Mastering Money Matters
Volume III, Issue 18
Today’s issue deals with the subject of “money.” It’s a dirty word for the French, but the number one topic for Americans. I say this lightly, but the truth is we rarely speak of it — the French are not in the habit of comparing prices or discussing stock trends.
Money is, however, a number one concern for Americans and Canadians living on dollars and moving to France or purchasing property here in euros. It was great while the euro was weaker or equal with the dollar. Now that the table has turned, our dollars buy less, so managing our money has become even more important.
The drastic change in the rate of exchange has thrown everything on a tilt that makes balancing our financial lives a circus act. And banking in a foreign country can be as difficult as learning a second language. So, today I lend advice that will help you walk the ‘tight rope’ and decipher the ‘codes.’ It’s a big topic, and this barely scratches the surface…but it will get you on the road to a more profitable transition.
Yolanda Robins, Property Search Consultant and Chief Search Consultant, lends her expertise and analysis of Paris property price trends and why prices are still climbing. We’ve also included a couple of newsworthy items about economic issues that would affect your property purchase and investment decisions.
CNN says the Americans are back on the road and that’s good news for tourism and short-term vacation apartment owners hoping to increase their occupancy rates. Financial analysts say the all time low interest rate is here to stay for a while making purchasing property with a mortgage as cheap as it’s ever going to get.
Jean Taquet answers two questions from his readers…1) is there a limit to raising the rent? And 2) is there a return/refund policy on property purchases?
Thanks to FranceMonthly.com, we are able to take a look at the Savoie in the Alps a resort area where a new Leaseback property is up for sale plus properties for sale in the town of Chambery. Because the 5th arrondissement has shown more growth than any other, we’ve also listed a Leaseback in the chic 6th just at the edge of the 5th and two apartments worth a consideration.
A special thanks goes to Assistant Lynda Sydney who has been contributing to the production of FPI the past several issues. She’s headed home to Toronto next week, but we’re expecting her back in early June for a permanent position with French Property Insider and Parler Paris.
Editor, French Property Insider
Email: [email protected]
P.S.We’re getting ready for the best Working and Living in France Conference ever…so don’t delay in registering as we’re just two weeks away: May 20 – 22, 2005, Paris! Click here now to secure your place: Click here now to secure your place.
Volume III, Issue 18, May 5, 2005
In this issue:
* Making the Most of Money
* The Right to Raise the Rent
* Getting a Lay of the Land…Paris Prices Pushing Upward
* Interest Rates Still in Our Best Interest
* Americans Back on Track — Traveling and Trekking
* Savoir le Savoie — A Peak at the Alps
* Today’s Rates of Exchange by Moneycorp Currency Brokers
* Hot Paris Property Picks: Savoie Seven and Five Rooms in the 5th
* Leasebacks: Alpine Lift and Paris Luxury
* What’s On the Auction Block
* The Conference from the Original Creators
* Book Property Services Before June 1 and Save
* Getting a Mortgage is Easier Than You Think
* Take Advantage of Your Insider Discount
* Things You Need to Know
* Classified Advertising: Vacation Apartments
Making the Move and Mastering Money Matters
By Adrian Leeds
It’s tough enough to manage your money when you’re a tourist traveling to a foreign country with a different currency. Imagine what it’s like to manage your finances when dealing in two currencies on two continents? That’s what you may be dealing with should you choose to spend any length of time in France or own property here.
Rate of Exchange
The first thing you must understand is the rate of exchange. The majority of the Foreign Exchange Market (“Forex” — buying and selling of world currencies) is done by the largest commercial banks based in five major centers of trading — London, New Y
ork, Zurich, Frankfurt and Tokyo. These banks set the rates based on minute-by-minute trading. Reported rates differ bank-by-bank and minute-by-minute. Rates for buying a currency differ from rates selling a currency.
The bad news for those earning U.S. dollars is that at the time of this writing, the current dollar vs. euro rate of exchange is approximately $1 = €.77 or €1 = $1.30. Exchange rates fluctuate for a variety of reasons, however, it’s clear that your U.S. greenback is going to buy you less in France.…for now. The good news is that should you make a property purchase in France, you will be hedging your bets by divesting your assets and investing in a strong currency.
