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Living Life Lyonnais

Volume V, Issue 5

This past week’s events take us to the city of Lyon, where the celebrated Abbé Pierre was born — the most popular man in France until his death this past week at the age of 94. Synchronistically, too, because just this morning we visited an apartment on rue “Lyonnais” in the 5th that has become tough competition for an apartment with a patio on rue du Temple in the 3rd for two property seekers who work part-time in Paris.

Today you will learn more about Abbé Pierre and the city of Lyon, a great place to live in France if you are a gourmet or aficionado of the culinary arts. My mouth waters just thinking about a trip to Lyon! The properties spotlighted today, too, will start you dreaming.

Also, because of Abbé Pierre, who founded the international Emmaus Movement which today has more than 400 homeless communities in 39 countries, we reprint a recent Parler Paris article about the tented homeless protest in the City of Light. To read more about Abbé Pierre and Emmaus, visit http://www.emmaus.org.uk/

Money, mortgages and tax are big topics today — the most important aspect to successful investment and home ownership. On a more creative note, a visit to the bi-annual exhibition “Maison et Objet” is reported as a sensory overload experience. Also, we bring you an excerpt from a Parler Paris article about washing machines…a mundane topic that we cannot avoid with home ownership!

A Bientôt,

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

P.S. Please note that February 22, there will be no French Property Insider issue while I am traveling in India as assistant to my daughter who will be photographing two traditional weddings. A full report will ensue upon my return.
Volume V, Issue 5, February 1, 2007

In this issue:

* French Tax Changes
* Interest Rate Update from UCB
* French Poverty Fighter Abbé Pierre
* Homeless in Paris
* Loving Lyon
* Gastronomic Capital of the World
* Laundry Day in Paris
* Art and Design on Display
* Currency Conversion and Overseas Mortgages
* FPI Property Consultation, Search and Relocation Solutions
* Today’s Currency Update from Moneycorp
* Next Parler Paris Après-Midi: February 13, 2007
* Hot Property Picks: Lyon Living
* On the Auction Block: February 6 and 13, 2007
* Leasebacks: Parc des Muses, France, Paris / Ile de France, Rueil Malmaison
* Managing Your FPI Subscription
* Classified Advertising: Parler Paris Apartments, “Le Provençal” Studio and Leeds Marais Apartment


2006 Taxes in France
By Adrian Leeds

I imagine you’re much like me, gathering together last year’s revenues and expenses to either post on a tax return or turn into our accountants and tax planners in time for due day. It’s an arduous task each year and one that not only costs our hard-earned bucks in the form of tax, but in the form of advice and service from the professionals who spend our money in order to save us money.

At the Vive La France French Property Exhibition in London earlier this month, I picked up a nice little brochure provided by a London/Paris accounting firm named Dixon Wilson outlining French tax quite succinctly. I am not familiar with the firm, nor have had any dealings with them whatsoever, so do not assume any particular recommendation other than the handy printed material they so thoughtfully produced for our benefit.

The good news is that some taxes have reduced. The highest rate of income tax has been reduced to 40% on income over €65,000, from 48.09% over €49,624 in 2005. While the minimum income tax base for residents is 6.83% for amounts over €4,412, non-residents bare a minimum tax of 20%, a reduction of 5% from 2005 (25%).

Capital gains taxes remain as is — on secondary homes, non EU residents suffer 33.33% tax the first five years, reduced by 10% each year thereafter until after 15 years of ownership, no tax is paid. EU residents only have to endure 16%, while French residents will pay 27%. Principal residences are exempt.

Wealth tax is applicable above property owned in France valued at €750,000 and higher less 20% from the value of a French taxpayer’s principal residence taxed at .55% to 1.8% in excess of €15,530,000. This is an increase from the previous base of €720,000. The good news is that should you hold a mortgage, then only the net assets are taxed. For example, an apartment valued at €1,000,000 with a mortgage of 80% has a net value of €200,000, therefore the tax will not apply.

Property taxes, such as Taxe d’Habitation and Taxe Foncière are not outlined within this brochure, but you can expect to pay them yearly.

To download a copy of this brochure for yourself, click here:


Interest Rate Updates
From UCB – A BNP Paribas Company

Interest Rate Indexes (on 01/01/2007)
3 month Euribor: 3.71%
12 month Euribor: 3.91%
TEC 10: 3.96%
Source: UCB

Exchange Rates (on 09/01/2007)
€1 = £0.6710
£1 = €1.4903
€1 = $1.3034
Source: Boursorama

Rented Dwellings Reference Index (on 13/10/2006)
2006 2nd quarter annual variation: 2.78%
Source: INSEE

Editor’s Note: For more information, visit https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/loan/lenders.html


A Taboo About Money
From The Economist Print Edition
Photo: Seattle Times, AP Wire

At first glance, the death this week of Abbé Pierre, a French Catholic priest and former resistance fighter who spent half a century combating poverty, and an ongoing political spat over taxing the rich, have little in common. The first prompted the celebration of a big life; the second is a predictable election-campaign squabble. Yet both expose the complicated relationship between the French and money—already a dominant theme of the campaign for this year’s presidential election.

