a third bedroom and, as she put it, generally Americanized the home. (Mrs. Edwards is originally from Texas; Mr. Edwards, from Utah.)

Mrs. Edwards decorated the dark entrance hall with waxed pine-paneled walls and had most of the apricot-colored walls in the rest of the apartment redone in neutral tones to give the artwork and furnishings center stage.

“The Rape of Proserpine and The Four Seasons,” a set of oil paintings attributed to Augustinus Terwesten the Elder that Mrs. Edwards bought in a Sotheby’s auction, are the works visible from the street below. The paintings were placed on the ceiling of the reception room, which also has a Louis XV stone chimney and a 19th-century Knole-style sofa, covered in a fading 16th-century tapestry. Mrs. Edwards said that she found the chimney at a French flea market and the sofa at the Olympia International Art and Antiques Fair in London…

To read the entire article go to

Editor’s Note: Photo credits Ed Alcock, for the New York Times.

One-Hour Consultation with Adrian Leeds Free!

Currency Online


If you are a guest staying in any one of our luxurious Parler Paris Apartments, and would like to consider having your own "pied-à-terre" for your pleasure and profit, contact Adrian Lees for a FREE one-hour consultation while you’re enjoying the apartment in the City of Light. Visit http://w

for more information or email me at [email protected].



Last Minute Deal at all Parler Paris Apartments. All stays of 4 nights or more will be priced at the weekly reduced rate during the month of August!

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. Parler Paris Apartments offers high quality accommodations to make your stay in the City of Light as enjoyable and memorable as possible.

We at Parler Paris know each and every apartment owner or manager personally, and stand behind the quality of those we represent. We understand your needs and desires, all the small details that make a rental apartment a warm and welcoming home ­ and a much better alternative to an impersonal hotel!Parler Paris Apartments is administered and serviced by the same great team as Parler Paris, French Property Insider and French Property Consultation. You can trust that Parler Paris Apartments and all those with whom it is associated will do heir best for your 100% guaranteed satisfaction. SPOTLIGHT APARTMENT(S): La Table du Roi

Cité Dupetit Thouars, 3rd Arrondissement
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"La Table du Roi" ("The Kings’s Table) is a one bedroom slice of old world charm, destined to please those looking for luxury and elegance. On the first floor (European) of a 17th-century building on rue du Roi de Sicile in the heart of Le Marais (4th arrondissement), it is steps from rue de Rivoli, rue Vieille du Temple, the Hôtel de Ville, Place de la Bastille, the River Seine and everything that Le Marais has to offer. Portable air conditioning keeps La Table du Roi cool through the warmest periods.

Stays of 4 nights or more will be priced at the weekly reduced rate during the onth of August!

Reserve now! Visit or email:[email protected].

Like St Tropez Before Bardot
By Ian Belcher

Laid-back Marseillan can’t claim to have the celeb clientele, glam bars and designer shops of its famous Riviera cousin, but that’s why it’s special

Sex-kitten starlets are thin on the sun-seared ground. So are €6,000 cotton beach dresses with Mongolian fur trim, Lamborghini Gallardos ostentatiously parked in front of harbourside cafés, and gin-palace superyachts. And you certainly won’t see estate agents with details of stratospherically pricey villas in French, English and Russian.

Yet the petite port of Marseillan on the Languedoc coast, kissing a Mediterranean lagoon east of Béziers, has an undeniable frisson of St Tropez. Not the 2009 Riviera honeypot oozing bling, Eurotrash and traffic, but the serene isolated fishing village that first attracted artists and writers in the late 19th century, and then Bardot and the jet set in the 1950s.

As elsewhere in the south of France, looks count. While no doppelgänger, Marseillan shares strands of scenic DNA with its more famous Côte d’Azur counterpart. The views across its dazzling turquoise water to the hillside rooftops of Sète are reminiscent of St Tropez’s to Grimaud and Sainte-Maxime. And both ports have excellent beaches a couple of miles outside town – although you’ve far less chance of being hit by a wayward Cristal cork around Marseillan plage.