Handling cash will be the easiest transition to make. You need only to become familiar with the euro notes and coins. To prepare for your trip over, you need only enough euros with you to get you from the airport to your final destination and a bit beyond, otherwise you risk paying high rates of exchange on more than is necessary.
You should be able to buy euros at any major bank in your city. Don’t bother with travelers’ checks unless you want the safety they provide if lost or stolen, because the French aren’t used to processing them and won’t likely accept them in most establishments. Also, avoid the airports and hotels exchange offices because of exorbitant transaction fees.
Credit and Debit Cards
Once in the city, the best way to get cash is via any one of the automatic teller machines (ATM) at almost all the bank branches and post offices using a credit card or debit card. Generally bank cards offer the most favorable exchange rates for changing small amounts of money, since credit card companies have access to better rates than individuals. Be careful when using the bank card if your home currency is falling—since the transactions are not converted instantly, there is a possibility that you will end up with a less favorable conversion rate a few days later.
Keep in mind that your withdrawal may be subject to a fee (about $1.50 – $2), so check with your bank before leaving home. The other point to note is that your bank may freeze your card if out-of-the-ordinary transactions (such as withdrawals in four different countries over the course of a week) appear, so keep a copy of your bank’s contact information on hand or notify them in advance of your trip. There are also limits to how much can be extracted in any given day, usually about a $500 value.
If you want or need more than that, you can enter the bank and request a “cash advance” on the card. All banks in France will not know how to handle the transaction and others will have strict limits on what amount they will allow. Be prepared to show an ID, such as a passport and don’t be surprised if they flatly refuse you unless you are already a customer of the bank.
“Credit cards” differ from “debit cards” in that a credit card will charge interest on the amount advanced until it is paid, while a debit card extracts cash directly from your account. Also, credit cards have fees attached to foreign transactions which vary from 1% to 4%. If this information is not printed in your credit card agreement (often not!), phone the company and specifically ask what foreign transaction fees you can expect.
It is best advised to use your French credit/debit cards in France and your U.S. credit/debit cards in the U.S. to reduce transaction fees.
Online banking is very useful. Within 48 hours a foreign transaction will appear on your bank or credit card statement so you’ll know what rate of exchange you’re getting. From long distance you can often pay bills and transfer funds between accounts within the same bank. If you’re not banking with an institution that provides this service, consider making a move to one that does. The French banks now provide online service, but at a small monthly cost. U.S. banks provide it free of charge.
Opening a Bank Account
Getting a bank account in France is not as simple as it is Stateside, where friendly account managers sit waiting at their desks to welcome you. Banks in France prefer to establish a solid relationship with a customer that will lead to provision of more services and can make subjective decisions on who they want as customers.
With a residence visa of some sort (Carte de Séjour or Carte de Résident), you can more easily make an appointment with any bank to open standard checking and savings accounts and subscribe to the French Visa, “Carte Bleue.” Without the visa, if you have proof you own property (copy of a “Promesse de Vente” or “Acte de Vente”) or have a long-term lease, you will also be more readily welcomed.
To make an appointment, you must call or stop into the branch and request to see an account manager. An appointment for a future time will be made. It is best to have a “sponsor” call for you or make the referral. A sponsor is someone who is already a customer of the bank who can introduce you. This is a very important step in establishing a proper relationship with a bank as money is NOT what talks in France…but trusting and honorable relationships do. If you attempt to show your clout by how much money you will deposit in their bank, you are likely to fail! And believe it or not, accounts are opened with not a single centime.
Depending on the bank’s policies, checking accounts and checkbooks can be free or charged. Savings account often yield as much as 3% interest and again, the rate depends on the bank. Carte Bleue is actually a debit card as the funds are extracted from your checking account automatically at in total for the month at the end of the month. There are no outstanding balances and no interest is charged. There are annual fees associated with the right to have a Carte Bleue. It can be used to make purchases or extract cash from your account at any ATM — with a four digit PIN ([Personal Identification Number) rather than a signature.
Bouncing a check is illegal in France and is subsequent to fines. Your account could be frozen and drastic measures could be taken which could deny you the right to a checking account for years. We recommend maintaining an appropriate balance in your account at all times.