The French reaction to Abbé Pierre’s death has been overwhelming. Le Parisien, a newspaper, devoted 18 pages to the one-time parliamentary deputy who set up self-supporting communities for the homeless. Even the centre-right Le Figaro called him “the hero of the French.” President Jacques Chirac described himself as “shattered” by the priest’s death, announced a funeral in Notre Dame cathedral and said that France had lost “an immense figure, a conscience, an incarnation of goodness.” Until he asked to be removed from the list in 2003, ceding his place to football’s Zinedine Zidane, Abbé Pierre had been voted the most popular living Frenchman for seven of the previous ten years.

As the French looked back on a life spent pricking the conscience of a nation about poverty on its own doorstep, they were also digesting a political row about earthly goods at the other end of the scale. The Socialist Party presidential candidate, Ségolène Royal, brushed up her image as a champion of ordinary folk this week by declaring that it was “scandalous” to reduce taxes on the rich, as her centre-right rival, Nicolas Sarkozy, has pledged to do. Yet last week it emerged that Ms Royal and François Hollande, her partner and the party’s boss, themselves both pay the country’s wealth tax, symbol of the super-rich. Ms Royal part-owns three properties, including a holiday home in the south of France.

Given France’s public discomfort about wealth, this was a scandal. Mr. Hollande had once declared on television: “I don’t like the rich.” Ms. Royal retorted that she was “well-off” rather than rich, though according to French law the tax applies to those in possession of a “fortune.” Could all this harm Ms. Royal’s political prospects? French ambivalence about money, after all, is deep—steeped in the egalitarian revolutionary creed, say some, or even in Catholic culture, claim others.

But is it? For sure, the French still like the symbolism of the wealth tax: three-quarters of them tell pollsters they do not want it abolished. And they have a deep admiration for the personal asceticism embodied by Abbé Pierre. But do they really these days expect their politicians to live that way too? The real trouble with the wealth tax, which kicks in on assets worth over €750,000 ($974,000), is that —- thanks to the property boom —- it now traps 400,000 households, not all of them rich. The French seem to understand this absurdity. Asked in a poll whether the revelation that both Ms. Royal and Mr. Sarkozy pay the wealth tax would affect the way they will vote, fully 85% said it would make no difference at all.


About Abbé Pierre
From Wikipedia.org

L’Abbé Pierre (born Henri Antoine Grouès) (Lyon, 5 August 1912 – Paris, 22 January 2007) was a French Catholic priest, former member of the Resistance during the war then deputy of the Popular Republican Movement (MRP). In 1949 he founded the Emmaus movement, which has the goal of helping poor and homeless people and refugees. Abbé means abbot in French and is also used as a courtesy title given to Catholic priests. Before his death he was one of the most popular figures in France, but he had his name removed from the polls after some time.


Down and Out in Paris with Panache

Excerpt from Parler Paris
By Adrian Leeds
Monday, January 8, 2007

Regular Paris visitor, Eva Lee Lichtenberg, a resident of Tranquility, New Jersey and attorney specializing in mediation (https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/parlerparis/services/askalawyer.html), carries her trusty pocket digital camera wherever she goes in Paris. As a “foodie,” she is forever taking candid shots of the plates presented before her while flirting playfully with the waiters. The same goes for anything unusual she might spot along her merry way in the City of Light.

With all the news about the homeless in Paris recently, it was apropos that two photos should arrive with her note: “After seeing the SDF [“sans domicile fixe”] article from Time magazine [By Bruce Crumley, http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1573252,00.html ]…well, here’s proof, in Paris, at least some of the Parisian SDF’s do it with panache. The first photo was taken on rue de Rivoli, across from the Louvre. The second was on boulevard Voltaire.”

The homeless in Paris are as much a part of the scene as is graffiti. They are, of course, always a reminder that not everyone is as fortunate as we are to have the basic comforts of life. It has always struck me, though, that the homeless in Paris are far better tended than those in Santa Monica (where 15,000 were reported in a 2005 census), especially after having crossed a bridge of the Canal Saint Martin one evening to afford a view of the line-up of red tents along the edge. The air was brisk and damp. It seemed li
ke a particularly cold and unsheltered s
pot, but serene and beautiful. I couldn’t help but wonder how the residents along the canal felt about their view being obstructed by the city of homeless camped there. A make-shift sign renames the quai Valmy as “SDF Boulevard.”

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë said after a number of Parisians complained, “I am not looking to chase away homeless people, I am looking to support them. But I must also respond to requests from residents.”

The issue is political in nature. There are an estimated 86,000 homeless in France nationwide, with about 300 making a show of it along the canal. “The Children of Don Quixote” association set up the 100 or so tents and homeless have flocked to the site to take up residence. The purpose is deliberate and it’s working. The media attention is turning up the heat to increase and improve shelter capacity for the homeless.

Meanwhile, new laws have been enacted (“Robien-Borloo”) to encourage property investors to buy and rent more unfurnished apartments. The laws are so pro-tenant that there is a serious shortage of unfurnished apartments to add to the housing issue.

Today I came across an article in the Financial Times from yesterday by Adam Jones titled “Pig Soup Off Menu for Paris Homeless.”( http://www.ft.com/cms/s/e1900504-9e81-11db-ac03-0000779e2340.html) City officials are now arguing over the recipe (!)…the soup made of pig ears, feet and tails is accused of “discriminating against Muslims and Jews, whose religions forbid the consumption of pork” even though the volunteer organization claims it is a “hearty expression of traditional rural French cooking.” This leads me to wonder if Eva Lee has a photo of that dish, too.

