The Advice of a Professional
by Adrian Leeds
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
When we entered the rue de la Huchette apartment yesterday, the floor was thick with dust and the plasterers were smoothing over the 275 year-old walls preparing them for a creamy colored paint we had chosen. I was accompanied by International Living founder, Bill Bonner, and a recent acquaintance of his, Porter Scott, an “Antique Courrier” who owns several rental apartments in Paris of his own and has a thriving business assisting people in purchasing antiques and previously used building materials (such as old doors, windows, etc.).
Porter Scott had so many astute ideas about how the apartment should shape up, especially how to make use of old materials to enhance its 18th-century character, that he’ll be back next week to coordinate the construction with our contractor and start planning the decorating to make the apartment drop-dead elegant as it deserves. We talked about installing a curved staircase to the mezzanines, stripping off the paint from the grand stone fireplace to expose the granite, staining the wood of the windows a medium oak color, glazing the “tomettes” for sheer radiance and adding soft-lit sconces. The furnishings will be fitting with the epoch of the apartment — not too delicate, heavy and strong, but elegant. The fireplace demands a huge ornate mirror over the mantle that will surely command an unforgettable presence. Our imaginations were running wild.
Scott was once the premier importer of pecans to France! An American living here for more than 23 years, he studied painting at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts (school of Fine Arts) and spent a good deal of time renovating his own apartment, adding a number of personal touches and aesthetic enhancements. He now lives in Tour and rents this apartment on a short-term basis, along with others he owns and has redecorated with the same enthusiasm.
Serendipity put us in touch with Scott and it is this level of professionalism that we are sure will “make or break” the quality of the product we’ll be putting on the rental market in the very near future (we’re hoping for mid October). We are told over and over again that apartments rent for higher prices based more on their furnishings and amenities than their locations. Like a luxury five-star hotel next door to a two-star, what separates the $400 a night from the $100 a night is quality of the furniture, the outfittings and the services.
There are two lessons to be learned here for all of you who wish to rent your new pied-à-terre…1) don’t scrimp by furnishing it with Ikea-style furnishings (that won’t last as long for the extra wear and tear of a rental) and 2) get the advice of a professional whose expertise could be the difference between a good or a bad return on your investment.
Editor, French Property Insider
Email: [email protected]
P.S. To contact Porter Scott, phone 02.47.61.06.93 or email [email protected] For architectural advice and reconstruction, as well as renovation and decoration, we also recommend the services of Derek Bush, Interior architect DSB, phone O126.96.36.199.77, Web site http://www.bush-architecture.com
Volume I, Issue 31, September 11, 2003
In this issue:
* The Ghost of Philippe-Auguste Reigns
* Getting Ready to Make the Move Made Easy
* Does An Ass by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?
* What’s the Latest Rate of Exchange, in Dollars, Euro and Pounds
* The Next Meeting is September 23rd
* Hot Property: An Investment in Montmartre
* Property For Sale: From Paris and the Loire
* General FPI Information…
Philippe-Auguste Haunts Paris and Me
By Adrian Leeds
Maybe you remember the story I told a while back…five French men and women entered Eurocentres, the language school in Passage Dauphine (between rues Mazarine and Dauphine) that hosts the Saturday 11 a.m. session of the Parler Parlor French-English conversation group, asking where they could find the wall of Philippe Auguste.
At first thought, perhaps Philippe Auguste was one of our members, but I didn’t recall his name, so I asked “qui?” to which they all laughed, including the group members standing nearby. “A king of France!” they replied. Apologetically, I explained that Louisiana public school had never gotten that far in our history lessons.
With a notebook of reference material for proof, they explained further that somewhere behind this building stood a portion of a wall built by Philippe Auguste in the 13th century and they were hunting down the remains.
Philippe Auguste was only 15 when his reign began in 1180. In his first year, he condemned the leaders of the Jewish community to pay exorbitant fines. Then in 1182 he expelled them. Sixteen years later, he allowed them to return, only if they paid him heavy taxes. He was responsible for the consecration of the main altar of the cathedral of Notre-Dame, the creation of the Saint-Catherine hospital (Saint-Opportune), the start of street paving in Paris (rue Pavée in the 4th was the first) and the reconstruction of the royal archives. Under his rule appeared private homes
for the first time, he accorded privileges to the university, completed construction of the Louvre and started the wall on the left bank. Regardless of whether you believe any of these “accomplishments” are good or evil, expecially in relation to his treatment of the Jews, Paris, in fact, owes much to him, including The Wall.
Thirza Vallois, author and historian (“Around and About Paris”), during her lecture at this past week’s Travel Writers Workshop, spoke of this very wall. The coincidence of it all chills my spine.
