Protecting Our Quality of Life
The Greening of Paris — Improving Our Quality of Life
(Sunworshippers on a Lazy Afternoon in the Palais Royal)
French Property Insider
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
Parisians just told their mayor that they want to protect and ameliorate their quality of life. Last week, the results of a poll taken last May were released suggesting that the inhabitants of this fair city would rather have quality of life over an economic quantity of life.
I was reminded of this last evening when I passed through the area of the city that was part of the first to be touched by the “Quartiers Verts” program — rue de la Tombe Issoire at rue d’Alésia in the 14th. Two years ago they started the process of widening sidewalks, planting trees, removing parking spaces and changing the traffic patterns to make it a greener, healthier, prettier spot on the map. They succeeded.
The same thing is happening in my neighborhood where rue de Bretagne is undergoing a major face lift — doubling the width of the sidewalks, installation of beautiful iron street lamps and planting 60 trees. It brought property prices up in Alésia and it’s sure to do the same here. I’m not complaining about the mess on the street that makes walking it an obstacle course knowing what the finished product will bring to all of us.
I had the good fortune last night of bumping into who I think could be Paris’ most well-known American, Jim Haynes. He’s been host to more than 100,000 folks in his rue de la Tombe Issoire atelier since he moved in 35 years ago. Strangely, we have similar stories about how we came to find and buy our own apartments. Scroll down to read more about Jim, his good fortune to buy his apartment early on and be sure to read Parler Paris tomorrow when I expand on his amazing story.
To understand the difference between “quality” and “quantity” of life, one must first understand that there IS a difference. In a society that provides as big a safety net as this one (free education, free medical care, unemployment and retirement benefits, excellent public transportation, etc.), it’s more the norm to hear people say “What more do I need?” than “I’m working hard to save for a rainy day.” They work less, have less and enjoy life more, because they don’t have to worry do much about that ‘rainy day’– the state does that for them. I heard Jim say it last night.
I’m pretty sure it’s one big reason so many of you may be ready to trade “quantity” for “quality.” That quality of life here in France is getting better every day and the people want it that way.
SPECIAL NOTICE TO ALL READERS:
Today’s newsletter is the last one I’ll be writing and sending Under the publishing umbrella of International Living…BUT IT MEANS VERY LITTLE CHANGE FOR YOU.
You will continue to get French Property Insider just as you always have and subscribed for…however, as of next Thursday’s issue, French Property Insider will be mailed from a DIFFERENT LIST HOST, so don’t be surprised to see a new sender name in your inbox (and let’s hope it gets through your spam control without a glitch!). If you don’t receive it, don’t hesitate to write me at [email protected]
Also note that to enter subscriber only password-protected areas of the Web site, you must have the new username and password. It’s noted below the Table of Contents for all of you receiving this by email. If you have any problems, do not hesitate to email me at [email protected]
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those I worked with at International Living during this three-year association…particularly Kathleen Peddicord, publisher; her husband and CFO, Lief Simon and of course, founder and friend, Bill Bonner, from whom you may continue to hear via their own mailings. Also, don’t be surprised if we collaborate on some future projects…
Editor, French Property Insider
Email: [email protected]
P.S. Next week’s issue will outline all the new and exciting news coming your way from French Property Insider and Parler Paris. Please stay tuned!
Volume II, Issue 40, September 30, 2004
In this issue:
* Whose Taxes Pay for What?
* Free Help to Start a Business in France
* Parisians Protect Their Quality of Life
* The Quartiers Verts — Starting in the 14th
* Paris’ Most Well-Known American Bought Right
* Marseilles Meditérranée
* Currency Exchange Update
* Hot Property: Pools in Marseilles, Windows on the Quartier Vert
* Classified Advertising: Leeds Apartment Available 11/21-30, 2004
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WHERE DO YOUR TAXES COME FROM AND WHERE DO THEY GO?
By Adrian Leeds
|1. Taxe Professionnelle 47%
2. Tax Foncière 27%
3. Taxe d’Habitation 25%
4. Taxe Foncière Non Bâties (undeveloped land)
Every year in France, communes, departments and regions vote on the local taxes: Taxe d’Habitation (paid by each occupant), Taxe Foncière (paid by each property owner) and Taxe Professionnelle (paid by each company). For the fourth consecutive year, taxation in Paris has remained stable and lower than the national average.