I don’t mean to make light of what is a serious problem, particularly at this time of year when the weather is less than kind to those unsheltered. So take heart while roaming the streets of our beautiful city and ask yourselves, “What can I do to help?” I invite all of you to post your ideas on our New Reader Forum…https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/parlerparis/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24


From Wikipedia.org

Lyon is a city in east central France. The third largest French city, it is a major centre of business, situated between Paris and Marseille, and has a reputation as the French capital of gastronomy and a significant role in the history of cinema.

Together with its suburbs and satellite towns, Lyon forms the second largest metropolitan area in France after Paris, with 1,648,216 inhabitants at the 1999 census, and approximately the 20th to 25th largest metropolitan area of Western Europe.

Lyon is the préfecture (capital) of the Rhône département, and also the capital of the Rhône-Alpes région.

The city gave its name to the Lyonnais province, of which it was the capital. Today the region around Lyon is still known as Lyonnais (French: le Lyonnais), or sometimes even as the Lyonnaise Region (French: Région Lyonnaise). Lyonnaise Region is an unofficial, popular name, not to be confused with the administrative région of Rhône-Alpes, which is much larger than the Lyonnaise Region.

Lyon is also the international headquarters of Interpol.


Lyon’s geography is dominated by the Rhône and Saône rivers which converge to the south of the historic city centre forming a sort of peninsula or “presqu’île”; two large hills, one to the west and one to the north of the historic city centre; and a large plain which sprawls eastward from the historic city centre.

To the west is Fourvière, known as “the hill that prays,” the location for the highly decorated Notre-Dame de Fourvière basilica, several convents, the palace of the Archbishop, the Tour métallique (a highly visible TV tower, replicating the last stage of the Eiffel Tower) and a funicular.

To the north is the Croix-Rousse, “the hill that works,” traditionally home to many small silk workshops, an industry for which the city was renowned.

The original medieval city (Vieux Lyon) was built on the west bank of the Saône river at the foot of the Fourvière hill, west of the presqu’île. (This area, along with portions of the presqu’ile and much of the Croix-Rousse are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, see below.)

On the peninsula (presqu’ile) between the rivers Rhône and Saône is located the third largest public square in France, and one of the largest in Europe, the Place Bellecour. Specifically, it is the largest clear square (i.e., without any patches of greenery, trees or any other kind of obstacles) in Europe. The broad, pedestrian-only Rue de la République leads north from Place Bellecour

East of the Rhône from the presqu’ile is a large area of flat ground upon which sits much of modern Lyon and most of the city’s population.

Three of the main sights in Lyon, the Cathedral St-Jean, the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourvière, and the Tour métallique de Fourvière. Situated in this area is the urban center of Part-Dieu which clusters the former Credit Lyonnais Tower (central France’s only skyscraper), the Part-Dieu shopping centre, and Lyon’s main rail terminal, Lyon Part-Dieu.

North of this district is the relatively wealthy sixth arrondissement which is home to the Parc de la Tête d’Or, one of Europe’s largest urban parks, and Interpol’s headquarters.


Louis XIV at Bellecour.Lyon was founded as a Roman colony in 43 BCE by Munatius Plancus, a lieutenant of Caesar, on the site of a Gaulish hill-fort settlement called Lugodunon—from the Celtic sun god Lugus (‘Light’, cognate to Old Irish Lugh, Modern Irish Lú) and dúnon (hill-fort). The name was latinised as Lugdunum; Lug was equated by the Romans to Mercurius. Lug’s ‘totem’ was a cockerel (rooster), hence the Modern French association with ‘le coq.’

The three parts of Gaul mentioned by Caesar met at Lyon. Agrippa recognized that Lugdunum’s position on the natural highway from northern to south-eastern France made it a natural communications hub, and he made Lyon the starting point of the principal Roman roads throughout Gaul. It then became the capital of Gaul, partly thanks to its fortunate site at the convergence of two navigable rivers, and quickly became the main city of Gaul. Two emperors were born in this city: Claudius and Caracalla. Today the archbishop of Lyon is still referred to as “le primat des Gaules.”

The Chris
tians in Lyon were persecuted for their religious views under the reigns of the Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius and Septimus Severus. These included saints such as Blandina (Blandine), Pothinus, and Epipodius, among others.

The great Christian bishop of Lyon in the 2nd century was the Easterner Irenaeus.

Burgundian refugees from the destruction of Worms by Huns in 437 were resettled by the military commander of the west, Aëtius, at Lugdunum, which was formally the capital of the new Burgundian kingdom by 461.

In 843, by the Treaty of Verdun, Lyon, with the country beyond the Saône, went to Lothair I.

Fernand Braudel remarked, “Historians of Lyon are not sufficiently aware of the bi-polarity between Paris and Lyon, which is a constant structure in French development” from the late Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution (Braudel 1984 p. 327). The fairs in Lyon, the invention of Italian merchants, made it the economic countinghouse of France in the late 15th century. When international banking moved to Genoa, then Amsterdam, Lyon simply became the banking center of France; its new Bourse (treasury), built in 1749, still resembled a public bazaar where accounts were settled in the open air. During the Renaissance, the city developed with the silk trade, especially with Italy; the Italian influence on Lyon’s architecture can still be seen. Thanks to the silk trade, Lyon became an important industrial town during the 19th century.