So, the group of five trekked up the stairs and we trekked after them, to discover, much to our amazement, that yes, there it was, plain as day, a tower from the wall in one corner of the patio of the school where we had often had sessions. In the school café space, we found a drawing of the city from that time, showing the wall and the towers.
By sheer coincidence, International Living has a pied-à-terre on rue Mazarine at number 21 that is rented to visitors on a short-term basis. At number 29 rue Mazarine is yet another portion of the wall remaining, part of what is now an underground parking lot. But, the coincidences didn’t stop there.
Later that day, I visited an apartment for sale at 74 rue Cardinal Lemoine, a building just near Place de la Contrescarpe once inhabited by Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley. At numbers 62 and 68, there are yet more portions of the wall remaining! Not far away at rue Clovis is an exposed portion of the wall with a plaque that reads: “Reste de l’Enceinte Philippe August XII Siecle” — and contrary to what the plaque says, this section of the wall was constructed a little before 1210.
A few months after the group descended on Eurocentres to visit the wall, another group landed on our doorstep at exactly 11 a.m. This was almost becoming routine, I thought, and without asking such a stupid question as I had before, I immediately directed them to the portion of the wall housed at Eurocentres. It wasn’t until then that I learned that there was another portion at Eurocentres…as one corner of the stage in their auditorium; the lower extension of the same tower above ground. A baby grand piano is a stark contrast against the pale grey stone and the lighting is warm and inviting.
Even more coincidentally, the gentleman leading the group recognized me as having been a guest in his own home a while back and I discovered that he was the same who with his wife, a Web developer, had created a Web site specifically about Philippe-Auguste and his magnanimous wall, from which I had gathered most of my information! We were both dumbfounded by the “synchronicity” of it all and once again, Philippe-Auguste was like a spiritual being forever on my shoulder guiding me through the streets of Paris.
Then it happened again yesterday. Porter Scott, our new antique consultant for the rue de la Huchette apartment began to tell me about the portions of the wall in the neighborhood I hadn’t seen before. There is a beautiful arch in a shop on rue Guénégaud that we could see only through the windows. In the cour du Commerce Saint-André inside the Maison de la Catalogne, is a tower and the shop walls have been cleverly designed around the tower so that the upper level skirts it with an open rail. It’s a beautiful site.
We agreed, as I have often done with other friends, that living in France is never tiring — there are always new things to discover about our roots and history and the longer we’re here, the more profound our existence becomes. I am starting to believe that really that’s the message of Philippe-Auguste, as he follows me wherever I go and tells me new tales of the city at every turn. Do you think he knows I’m Jewish?
A Word About Philippe Auguste from the Experts…
By THIRZA VALLOIS, author of Around and About Paris volumes I, II and III.
Having read Adrian’s comments on Philip Augustus in last week’s newsletter, I thought I might give you a few more enlightening details. Philip Augustus was known as the “Grand Bâtisseur,” as would several other rulers after him…those who took a keen interest in their “good city of
Paris.” He is the King who built the central market of Les Halles on the Right Bank, with the confiscated money of the Jews, by the way, who were chased out of the kingdom for twelve years, then called back to be “squeezed dry” once more. Just as importantly, he was the founder of the University of Paris on the Left Bank. Thus, it was at the time of Philip Augustus that the destiny of the two banks was sealed – the Right Bank being the commercial section of the city, the Left Bank its intellectual one, or, as the saying went, “La Rive Gauche pense, La Rive Droite dépense”
(the Left Bank thinks, the Right Bank spends). Of course, it’s much more fun in French, because it rhymes.
The walls were built, of course, against Perfidious Albion, the hereditary rival, until the Germans took over much later, and today the US… They were fortified further with impressive defense towers and one of them can actually be seen inside the very Eurocentres language school Adrian
mentioned last week. It’s beautifully preserved and worth checking.
The biggest chunk of the wall that you can see outdoors is on the Right Bank, next to the church of Saint-Louis-Saint-Paul in the Marais, inaccurately referred to as Saint-Paul. But the jewel in the crown is under the glass pyramid of the Louvre, in the Sully wing. That’s where you will
take the measure of Shakespeare’s words of threat to the French, as expressed in Henry V: “He’ll make your Paris Louvre shake for it, were it the mistress-court of mighty Europe.”
Editor’s Notes: The full story is described extensively in “Around and About Paris.” As part of the Working and Living in France Conference, author of “Around and About Paris Volumes I, II and III” and “Romantic Paris,” historian and Paris expert, Thirza Vallois, will be taking us by motor coach for a grand tour of Paris, winding in and out of the prettiest of streets — all 20 arrondissements will be covered, describing their histories, their inhabitants, their personalities. No one has as much depth of knowledge of the history of Paris as Thirza Vallois. You will be amazed
by her ability to describe in detail each corner of Paris as we get a glimpse of life in the city most tourists never see. Midway, we’ll take a break for a lunch before reboarding the bus for the second half of the tour. A real highlight of the conference!