Taxe Professionnelle contributes to 47% of the budget, Taxe Foncière contributes 27%, Taxe d’Habitation contributes 25% and Taxe Foncière assessed on undeveloped land contributes 1%.
Under a budget of 6 billion euros in 2004, Paris spent 1.34 billion on social programs. This is the most important aspect of the budget…to improve the living conditions of the aged, handicapped access, proper housing for the poor and provisions for child care.
Improvements in public transportation have not been forgotten. Two projects are in progress and 42.6 million euros have been devoted to the “Quartiers Verts” program of creating more green space all over Paris.
START A BUSINESS IN FRANCE
For free advice on how to start a business in France, the Mairies are offering assistance:
Mondays and Thursdays 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon
Mairie of the 6th Arrondissement
78, rue Bonaparte
Wednesdays 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Mairie of the 20th
6, place Gambetta
THE FUTURE OF PARIS: PROTECTING THE QUALITY OF LIFE
By Adrian Leeds
Last May, a questionnaire was distributed to 800,000 Parisians, 121,333 of which responded. With a response as high as 15%, this is considered to be a very viable sampling. The ratio of men to women respondents was the same as is inhabitants of Paris — 45% men, 54% women. Sixty-nine percent of those responding were between the ages of 25 and 59. Professionals accounted for 45% of the response, followed by 22% of those retired and 15% blue-collar worker. All 20 arrondissements were represented, by percentage almost in perfect line with their respective populations.
Socialist Mayor Bertrand Delanoë has been trying to end a 30-year ban on building higher than 37 meters and 62% were opposed to tower-blocks. Ninety-three percent want to protect their 17th and 18th-century buildings and preserve their small picturesque houses that were once part of the “villages” of Paris. They are also in favor of using high quality building materials. Parisians clearly don’t want another Montparnasse Tower to obscure the beautiful Parisian skyline or to see Paris turn into a town of Walmart-style retail barns.
An overwhelming majority (82%) want to continue measures to restrict car traffic, including more bus lanes, cycle paths and extending the new tramway.
A majority of Parisians are still in favor of creating more parks and adding more trees along the streets of the city. They hope for buildings with interior gardens and courtyards, while creating new business units to promote economic activity were considered important by only 40%, but 90% agree that commercial life at the ground level must be protected to add to the animation and quality of life.
Opinions were split over the Mayor’s policy to promote low-income housing in affluent areas of the city, although overall 71% agreed. Not surprising that the poorest response (46%) came from the richest district, the 16th.
Parisians are protective of their fair city from those who think money is more important than quality of life…
There’s a reason this is the number one most visited place on the planet. There’s a reason that Paris is the world’s most beautiful and romantic city.
LE QUARTIER VERT ALÉSIA – TOMBE ISSOIRE (14TH ARRONDISSEMENT)
The first of the Quartiers Verts program began on 65 hectares in 2002 in the sector of rue de la Tombe Issoire and rue d’Alésia. 2.95 million euros were spent to improve the quality of life of the residents by redistributing the traffic patterns, reducing the speed limit to 30 km/h, enlarge the sidewalks, plant trees and add vegetation, add bike lanes and bus lanes.
PARIS’ MOST FAMOUS AMERICAN MADE A WISE INVESTMENT
By Adrian Leeds
Jim Haynes could be Paris’ most famous American. Twenty seven years ago he and a female house guest who needed an outlet for her cooking talents started a simple dinner for friends that turned out to be Paris’ most well-known weekly event — a Sunday evening dinner and networking soirée where folks of all persuasions come to share in Jim’s good nature and interesting friends and new acquaintances.
He’s had over 100,000 people grace his door — a sculptor’s atelier that is reputed to be have once been owned by Matisse of about 100 square meters on three levels at the beginning of a “villa” (private walk) on rue de la Tombe Issoire in the 14th, the first street in Paris to have been touched by the “Quartiers Verts” program. Property values immediately rose when the trees went in and the parking places went out.
He purchased the atelier after having been a tenant for two years when the landlord said they wanted to sell and somehow he managed to scrape together the money and get a loan to make it his own. (Funny that I have the same story to tell!) That was 33 years ago. He paid 150,000 francs — about $30,000 at the time.