Lyon was a scene of mass violence against Huguenots in the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacres in 1572.

The silk workers of Lyon, known as canuts, staged two major uprisings: in 1831 and 1834. The 1831 uprising saw one of the first recorded uses of the black flag as an emblem of protest.

Lyon was a center for the occupying German forces and also a stronghold of resistance during World War II, and the town is now home to a resistance museum. The traboules, or secret passages, through the houses enabled the local people to escape Gestapo raids.


As early as the 13th century, the Arpitans, residents of the region spoke a dialect of the Arpitan (often called the Franco-Provençal language too). This Lyonnais dialect was replaced by the French language as the importance of the city grew. Lyon was an early center for printing books, and nurtured a circle of 16th century poets. For several centuries Lyon and its bouchons have been known as the capital of gastronomy, fine handweaving, and the silk trade. The Lumière brothers invented cinema in the town in 1895. December 8 each year is marked by “la Fête des lumières” (the Festival of Lights), a celebration of thanks to the Virgin Mary, who purportedly saved the city from a deadly plague in the Middle Ages. During the event, the local population places candles in their windows and the city of Lyon organizes and projects impressive large-scale light shows onto the sides of important Lyonnais monuments, such as the mediaeval Cathédral St-Jean.

Two of France’s best known wine-growing regions are located near Lyon: the Beaujolais to the North, and the Côtes du Rhône to the South.

Lyon also features a renowned opera house.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Saint-Jean and the Croix-Rousse areas, which are noted for their narrow passageways (traboules) that pass through buildings and link the streets either side, were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1998.


Gourmet Lyon
Official Site for the City of Lyon

In the kingdom of good taste, Lyon’s cuisine reigns above all others. This centuries-old tradition is an intrinsic part of the Lyon way of life. If there is one title that can’t be taken away from Lyon, it is definitely that of gastronomic capital of the world.

Since the 16th century, Lyon’s cuisine has delighted many a customer in its “bouchon” bistros and in its first restaurants. These palate-pleasers will never disappoint and the traditional tastes remain intact.

Lyon’s cuisine owes its virtuosity first of all to the quality of local produce. The farms of the Bresse and Charolais regions, the wild game of the Dombes, the fish from the Savoy lakes, the fruits and vegetables of the Rhone valley and the Forez region are all within easy reach and supply the essential ingredients for Lyon’s famed cuisine. The local culinary specialties are plentiful and varied: pork products and “Cervelle de Canuts” soft cheese with herbs, “bugnes” beignets, fried pork fat, Lyonnais salad, “tablier de sapeur” tripes, “gras double” tripes, “petit salé” ham with lentils, “quenelles” dumplings (a mixture of butter, semolina and fish), black pudding, “andouillette” chitterling sausage, “paillasson” fried hashed potatoes, and more, if you’re still hungry!

But cooking is promoted to the rank of gastronomy when man adds imagination and a master’s touch. Rather, we should say, woman, for in Lyon it is the “mothers,” those famous robust cooks, who gave Lyonnais cuisine its very special character. When many large bourgeois families in the first half of the 20th century had to let go their in-house cooks, some of the women set up their own restaurant business. The first of these “mothers,” as they were known, was Mère Guy, followed by Mère Filloux and Mère Brazier, Mère Bourgeois and Mère Léa, who practiced their art at the beginning of this century, pleasing the palates of the most important personages of their time. Some famous recipes include the poularde demi-deuil (pullet hen with black truffles), cardoons with bone marrow and chicken liver soufflé.

Today, men uphold the tradition and many local 3-star restaurants (awarded by the Michelin Guide) carry the banner of Lyon cuisine throughout France and the world. You’ll have a meal to remember, be it with the great chefs or in the humble “bouchons”, these small traditional restaurants with picturesque interiors, serving local pork dish specialties, copiously washed down with bottles of Beaujolais or Côtes du Rhône wine.

Over 1000 restaurants contribute to the inviting and festive atmosphere of the city, along with the great chefs who are its ambassadors, but also thanks to such initiatives as the Food Trade Exhibition and the School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management.

Prestigious Wines

Lyon is bordered by the Beaujolais to the north, the Côteaux du Lyonnais vineyards to the west and the Côtes du Rhône to the south.


The Beaujolais is a region extending from the gates of Lyon to south Burgundy. It produces far more than the famous Beaujolais Nouveau, the arrival of which is celebrated every year on the third Thursday of November. The 10 vintage wines of the Beaujolais are the pride of local production and age well. Beaujolais wine-making methods are unique due the choice of black Gamay with white juice for the vine stock, the highest vineyard density in the world, manua
l harves
ting and a wine-making process using the whole bunch of grapes to bring out the Gamay aroma.

The ten Beaujolais vintages: Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Julienas, Morgon, Moulin à Vent, Régnié, Saint-Amour.

Côtes du Rhône

Overlooking the Rhone valley to the south of Lyon, lies one of the most ancient vineyards in the world, as the vestiges of Gallo-Roman viniculture confirm. The Côtes du Rhône is a world unto itself. The eight northernmost vintages must content themselves with narrow, steep, terraced lands facing the sun. Côte Rotie springs from the full-bodied and virile syrah vine stock and is divided between the “blonde” hill and the “brunette” hill, in memory of a lord of Maugiron who was said to have divided his land between his two daughters.