Banks to consider would be commercial banks with many branches, particularly ones nearest your own property where you can have a regular and ongoing presence to establish a better relationship. The following is a list of France’s most
popular commercial banks. Ask your friends which they recommend:
COMMERCIAL FRENCH BANKS
|Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP Paribas)
|Crédit Commercial de France (CCF)
|Crédit Municipal de Paris
|Crédit Industriel et Commercial (CIC)
Special note: Barclays, CIC, BNP and many others offer dollar accounts making it easy and less expensive to transfer funds between your dollar account and euro account. It is also a great way to reduce your costs associated with transferring funds. But beware, there may be tax penalties relating to foreign dollar accounts, so be sure to get the advice of your tax advisor before proceeding.
To wire funds from your U.S. or Canadian bank, you will be asked for your account number along with a “Routing Number,” “Swift Code,” “ABA Number” or “Sort Code.”
They all look similar. This number is found on your checks along with your account number.
A wire transfer is where money can be unnecessarily spent in fees and poor rates of exchange. Banks traditionally provide poor rates, therefore I highly recommend you contact a currency broker (such as Moneycorp/) and compare rates. A currency broker has the ability to do “spot trades” where you buy currency at the prevailing exchange rate and pay for it straight away or “forward currency contracts” where you fix the exchange rate now for a specific date in the future (up to 2 years ahead). This is especially useful when transferring large sums for making property purchases or loading accounts with large funds to make mortgage payments, pay bills, etc. at a time when the rate of exchange is favorable.
Paying bills in France can be particularly easy via the RIB (Relevé d’Identité Bancaire) system of automatic debit from your account. Utility and phone companies prefer that your bills be paid in this way. Your bank will provide you with “slips” noting all the correct numbers your debtors need: “Code Banque,” “Code Guichet,” “Numéro de Compte” and “Clé RIB.” When you provide this, you authorize the debtor to extract the funds from your account. It’s particularly useful for absentee homeowners so that their electricity and telephone bills are paid in full and on time without worry. Lenders holding your mortgage will require that the monthly payment be made this way and therefore having a bank account in France is mandatory.
Getting a Mortgage
The good news is that obtaining a mortgage here is very doable. You have a few options including going to a French bank or a British bank doing business in France.
Going directly to a commercial French bank as a non-resident can be a bit dicey. Unless you have a regular salary going into a French account, they tend not to be as interested in dealing with foreign clients, but there are British and French Banks which are set up particularly to work with non-residents.
The paperwork and requirements to obtain a mortgage are fairly simple and similar between institutions. Loans in France are based on your income, not your assets, and the monthly amount of the mortgage cannot be more than one-third of your monthly income. You can obtain financing for 10, 15, 20 or 25 years at variable or fixed percentage rates (depending on your age up to 75) and recently, interest-only loans are being made available. Lengthening the term of your mortgage or opting for interest-only can help reduce currency exchange losses. Lenders base their rates on the “Euribor” (Euro Interbank Offered Rate) — the rate at which euro interbank term deposits within the euro zone are offered by one prime bank to another prime bank. At the time of this writing, it is under 2.5%.
There is normally a small origination fee of approximately 1% or less and a life insurance policy attached to the loan is mandatory to insure completion of payment. Prior to making a property purchase, it is recommended to contact the lenders in advance to submit an application for a pre-approval “in principal.” It is not until a property is committed to (having signed a “Promesse de Vente” or “Compromis de Vente”) that the lender will formally submit your application for approval by the committee.
The lenders I recommend are: Abbey National, Banque Patrimoine et Immobilier (BPI), Barclays and Entenial.
Mastering Your Money
There is no one easy solution to mastering your finances in a foreign country. As long as you never stop asking questions and pursuing new avenues to reduce your risk and costs associated with transferring funds, you will have succeeded in at least controlling some of your destiny – as you have no control over the rate of exchange or the policies administered by financial institutions.
Si non, bonne chance and bon courage!
Editor’s note: To contact the lenders, Moneycorp or any other recommended resources made here, please contact French Property Insider at [email protected] or click on https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/loan
Jean Taquet’s Practical Answers: Raising the Rent
May 1, 2005
I am an American and for years I rented the same apartment in Paris. During that time, the rent was never increased, even though the lease stated that it would be raised every three years. I moved about a year ago to a new apartment managed by the same company. I just got notice in the mail today that the agency is raising my rent almost ¤100 a month, from ¤1914 to ¤2011. I do not recall their being able to raise my rent in this fashion according to the contract. How is it possible for the rent to suddenly increase without any reason, and from what I can see, without any limit? This feels quite illegal to me; I was told that, in France, the government controlled all the rents.