Today the comparable apartments for sale on the market range between 500,000 and 600,000 euros — or in U.S. dollars, between $615,000 and $738,000. Based on a compounded rate of appreciation, his investment has increased in value 10% per year.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Read more about Jim Haynes in tomorrow’s Parler Paris. To attend his Sunday evening soirée, contact him at 01.43.27.17.67 or email [email protected]
MARSEILLES, A SHOWCASE FOR MEDITERRANEAN CIVILISATION
By Philippe Bardiau
Reprinted from http://us.franceguide.com
Marseilles was founded 2,600 years ago by the Phocaeans (from Asia Minor), and the quintessential charm of this city and port lies in its historic cosmopolitanism and its unique character. The streets of its ancient districts hold the key to all sorts of wonderful and extraordinary anecdotes and mysteries.
The Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica, perched high on its hill, and the “Château d’If,” the island prison of Monte-Cristo, are the first visual and symbolic landmarks that strike the arriving visitor. A good many perspicacious travellers, however, will also be aware that the epic destiny of the oldest town in France is concealed within a patchwork of 111 districts, each with the soul of a village. A wander through the old part of Marseilles will also reveal why numerous communities settled on this stretch of hospitable coastline and how the different cultures intermingled.
One must therefore head up the little sloping streets, amidst the very core of the sprawling and ill-assorted urban developments, towards the original hill-tops of Les Carmes, Les Moulins and Saint-Laurent. All of which are often and conveniently referred to under the collective district name of the “Panier”. Nothing could be easier, you simply follow the marked trail that is clearly painted on the pavement starting at the Tourist Office. The perfect departure point therefore is the junction between the Canebière (the main avenue) and the Old Port, with its lively and colorful atmosphere: the fish freshly caught that morning are sold amidst incessant banter on the quayside and passionate football supporters and elegant youths overflow from the café terraces.
Today, this is the heart and soul of the town, but the old part of Marseilles is huddled on the western side of the Old Port, behind the Town Hall (Renaissance style) and the 1950′s façades, built during the post-war reconstruction period. Spend a little time looking and your efforts will be rewarded… the ancient remnants of the Roman Docks museum for example. This exhibition area is indeed much too discreet in its location beneath the pile of an anonymous contemporary building. Unique in its genre (along with Ostia in Italy), its collection of earthenware pots illustrates the strategic and commercial value of the town’s location: the cove in which the Old Port lies has always provided excellent protection.
If you go up the steps of the Accoules, you will find a more open and friendly Marseilles. Older buildings still lie amidst this working-class district’s restored and more colorful facades but there is clearly a new lease of life here. The little square at the top (at an altitude of 42 m), still bears witness (several rounded walls) to the windmills that used to stand here (around fifteen at the end of the 16th century). The evocative names of the streets and squares (‘Treize coins’, ‘Treize cantons’, ‘Les Pistoles’ etc.) suggest countless events and incidents, which can all be explained by an enthusiastic local guide. This is especially useful as some of the more extraordinary sites, such as the ancient Saint-Sauveur Cellars (listed as a Historic Monument) remain inaccessible.
Following the streets of the ‘Panier’ and the ‘Petit Puits’, you stumble upon the shops and workshops of the local craftsmen: ceramists, carvers of ornamental figures, sculptors in wood, traditional soap makers, a painter who lives and works in the house where Pierre Puget* was born (17th century) and even a much sough-after chocolate maker, all carrying out their trade with a spirit of authenticity. These craftsmen also all have the conviction that they are part of the district’s cultural renaissance. The tour of the town includes, of course, the Vieille Charité just nearby, a former hospice that has become the most visited exhibition site in the department. Built as a refuge for the destitute in the 17th century (with a unique architectural style), it has since been converted into a museographical center. To round off an after-noon spent ambling through these interest-packed little streets why not stop at the little known Saint-Laurent church. Form its esplanade you have a rarely seen and remarkable view over the Old Port, which will undoubtedly make you want to visit other parts of Marseilles and its beautiful coastline
ACCOMMODATION WITH A VIEW OR SPECIAL CHARACTER
Several very original Bed & Breakfasts can be found in the Panier district: an apartment at the top of a tower with a magnificent panorama of the town, the typical décor of an ancient building or even a sophisticated and oriental style.