History was not kind to the little Condrieu vineyards, subjected to alternating periods of glory and neglect. The past three decades have seen a new period of revival. Condrieu wines are supple and light with an unmistakable touch of almond, quince, violet and apricot. One of the greatest white wines in the world, Château Grillet, is made with golden “viognier” grapes ripened on the rocky, narrow terraces of a tiny property. This extraordinary wine is characterized by a complex bouquet touched with peach and apricot, with shades of musk. Saint j2999eph wine was served at the table of French kings back in the 16th century. The red wines from syrah vine stock associate shades of red fruit and liquorice; the white wines have an intense bouquet of flowers and honey. The wines of Côteau de l’Hermitage have enjoyed constant fame since the 13th century. The dark ruby red wine with a blackcurrant and raspberry aroma develops a flavor suggesting black cherry. The white wine is powerful and marked by hints of vanilla and honey.

The eight vintage wines of the northern Côtes du Rhône: Saint j2999eph, Condrieu, Château-Grillet, Saint Peray, Cornas, Hermitage, Croze-Hermitage, Côte-Roti.


Washing It Down, Drying It Up, A La Vie Française

Excerpt from Parler Paris
By Adrian Leeds
Monday, January 24, 2007

One of the shocks when crossing the cultural divide from the other side of the ocean to France is as mundane a subject as washing clothes. Stateside we didn’t think too much about it. There was a laundry room all to itself equipped with a large cubic foot capacity washer and separate dryer, enough space for an ironing board, hanging rack and laundry basin. The washer took about 30 minutes to do a week’s load of darks and the dryer about the same, fluffing and taking out the wrinkles all along.

Then we moved to France.

The idea of laundry in France is as different from ours as are the French themselves. We were lucky to have a machine at all in the apartment we first rented (in 1994), and it performed both functions, washing and drying, neither one all that efficiently. Washing and drying the clothing took several hours and the heat baked the wrinkles in to a permanent state. I opted to hang the clothing, sheets and towels on a rack to reduce electricity consumption, spare the ironing and believe it or not, simplify my life. It became such a habit, that when installing a new machine years later, I opted for a washer-only, a solid expandable drying rack and towels that dry to the texture of cardboard. (I’ve come to love the way they exfoliate my skin!)

The year the 20-plus-year-old Siemens washer-dryer “kicked the bucket” ended in a war with Conforama (a furniture and appliance store with locations all over France) over a machine which couldn’t keep its parts functioning for more than a week. In the course of nine months, five different machines took residence in my kitchen, everyone in the “Après Vente” department at Conforama got to know the “crazy American woman who calls every day” and I learned a new French vocabulary like “lave linge,” “sèche-linge” and “soin du linge.” I started collecting coins to use in the laundromat down the street, bought a cart that I could roll a week’s worth of laundry down the stairs and cursed both Conforama and the system that had me spinning like the clothing in the dryer.

When the last and final machine was installed in my apartment by Darty (the biggest appliance store chain in France known for its excellent service), a Siemens washer with a particularly small 4-kilogram capacity (measured by weight rather than by space), I blessed their good service and vowed to remain “fidèle.”

Over dinner last night, visiting friends remarked about how they chose their rental apartment, “If the apartment has a washer-dryer, then we don’t have to pack as much.” And when you’re carrying bags up several flights of narrow stairs, packing light is ideal, so when furnishing “Le Provençal,” I didn’t consider for one moment NOT to install a washer-dryer in the apartment, regardless of its petit size. To Darty is where I ran, spotted a Siemens brand “sèche-linge” and handed over the “carte de cédit” to a whopping 800 euros and peace of mind.

Learning how to use a French washer-dryer is akin to mastering the French language and all its accents. Don’t expect their machines to perform like ours, just as you wouldn’t expect your French friends to stop smoking for health reasons. Thank goodness, one can order up a Siemens instruction booklet in English so that renters will know how to set the drying cycle for two hours (rather than 20 minutes) and that they can’t open the door until many minutes after the cycle is complete (rather than breaking it open with a crowbar).

When traveling to the States this past Fall, I had culture shock in reverse when spotting friends’ largest capacity machine on the market today, necessary for today’s king-size bedspreads…realizing it would take another studio apartment just to house it!

Washing It Down — A True Story:

Visiting friend from Hawaii, Gar Westfall, stopped into a laundromat in the 13th arrondissement to check out the price of the machines. There five young women there washing their own things when a tall, dark, good looking and well-built young man entered. Naturally all eyes followed him, until he did what they least expected.

In no time at all, he proceeded to undress…entirely…except for a T-shirt which came down only as far as his naval. Each garment went into the machine, he added the powder, the money and started it up. Then, he sat bare-bottomed on the cold plastic chair and waited for the machine to do its thing.

The young women tried to keep their eyes off him, but were having a hard time controlling their giggles! Gar went on his way, and now we’re sorry he didn’t hang around to get the end of the story for us to tell!


The Art of European Living Under One Roof

Excerpt from Parler Paris
By Adrian Leeds
Monday, January 29, 2007

When interior designer Martine Rosier Di Matteo suggested we meet up at this season’s Maison et Objet (http://www.maison-objet.com) to help choose furnishings for one of our clients, you can bet I jumped at the chance. The six-day bi-annual trade fair, for the past 10 years, is open exclusively to professionals, all 80,000 of them, who visit from 130 countries to peruse the more than 2,200 exhibitors’ stands showing more than 3,200 brands of furniture, upholstery, decoration and design collections. Five trade shows take place in two exhibition centers: Paris-Nord Villepinte and Paris Le Bourget, just south of the Charles de Gaulle airport.