I see two questions that need to be answered: 1)”Can the rent be raised without any limit?; and 2) “Are all rents controlled by the French government?”
To accurately answer the first one, I need to give some further information. There are four types of leases in France. The commercial lease is for professional use only; it can be for a factory, an office or a shop, and it does not make much difference which one it is for. It is a nine-year lease for the landlord, and every three years, the tenant can give notice. The second type is the unfurnished lodging lease which is so heavily regulated that standardized lease contract forms listing the legal regulations can be purchased in stores. Its duration is three years when the landlord is a private individual, and six years if the landlord is a professional or a corporation. The third type, the furnished apartment, is but lightly regulated. The fourth type is called a mixed lease, wherein part of the location is used for lodging and the rest for work. This is also lightly regulated, except for the part covering the unfurnished lodging portion of the apartment or house. In any case, an increase of the rent must be defined by a specific provision found in the lease in order to be legal. Today it is extremely rare to find a lease without this provision. The most common rent-increase clauses, and the ones with which I am most familiar, define a date to trigger the increase. This date is almost always the anniversary of the signature of the lease, and the increase is a ratio, which is usually calculated by INSEE, the National Statistics authority in France. The most common ratio used is the one measuring the price increase of the cost of construction, and is thus not really a definitive limit. The last thing regarding this topic is that the rent can increase yearly in the case of a lodging lease. In the case of a professional lease, partially or completely, then there is often an increase every three years. In order to find out what your lease permits, you should find the provision called “révision du loyer.”
Given the precedent from the French Supreme Court and the guidelines issued by the government, the landlord cannot simply increase the rent, just like that, even when signing a new lease with a new tenant. Indeed, an unfurnished apartment lease can last for decades, should the apartment be passed through generations or among immediate family members. In those circumstances, the landlord cannot terminate a lease. Since the rent increase is limited to the strict application of the above-mentioned provisions, after that many years, the rent could be significantly below the market price, and the landlord would be unable to do anything about it, as such.
On the other hand, a commercial contract, whether complete or mixed, can be terminated on the anniversary date, provided that a new lease is offered and that the amount of rent charged is within the market price. In order for such a rent increase to be legal, the landlord must gather various quotes on existing rentals in the immediate neighborhood in order to establish what exactly constitutes “market price.”
It is always possible for a landlord to waive the rent increase provision and not raise the rent for several years consecutively, and should that occur, I can’t imagine that any tenant would ask to have this provision enforced. That said, the fact of its not having been enforced doesn’t give a tenant the right to NOT have the rent increased.
I am American, and my wife, daughter and I are living in France for what we thought was the foreseeable future. I hold a very good job for the French subsidiary of an American multinational. Everything was going our way, so we decided a few weeks ago to sign the presale contract to purchase a gorgeous house on the outskirts of Paris. I have just learned that I have been called back to headquarters on the West Coast, and I must take up my new position in about thirty days or so. Can I get out of this purchase without losing too much money?
This is a very interesting question. Strictly speaking, from a legal point of view, the answer is no. However, there is a much more practical approach that could make the outcome serve your best interests. Without going through all the provisions usually found in a presale contract, I would like to focus specifically on two. The so-called SRU law requires that the buyer be allowed a seven-day period to reflect on the purchase; during this time frame, the buyer can terminate the sale by sending a registered letter to the realtor or the notaire – whichever one oversaw the signing of the contract. It is clear that you are past this seven-day period, and it is highly unlikely that the contract has a specific waiver about the buyer losing his job or being transferred. Therefore, as such, your transfer back to the USA cannot be used to get out of the deal. Now, if the contract you signed is a “promesse de vente,” all you will lose is the 10% deposit on the house. If it is a “compromis de vente,” you could be taken to court and required to purchase the house entirely. Either way, from a legal point of view, there is nothing that can be done.