By KATHY BORRUS, author of “Fearless Shopper” nad the soon-to-be-released
book of 1000 important buildings in Paris
Enjoyed this newsletter and your joyful discovery of Philippe-Auguste’s wall, but thought you might want to know a bit more. In
fact, bits of his wall surface all around the city in unexpected places, often preserved in courtyards. The largest existing relic of the wall he erected to protect
Paris (while he was off crusading) is 70 meters long and runs along the Rue des Jardins-Saint-Paul at the annex of Lycée Charlemagne.
Regarding the Louvre, he did not complete construction, but rather initiated construction in 1190 and deposited his 3rd Crusade bounty there. Construction actually took place over the course of 800 years including expansion and additions. The original wall itself excluded the Louvre, but
one dating from 1358 (Charles V’s reign) pulled the Louvre inside the wall around Paris.
More Notes: Where to find the wall…visit: http://www.philippe-auguste.com/mur/index.html
Paris at the Time of Philippe Auguste: http://www.philippe-auguste.com/uk/
The Wall on the Left Bank:
A Map of the City Under the Reign of Philippe Auguste:
The Countdown…A Word of Advice from Grospiron International Movers
To help you organize your move, Grospiron International offers this countdown to facilitate a “perfect move.”
ONE MONTH BEFORE
- Cancel or transfer all utilities contracts at your old address: water, phone, TV cable, electricity, gas, fuel
- Give your new address to your: post office, insurance companies, various subscriptions, banks and credit companies, children’s school, professional contacts, church, friends
- Remember necessary vaccinations
- Remember to transfer your: fiscal and administrative mail, medical and dental files
- Establish or complete your insurance inventory
- Plan your sale for household items you longer want
THE LAST 7 DAYS
- Remember to: give back the goods you borrowed, recover the good you lent, assemble all the documents you need for your arrival
- Last minute reminders for your move: did you remember to tell everyone about your move? Clubs? Committees?
- Have you planned for the furniture and personal effects you will not need abroad?
THE DAY BEFORE
- Check every corner of your apartment or house
- Identify and mark all objects that will not travel with your main move
- Offer the plants you’re leaving behind
- Empty, defrost and air out your refrigerator and freezer
- Put aside the personal effects you need to keep with you
ON THE “D” DAY
- Try to keep a free parking place in front of your residence
- Relax. You’ve done a good job!
Editor’s Note: Grospiron International Movers will be speaking at our upcoming Working and Living in France Conference October 24 – 27, 2003. To contact Grospiron, phone, visit their Web site at http://www.grospiron.com/ or phone 01.48.14.42.42 or email [email protected]
The Donkey Festival
by William and Aprille Glover
I could have called this article The Ass Festival but I am trying calm down
the punsters who barraged me with jokes, puns and word games after I wrote The
Ass Whisperer. Here are some example of what I received:
These words from my sister Mimi. “The outcome of your friends’ trip to Spain
will depend on the personality of the donkeys they select. Consider these
possibilities: Simpleass, fineass, kickass, bass-ackwards, superass, ass-paragus,
kiss-ass, jackass, badass, ass-bestos, ass-afetida, ass-teroid, ass-trologer
, ass-tronaut, ass-inine, highass, ass haul. Whatever, your friends will be traveling on burro-ed time.” MM
Other comments were more subtle:
Dear Well Aspiring AW.
My advice is buy or borrow the donkeys, and get yall’s asses on the trail.
So you might consider hiring a team of mules and a wagon so you can haul ass to Compostela.
We’d like to come watch your asses in action.
Despite the humor, we have not lost our enthusiasm for donkeys. The idea of hiking with a donkey so enthralled us that we drove the south of France to attend a Donkey Festival in the small mountain village of Escargnolles. Of course we also drank a lot of rose wine and feasted on Mediterranean cuisine but the donkey festival was the real reason for going.
Our friends Scott and Nancy McLucas drove us up the narrow winding mountain road along the old route of Napoleon to a speck of a village about twenty kilometers above Grasse. The perfumes of Escargnolles were quite different from those of Grasse. There were donkeys everywhere and of every size and shape imaginable. We loved them all with their big ears, sympathetic eyes and gentle dispositions. Every stand I stopped at brought the same reaction. The beasts, standing calmly with bowed heads, would look up, stare sweetly for a moment then
slowly approach to nuzzle against me. These are incredible animals.