Hall 1 featured ethnic up-market design; Hall 2 textiles for household linens, draperies and upholsteries; Hall 3 focused exclusively on what is most important in La Vie Française(!), “La Table” — the beautiful, the good and the useful; Halls 4 and 5 housed “Coté Déco” combining indoor-outdoor, “charme,” “actuel” (urban trends), garden, accessories, floral and candlery; Hall 6 simply featured decorative objects and a new hall, called “Now!” was dedicated to design and innovation — almost 7,000 square meters of emerging brands.

The exhibition paid tribute to Christian Lacroix as designer of the year, who is an emblematic figure of French contemporary design. Rosita Missoni, founder of the Missoni company, was featured by Maison et Objet Editeurs for the passionate woman she is to have built an empire around color, motif and materials. The Atelier d’Art de France competition selected 12 young talents to showcase this year, as well, chosen from 180 applications by a jury of journalists and applied arts professionals.

To begin to focus on any detail when presented with such an overwhelming selection is no easy task. Martine suggested we begin at Becara in Hall 5, a factory in Madrid with one of the largest and most prominent stands. Here the furnishings and accessories were a harmonious collection of soft taupe shades, distressed finishings, accessories using natural and textured materials, all in contemporary design. I could easily imagine furnishing an entire home from this one stop. We found several things we were sure our client would like, but I had Saint Tropez style on my mind for my next little pied-à-terre.

The displays themselves are mind-boggling. These innovators of design and function are incomparable trade show display producers — one stand more elaborate and beautiful than the next. Some had constructed displays as tall as three story buildings. Christmas light displays were blinding; candle and floral displays were fragrant; animated life-size Dalmatians were cute enough to pet…all in all the most amazing display of creativity under one roof I’ve ever seen.

Belgian-based Flamant had their famous paint collection on display — the colors luscious and rich. One wall of a tangerine tone looked good enough to eat. I recognized Zuber hand painted wallpapers and elegant fabrics from the shop on the corner of rue Froissart and boulevard des Filles du Calvaire — manufacturers founded in 1797 in the town of Rixheim who remain faithful to historic imagery and produce very fine work classified for historic monuments. The draperies were absolutely regal…fit for Marie Antoinette, should she suddenly appear in the showroom!

Mary Olivia Clark hand painted canvases and linens caught our eyes — a virtual “trompe l’oeil” of Provençal flora. I found Saint Tropez colors at Les Toiles du Soleil linens from Catalan…pale blues and greens, ecru and wicker tones in striped canvas, and later I found a display of furnishings that seemed to have “seaside” written all over it. I made mental note for future decorating plans.

Magazine publishers were selling subscriptions and booksellers featured tomes on art and design. Restaurants and snacks were within a few steps of one another — ice cream cones seemed to be all the rage and I wondered how they could allow it so close to all this beautiful upholstery. Hoards of visitors — enough to fill a city called Babel — speaking many different languages — carried bags and rolled suitcases down the aisles to collect materials and negotiate with each vendor.

One thing noticeable to me was the lack of color in furniture — mostly everything in shades of cream, taupe, black, silver and some gold with a splash of red every now and then. Perhaps this is the current trend? Or perhaps a reflection on the culture? Either way, clearly, this wasn’t a trade show taking place in Southern California…but who cared?


Overseas Mortgage Rate Benefits at Risk
From MoneyExtra.com

Nearly a third of all Brits buying property in France are choosing French mortgage providers, according to Crédit Foncier de France, France’s number one mortgage provider. And while French mortgages are typically cheaper than in the UK, foreign exchange specialists Moneycorp warn that these property investors could be exposing themselves to excessive bank charges and unnecessary currency risk, negating the benefits of money saved on the rates they’re negotiating.

Mark Bodega, director at Moneycorp says that while more and more Brits are attracted to the cheaper rates offered by French Euro mortgages most people completely forget to take into account the transfer charges levied by their bank and the currency risk associated with transferring money abroad.

“To make the most of good French mortgage deals, Brits need to consider how they are going to transfer money abroad to meet the repayments,” says Bodega.

According to Crédit Foncier, the value of cross border mortgages in the French property industry is increasing by approximately 50% a year. It hit 6 billion euros in 2006. Overseas buyers now make up over 6% of the French property market and almost half of these are British or Irish.

Typically, the savings to be made when using a foreign currency specialist, as opposed to doing your loan through a UK bank, will include a more competitive exchange rate, no commission charges, no transfer fees and no receiving fees. As ever, however, the message is to shop around and do your research first.

Editor’s Note: To contact these valuable resources…

Moneycorp: https://adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/loan/moneycorpconvertor.html
Crédit Foncier: https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/loan/lenders.html

Be sure to tell them you are a reader of French Property Insider.