TWO CATHEDRALS THAT HAVE STOOD UP TO THE TEST OF TIME
On the edge of the old districts and the quays of the huge ferry port, the two cathedrals of the ‘Major’ lie side by side and are an integral part of the landscape and décor of Marseilles. The first cathedral, now closed to the public, was built right next to the sea around an early Christian baptistery (a second baptistery, dating back to the 5th century was discovered on the other side of the Old Port in the grounds of the former Saint-Victor Abbey). The second cathedral was built in the 19th century, a prosperous maritime and trading period for Marseilles as the Suez Canal had opened up full access to the East. Its polychrome stones have suffered from the onslaught of the sea winds but it is undoubtedly the largest in France (give or take ten meters or so)!
Colossal urban projects have been planned for the western side of the Old Port, including a huge esplanade around the ‘Major’ and an ambitious museum to celebrate European and Mediterranean civilizations right by the sea. These new constructions will create a link with Vauban’s Saint-Jean fort, which stoically defends the entry to the Old Port.
* Pierre Puget was an influential artist, sculptor and architect during the reign of Louis XIV.
Tel: (33) 04 91 13 89 00
TODAY’S CURRENCY UPDATE
A service of http://www.xe.com/
Subscribe for free at: http://www.xe.com/cus/
Live mid-market rates as of 2004.09.30 08:38:11 GMT.
1 U.S. Dollar equals 0.811254 Euros (0.813555 Euros last week)
1 Euros equals 1.23266 U.S. Dollars (1.22917 Dollars last week)
1 U.K. Pound equals 1.45838 Euros (1.46159 Euros last week)
1 Euro equals 0.685690 U.K. Pounds (0.684187 Pounds last week)
SEEKING A MORTGAGE IN FRANCE?
Let us help you secure a mortgage in France with interest rates as low as 3.35%.
Visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/loan for more information
FOR SALE: FPI HOT PROPERTY OF THE WEEK
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/insider/propertyconsultation.html
*** MAISON IN MARSEILLE
175 m² house with beautiful terrace, pool, five bedrooms, fireplace, tile salon, hidden on 1200 m² of property filled with olive trees.
Asking Price: 518,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** VILLA IN MARSEILLE
Château Gombert, grand villa on one level, salon with terrace, two bedrooms, garage, pool on 1450 m² of planted property.
Asking Price: 457,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** MAISON IN MARSEILLE
200 m² Beautiful house in St. Loup, on two levels with 100 m² garden, large salon, kitchen, four bedrooms, two baths, terrace, lots of closets plus an independent studio of 18 m² on the garden. Place for parking, beautiful heights, sunny and quiet, two steps from the village. Lots of charm and possibilities.
Asking Price: 398,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** HEART OF QUARTIER VERT, 14TH
164 m², 6 rooms, 1st floor of an old building with parquet flooring, molding, fireplace, large kitchen, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, low monthly charges, unobstructed view, bright, sunny. Near commerce and Metro Alesia.
Asking Price: 919,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** DUPLEX ON 4TH AND 5TH FLOORS, 14TH
125 m², beautiful reception on the first level with salon, dining, kitchen, toilet. On the second level mezzanine, 2 bedrooms, bath, toilet. Quiet, bathed in light, good condition in and out.
Asking Price: 735,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** THREE ROOMS IN QUARTIER VERT, 14TH
56 m², 3 rooms, in an old building recently renovated southeast facing. Independent kitchen, charming, 3-meter high ceilings, cellar and terrace.
Asking Price: 331,900 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, October 12th, 2004
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
Mtro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, Rpublique or Arts et Mtiers
For a detail description of the past meeting and for more information
about Parler Paris Aprs Midi, visit:
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, visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apartments
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Leeds Marais Entire Two-Bedroom Apartment
Available November 21 – 30, 2004
Located in a 17th century Le Marais Hotel 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.
Pictures and more details available here: Marais Guest Room or Entire Apartment
For all International Living managed apartments in Paris, take a look at http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apartments or http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/longterm.html for long term apartments.
For rent by the week or longer
Two lovely 2 or 3-bedroom apartments — 1st arrondissement, same building. Just minutes away: the Louvre, Tuilleries, Place Vendome and more. French style gives you a true taste of Paris. Fully equipped makes your Paris stay effortless, comfortable and memorable.
Complete information at http://www.youlloveparis.com
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/
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Copyright 2004, Agora Ireland Publishing & Services Ltd.