Here is what I learned at the festival:
Donkey’s are a race unto themselves and have existed for thousands of years. There are cave drawings of donkeys in the prehistoric caves of southwest France. Mules on the other hand are the result of a male donkey falling in love with a female horse. Mules are sterile and cannot reproduce so donkeys will always be necessary to produce mules. A Bardeau or bardot is produced when a male horse marries a female donkey. A Bardeau is considered an inferior animal with neither the size of a horse nor the gentle character of the donkey.
The variety of donkeys seems endless. Here is a list of French breeds and a few others:
Le baudet du Poitou
Le Grand Noir du Berry
L’ane du Cotentin
L’ane du Normandie
L’ane du Provence
L’ane du Pyrenees
L’ane du Bourbonnais
L’asini Blanco dell’Asinara (Sardinia)
L’ane Zamorano-Leones (Spain)
L’ane Cordobes-Andaluz (Spain)
L’ane de Miranda (Portugal)
La Mammoth Jackstock (USA)
Despite our enthusiasm for donkeys, we will probably be hiking without them. We just learned that our two donkeys don’t have shoes and finding a blacksmith will take too long. We have to get started. Perhaps we will find a donkey along the trail. Our website now has a map and a short history of the towns and monuments that we have already passed thr
ough. We will update the site as we go. Visit our site and keep up to date with our travels:Walking with a French ASS by William Glover
From “Tales of the Loir*,” this article can be read with the French accents at http://www.cavelife.net. William and Aprille’s “Cave Life In France” is a charming and humorous account of an American couple’s move to France and their encounters with the people of the French countryside. It is available for purchase at http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/books/booksaboutfrance.html.
*The Loir River is a small river that flows from Illier-Combray into the Main River near Anger. Bill and Aprille live in the Loir Valley and that is what he usually writes about. Vendome is the largest town on the river. We live in Lavardin which is about ten miles south of Vendome and about 20 miles north of Tours and the bigger Loire River. This is really “la France profonde.”
TODAY’S CURRENCY UPDATE
Rates as of 2003.09.11 11:13:35 GMT.
1 U.S. Dollar equals Euro 0.891846 (0.926025 Euro last week)
1 Euro equals U.S. Dollar 1.12127 (1.07988 last week)
1 U.K. Pound equals Euro 1.42104 (1.45085 Euro last week)
1 Euro equals U.K. Pound 0.703711 (0.689251 last week)
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
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.
RUE CHAMPIONNET IN MONTMARTRE, IN AN OLD BUILDING WHOSE FACADE HAS BEEN RECENTLY CLEANED. IDEAL FOR INVESTMENT.
One bedroom, 32 square meters, 6th floor with elevator, ktichen and bath. Close to public transportation and shops.
Asking Price : €102,293
Serious inquiries can be directed to Email: [email protected]
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.
49530-DRAIN BORD DE LOIRE
3 rooms, 55 square meters, 2 bedrooms, on 70 square meters of property.
Asking Price €51,550
Serious inquiries can be directed to Email: [email protected]
CHARMING CHATEAU WITH FRONTAGE ONTO THE RIVER SEINE WITHIN EASY COMMUTING DISTANCE OF PARIS
This manageable family château is set on the edge of a charming village in the Seine et Marne region, approximately 30 minutes south of the Périféerique and central Paris. The house is beautifully situated on the banks of the Seine with its own river frontage andthe right to build a jetty. The house offers comfortable accommodation on three main floors with 4 reception rooms and 10 bedrooms. All the principal public rooms and bedrooms have a double aspect as the house is one room in width and is surrounded by a walled park which extends to 2.5 hectares which provides both formal and amenity areas and includes terraces, pollard lime avenues, a productive orchard and a small paddock. To learn more, and see more photos, click
here: Château Gabriac
Asking Price: €1,640,000
Serious inquiries can be directed to Email: [email protected]
PARIS MARAIS AT SAINT-PAUL – CHARMING AND BRIGHT
This is an exceptionally charming flat in the Marais, with every window facing South for bright light. Wood beams and original wooden historic stairs in a beautiful 16th-century building 50 meters from Place des Vosges, close to restaurants, shops and the Saint-Paul Métro.
One entrance – one living room – one bedroom – one dressing
One kitchen (equipped and furnished)
One big bathroom (equipped and furnished)
Three windows – Southern exposure, Quiet, Cable TV and Internet
Asking Price: 300,000 Euros + 2% Finders Fee
Photos are available on the site at:
Serious inquiries can be directed to Charming St. Paul
PARIS 3RD ARRONDISSEMENT
CITE DU PETIT THOUARS
60 square meters, 3 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 30 square meter salon, balcony, elevated level, wood beams, parquet, fireplace, cellar, no elevator
Asking Price: €350,000
Serious inquiries can be directed to Email: [email protected]
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!
“DR. DEREK’S” ARCHITECT’S ADVICE AND SERVICES
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
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 pr
ivate 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.