Property Consultation, Search and Relocation Solutions

Let French Property Insider expert property consultants find your dream home in France for you. We consult with you to help you make the best decisions, ferret out the finest properties to meet your criteria, schedule the visits and accompany you, negotiate with the agencies and owners, recommend the Notaires and other professionals, schedule the signings and oversee the purchase with you from start to finish! You could never do it so easily on your own. Let us take the time and effort off your hands.
FPI Offers More Relocation Solutions!
Moving to Paris? Our experienced relocation expert will make your move easy and hassle-free. We offer complete property and relocation services normally only provided by employer hired relocation firms…but at a price much more affordable for individuals.
Download Complete Brochure



Visit the FPI Web site and click on the link on the left panel or click here for Currency Convertor by Moneycorp Global Money Services: https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/insider/moneycorpconvertor.html
for up to the minute conversions of all major currencies.

Compare currency values easily and quickly by visiting:

The charts below are updated every ten seconds.

The prices shown are “inter bank” exchange rates and are not the rates that you will be offered by Moneycorp. Your rate will be determined by the amount of currency that you are buying. Please speak with an Moneycorp dealer or your consultant for a live quotation.
Parler Paris Après-Midi
NEXT MEETING: February 13, 2007 AND EVERY SECOND TUESDAY OF THE MONTH, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
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
Métro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, République or Arts et Métiers

HOT PROPERTY PICKS: First Class Finds in the Second
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 https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/consultation

*** Lyon, 2nd Arrondissement, 4 rooms, approx. 154m²

Beautiful 4 room apartment with wood floors, fireplaces, full of original features.

Asking Price: 399,000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee

*** Lyon, 5th Arrondissement, Loft, 3/4 rooms, approx. 159m²

Near Quais de Saône, duplex loft, completely renovated, quiet and full of light. Large living room with high ceilings and fireplace, 2 bedrooms, fully equipped kitchen, 2 bathrooms, laundry, air conditioning. With a view of the Saône.

Asking Price: 470,000 € + 2.5% Finder’s Fee

*** Lyon, 2nd Arrondissement, 3 rooms, approx. 130m²

18th century character in this renovated apartment with a large living room featuring wood floors, fireplaces, French ceilings. 2 bedrooms on a large courtyard, very bright and quiet. A wonderful opportunity in the city center.

Asking Price: 500,000 € + 2.5% Finder‘s Fee


Paris Auctions

Next session: February 6 and 13, 2007 at 2 p.m.

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 http://www.encheres-Paris.com/ Though the site has a button for an English version, it isn’t reliable to work.

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

February 6, 2007

2 rooms, 80,90 m²
7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre
75009 PARIS 9th
Opening Bid: 401,500 €
Deposit: 80,300 €
4 rooms, 76,30 m²
8 rue de l’Espérance
75013 PARIS 13th
Opening Bid: 250,000 €
Deposit: 50,000€
3 rooms, 60,5 m²
63 rue Laugier
75017 PARIS 17th
Opening Bid: 265,000 €
Deposit: 53,000 €
Studio, 34,40 m²
19 rue du Général Appert
75016 PARIS 16th
Opening Bid: 135,000 €
Deposit: 27,000 €
2 rooms, 26,40 m²
6 rue Yvonne Le Tac
75018 PARIS 18th
Opening Bid: 135,000 €
Deposit: 27,000 €

February 13, 2007

Studio 17 m²
7 rue Valadon
75007 PARIS 7th
Opening Bid: 85,000 €
Deposit: 17,000 €
4 rooms 113,9 m²
87 boulevard Voltaire
75011 PARIS 11th
Opening Bid: 460,000 €
Deposit: 92,000 €
5 rooms 159,66 m²
5 bis rue Budé
75004 PARIS 4th
Opening Bid: 855,000 €
Deposit: 171,000 €
2 rooms 52,3 m²
8/10 rue de la Bûcherie
75005 PARIS 5th
Opening Bid: 350,000 €
Deposit: 70,000 €
2 rooms 47,5 m²
124/126 rue du Théâtre
75015 PARIS 15th
Opening Bid: 250,000 €
Deposit: 50,000 €
6 rooms 227,4 m² + service room 9,3 m²
16 avenue du Président Kennedy
75016 PARIS 16th
Opening Bid: 1,000,000 €
Deposit: 200,000 €




France, Paris / Ile de France, Rueil Malmaison

One Bedroom 44m² to 55m² €274,000 to €312,000


Classic – Buy to Let



Ideally located 15km west of Paris, less than 6km from the business park of La Defense, Rueil-Malmaison spans from the heights of Mont Valerien and the hills of Buzenval all the way to the banks of the Seine River. This ancient rural commune has become a modern city that is home to many major companies. Green spaces have been preserved in spite of the creation of new residential neighbourhoods, resulting in a city that is green, harmonious and tranquil. Malmaison is best known for its Chateau de Malmaison and its superb rose garden. The town is set amongst the grounds of the Bois-Preau which was once a favourite with impressionist artists and today provides opportunities for all sorts of sporting activities.

The area has undergone a major revival and renovation producing a new neighbourhood of small apartment blocks and office buildings. The district covers 8 hectares within an enclosed and secured area boasting many landscaped garden areas. The residence is located in the heart of a vast green park with many trees and vegetation offering privacy and security. The project comprises 5 four-storey apartment buildings displaying elegant classic facades of dressed stone, brick facing and pale coloured renderings. Apartments offer a wide range of plans and expositions, with generous floor space of between 44 to 117 square metres. In addition, apartments offer pleasant views over luscious greenery, opening out onto wide balconies or beautiful open-air terraces on the top floor, or onto private gardens. The surroundings make for a truly enjoyable stay with historic points of interest set in a tranquil, countryside setting. The RER-A railway train is just a short walk from the residence whisking you to Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle-Etoile in only a few minutes where various transport connections are found.