The second provision I would like to address now is the waiver regarding getting a mortgaged loan to purchase the house, which is found in just about all purchase contracts. I have no doubt that your income is such that you would easily qualify for the loan, provided that you maintain your income. Now, should
you walk through some very delicate and narrow guidelines with these banks, there is a way to exercise the right defined in the loan waiver.
First, explain to all the banks to which you have submitted a loan application that, within a few months, your salary will not be paid in France, and that you and your entire family will be leaving the country. So should they approve you for the loan, you will systematically default on it once you are out of France. Indeed, you will not have the means to pay for two lodgings and your priority is to secure a roof for your family. At this point, I assure you that the French banks will have a radically different view of your application – you will be too much of a financial risk, considering the potential loss the bank could experience should the house be auctioned. So, if you play it out as just outlined, it is highly unlikely that any French bank would approve your loan application. This would qualify you to exercise the loan waiver provision, and you could walk out of the contract and get all your money back. No fees should be charged to you. However, as stated above, and as you can probably imagine, this maneuver is still much easier said than done, and must be done perfectly. If you make the slightest mistake, the seller will likely pounce on it, and refuse you the right to exercise the loan waiver provision. Therefore, I recommend you seek the help of a professional specialized in this field.
Jean Taquet is a French jurist and associate member of the Delaware Bar Association, specializes in civil, criminal and commercial law. He frequently gives courses about the legal system in France and regularly speaks at the Living in France Conferences in the U.S. and Paris. He is also well known for his informative Q and A columns in past Paris Voice magazines, which can now be purchased in one document as “The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France.”
To subscribe to his monthly newsletter, email Jean Taquet at [email protected]
To make an appointment with Jean Taquet for his consultation services:
Phone: Cell: 06.16.81.48.07 or email [email protected]
To read this month’s column in it’s entirety, click here:
The Picture of Paris Property Prices
By Yolanda Robins
Last month the Chambre de Notaire released its latest figures for real estate values in France and Paris continued to experience growth despite recent reports of market stabilization. There was only one arrondissement which experienced a slight decline of approximately 1%, the 6th and this was due to the fact that property values in this area have always been very high relative to the average and buyers have discovered other areas in which they can obtain a healthy return on their investment while achieving steady rental income.
Third Quarter to Fourth Quarter 2004
From the third quarter of 2004 to the fourth quarter of 2004, property values in Paris increased an average of 2.8%. The greatest increase from the previous quarter was experienced in the 5th arrondissement, which was over 10% comprising the neighborhoods near the Pantheon, the Sorbonne, Saint Michel and Val de Grâce. Thereafter, the 15th arrondissement, which experienced an increase in excess of 5%, comprising the neighborhoods of La Motte Picquet, Grenelle, Commerce, Convention, Segur and Vaugirard. The 15th particularly near the border of the 7th arrondissement continues to be an attractive investment for those looking to reduce their cost of entry but gain significant appreciation.
Fourth Quarter 2003 to Fourth Quarter 2004
From the fourth quarter of 2003 to the same period in 2004, property values in Paris increased an average of 14.99%. The areas which experienced the greatest increase, include the 5th, 9th, 10th, 15th and 18th arrondissements. The 9th arrondissement includes the areas of Saint Georges, Trinité and the Grand Boulevards where you can find properties on average of 5,800 euros per square meter. The 10th arrondissement, which is divided by the lovely Canal St. Martin, offers more than favorable values with current property values of approximately 5,200 euros per square meters. The 10th is particularly a “branché” neighborhood as it borders the Marais, the Bastille and République.
Variance between Published and Current Market Values
Although the growth continues, the valuations published by the Chambre de Notaire are approximately 40% less than current market valuations. The current market valuations contained in the accompanying analysis is an average of two dozen listings from various sources, including current listings by agencies and individual owners.
For example in the first arrondissement, which comprises the neighborhoods of Châtelet/Les Halles, Montorgueil and Palais Royal, the latest published price per square meter figure for the period ending December 31, 2004 is 5,818 euros per square meter. Conversely, current market valuations, on average, in this area are around 7,500 euros per square meters, which represents a variance of nearly 30%. In the city of Paris as a whole, the difference is approximately 40% between published figure of 4,587 per square meter and 6,368 per square meter on average for current prices.