But it’s the town’s protected 17th-century harbor that really captures the early Riviera vibe. Low-level houses laced with wrought-iron balconies and splattered with flowers swaddle a channel that jiggles with small boats and yachts, with a left bank of thriving restaurants and cafés…

To read the entire article go to

The Property Side of Marseillan
Compiled by Schuyler Hoffman

You can almost split Marseillan property into two groups. Those properties in the heart of the village and those properties around the port.

The reason for this is that around the port in Marseillan you can find some very interesting properties that simply don’t exist in the rest of the village. Properties such as converted barns, factories or distilleries. One couple bought an old wine storage cellar and converted it into the most amazing family residence you could imagine. Complete with terrace and views across the Etang de Thau.

The Etang de Thau is a 20km long inland sea that is home to hundreds of local mussel and oyster producers. In his television program “French Odyssey” Chef Rick Stein hails the oysters and mussels from the Etang de Thau as some of the best he has tasted the world over. Perhaps this is why Marseillan property with views across the Etang carries a heavy premium? But it probably has more to do with the wonderful views as you look out across the water towards Sete and further still to North Africa.

The archetypal French village house is also alive and well in Marseillan. Weather you’re looking for a tiny pied-à-terre with one room on each of three floors or a larger Maison de Vigneron. This larger type of house is very typical of the Languedoc. Usually over three floors, the ground floor will offer a large garage, where the Vigneron would typically store his machinery. A lot of these garages still have the large concrete wine cellars in place.

The first floor is where the main living accommodation will be, while the top floor is often an unconverted attic area. These attics are usually massive spaces with potential to create as many as four extra bedrooms. Gardens in this type of house are not guaranteed so you’ll have to be specific when searching. And when looking for your Marseillan property, don’t forget that if you want to remove these large concrete wine cellars you’ll have to employ a professional to do it. They’re reinforced and are often an integral part of the building’s fabric.

Editor’s Note: See our Hot Properties below for an insight into the truly affordable property marked in this little known spot in the south.

HOT PROPERTY PICKS: Marvelous Merry Marseillan

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.

This week we focus on some interesting property opportunities in Marseillan.

***Marseillan: One-bedroom, approx. 28m²

This pretty, ground floor apartment is in good condition. The property comprises of a living room with a fully equipped kitchenette, a double bedroom and a spacious conservatory leading onto a sunny terrace.

Asking Price: € 71 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee



***Marseillan: Two-bedroom, approx. 33m²

Great value for a two bedroom villa with pool and tennis courts in the beautiful and authentic fishing village of Marseillan. The property is ready to move into, all the furniture, fixtures and fittings are included in the asking price. You could get an excellent rental income from this property when you’re not using it yourselves.

Asking Price: € 112 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee



***Marseillan: Three-bedroom, approx. 50m²

Superb three-bedroom town house in the picturesque village of Marseillan near the blue waters and sandy beached of the Mediterranean. Recently renovated and comprising on the ground floor: kitchen/diner, shower room and large entrance area, on the first floor: two bedrooms and on the second floor: large living room and single bedro

/study. Not far from airports in Béziers, Montpellier and Nimes – ideal holiday or permanent home.

Asking Price: € 165 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee



***Marseillan: 3-bedroom, approx. 57m²

A two or three bedroom terraced villa in good condition just a few moments away from the old port. Three level property where both bedrooms are on the first floor, each with fitted wardrobes, along with the shower room, the separate WC and a landing. Up above, the owners have converted the attic into a study which could be used as a third bedroom. You will note that there are two terraces, one in front of the house and one behind, the latter with a BBQ and a pergola. Other features include double glazing and electric shutters.

Asking Price: € 202 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee


Summer Break for Notaires’ Property Auctions

Notaires de Paris
Place du Châtelet
12 avenue Victoria
Paris 1st


Additional information on Les Ventes aux Enchères des Notaires can be found on the Web site at

To read Schuyler Hoffman’s article about the property auctions in Paris, click on:

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  The Next Auction is Scheduled for September 22, 2009  

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