This is an excellent opportunity to own an apartment in an incredible location that may be used as a principal residence or purchased to rent out. Take advantage of this flexible investment opportunity offering investors the choice between a classic real estate venture or an investment purchase with the intention of letting the property out. If the investor wishes, our partners will manage the rental of the property on the investor’s behalf. Our partners will find and select tenants for the investor affording complete peace of mind. Investors may choose to purchase with an implemented service package providing a range of guarantees according to the terms of the contract chosen. This entails a guaranteed initial rental income or a guaranteed regular revenue: if the property becomes vacant or if it remains not let for more than one month, the investor will receive a regular monthly revenue corresponding to the market rent (excluding rental charges) for an unlimited period, guaranteed cover against rent default, as from the first month and for an unlimited period and guaranteed cover against damage to the property by the tenant. You are thereby assured of the security of your investment, while obtaining the best possible return.


When you make a purchase as important as a piece of real estate in a foreign country, you want to know that you can trust the people you are dealing with. Adrian Leeds has developed a network of professionals that meet only the highest of standards. With the expertise and experience of Adrian and her team, you can depend on getting the best advice and support to feel completely confident that you are making an informed investment decision.
Let us help you secure a mortgage in France at a competitive interest rate. Visit https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/loan for more information or contact [email protected]

Managing Your French Property Insider Subscription is Easy!
We receive many emails from French Property Insider Subscribers who want to change their email address, or update personal information. But did you know that you can make these changes yourself?
It’s easy…
1. Go to https://adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider
2. Click on “Manage Subscription.” You’ll find it under the “Subscribers Only” section in the sidebar.
3. Enter your username and password.
4. On the Welcome Page, go to “Manage Your Account” and click on “Change Password/Edit Profile”
5. Once you’ve made the changes, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Save Profile.”
Of course, we’re always happy to help, so if you do need assistance, send an email to [email protected]
Insider Paris Guides Have a New Home

Insider Paris Guides started almost 10 years ago with the idea of creating an online electronic regularly updated listing of my favorite good-value restaurants. I wrote it one summer, listed 50 Paris restaurants and we called it the Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris Restaurants. It sold from the moment it hit cyberspace and over the years, guides were added to the roster. Today there are four guides:

Good Value Restaurants

You don’t need to be rich to dine well in Paris – you just need to know where to go. Enjoy fabulous three-course meals with wine for just $20 to $30, including tax and tip. Explore more than 200 hand-picked great-value restaurants.

Living in France

France may seem familiar, but nearly everything — from paying taxes to having a baby — is done quite differently. Get the practical answers to nearly 300 questions about making a life in France.

Expat Writers

Are you, like so many great writers past and present, drawn to and intoxicated by the City of Light? Discover the ins-and-outs of literary Paris whether you are a novelist, journalist, poet or just a dreamer.

Black Culture

This is
the first g
uide of its kind, devoted to understanding and exploring the rich Black culture and vibrant Black community in Paris. Make the most of Paris’s multicultural sites, sounds and tastes.

Bastille Media took over the publishing responsibilities of the Insider Paris Guides this month and yes(!), we will continue to offer a discount to FPI subscribers.

The discount will be 10% off any guide and up to 25% off the entire
purchase (if two or more guides are purchased at the same time). But
the way you as a subscriber to FPI will take advantage of the discount has changed a bit. Here’s how it works:

1. Click on special Web link we give you just for FPI subscribers.

2. Then order one or more guide(s) and use the promotion code “ED762.” This promotion code gives you 10% off your total

3. If you order two or more guides, then an additional 15% will be taken off automatically. There is no promotion code needed.

Here is the special “coupon” Web link just for you: http://www.insiderparisguides.com/offer/fpi_offer.htm



To access password protected pages: click on any of the links on the left panel of the home page of FrenchPropertyInsider.com under “Subscriber’s Only,” then type in your personal username and password.

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

To receive your free French Leaseback Report or the Paris Property
Report, click on



1 square meter = 10.7639104 square feet

1 hectare = 2.4710538 acres

For more conversions, refer to: http://www.onlineconversion.com/


Email: [email protected]/parlerparis

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 their best for your 100% guaranteed satisfaction.
“Le Provençal” Studio
Located in a very charming and quiet 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, this sunny studio is perfect for one or two seeking ultimate Parisian calm, flavored with the beautiful colors of Provence.

LAST MINUTE RENTAL! Available March 8th – 27th and April 26th – May 6th (departure May 7th)!

Pictures and more details available here: https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/parlerparis/apartments/rentals/provencal.html
Two-Bedroom Leeds Marais Apartment
Available in its entirety February 16 – 27, 2007
150 per Night, 7 Night Minimum

Located in a charming 17th century Le Marais Hôtel Particulier, this 70 square meter two-bedroom apartment with lots of light is nicely furnished and is perfect for up to 4 people. Includes high speed Internet access, free international calling, housekeeping one time per week and all linens.

Pictures and more details available here: https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/parlerparis/apartments/rentals/leeds.html
Email [email protected]/parlerparis



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.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis


Copyright 2010, Adrian Leeds®
Adrian Leeds Group, LLC, ht
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