Why the difference? There are several factors contributing to this variance. First is timing. There is approximately a 90-day period from the time an offer is made on a property until the time of closing. Thereafter, the numbers may not be reported until up to six months to the office of the notaire. Secondly is the reduction in the purchase price, which can be attributed to direct payments made to the agent to help reduce notaire fees; listing of inventory of fixed furniture such as built-ins and appliances; and under-the-table cash transactions, which are illegal but do occur. Finally, the figures are dilutive as they are reported by an arrondissement in its entirety and do not account for differences by neighborhoods. For example in the 18th arrondissement, a property in the heart of
Montmartre near Sacre Coeur or on Rue des Abbesses can be sold for around 6,000 euros per square meter or more, while a property near Chateau Rouge or Max Dormoy, will be listed for around 3,400 euros per square meter.
Despite the recent and expected rise in property values in Paris, there continues to be opportunities for growth and appreciation. If you avail yourself to our expertise, we will find a property that meets all of your goals and one which you will enjoy for years to come.
Click here to open the price chart in pdf format: https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/insider/issues/images/2004_RE_Figures.pdf
Editor’s Note: Yolanda Robins is Property Search Consultant and Chief Search Consultant. If you’re considering purchasing a property in Paris or France, she’s the person to contact! Email [email protected]
Interest Rates Still at an All Time Low — The European Central Bank
By Kathy Lien, Chief Strategist
On April 7th, the ECB met expectations by leaving interest rates unchanged at a six-decade low of 2.00%. In the introductory statement, ECB President Trichet kept his statement that there’s “no significant evidence that underlying domestic inflationary pressures are building up in the euro area,” while acknowledging that existing “upside risks to price stability over the medium term” will require “continued vigilance.” He did however, change his wording a bit in referring to the interest rate. Whereas they were previously described as being at “historically low levels,” this month’s statement included that they were at “exceptionally low levels.” As for the economic analysis, Trichet identified the current growth as moderate, but not strengthening in terms of underlying dynamics.
Although consumer price inflation will be slightly above the target at 2.1%, there is recognition that much of this is from oil prices and not domestic inflationary pressures since wage increases are still “contained.” This doesn’t rule out the threat to price stability coming from oil prices changing the price expectations that affect the decisions of wage-setters and price-setters. Also, looking at the monetary system, the bank has observed that there may be excess liquidity in the system, which will add to inflationary pressures. As far as the timing of the next rate change goes, on the one hand, there are the underlying inflation risks, but there’s also double-digit unemployment in two of the largest economies keeping the near future uncertain for now.
Americans On the Road Again
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – The message from the travel industry this spring: Americans are on the road again.
“Despite terrorist threats, fuel price rises, and a weak dollar,” says Amy Ziff, roving editor for Travelocity, “Americans feel free to travel again, especially to Europe, where they’ve been going in increasing numbers.”
According to the European Travel Commission, a record 14 million Americans will visit Europe this year, surpassing the 13.5 million who ventured there in 2000.
This is good news for the travel industry. For travelers, though, heightened demand has pushed up prices across the board.
An annual AAA survey of domestic travel costs reports that per diem prices are up 5 percent over last year. The story is even worse overseas. The dollar has lost 6 percent of its value against the euro, and that doesn’t account for other price increases.
So far, high fuel prices have had little impact on fares, but just last week American Airlines announced it would add fuel surcharges of $5 a ticket for domestic flights, more for international ones. Other airlines will likely follow suit.
Hotels prices are up already. John Walsh, spokesman for Marriott International, reports that average daily rates (ADRs) at Marriott (domestic and international) are up an average of 7 percent this year. The AAA reports that domestic lodging for a family of four costs nearly 4 percent more this year and now average $129 a night.
Lower room inventories also means chains offer fewer bookings to such Internet bidding sites as Priceline.com.
“When the economy was not doing well you could find great rates there,” says Walsh. “Now, it’s hard to find bargains.”
Heavy demand for airline seats and hotel rooms has many travel professionals advising vacationers to book well in advance. Procrastinators may have to pay more or settle for an inconvenient flight.
In the past, prices tended to drop as the departure dates grew near as airlines scrambled to fill empty seats. This year, prices are rising as travelers compete for scarce berths.
Sean Comey, spokesman for AAA of Northern California, Nevada, and Utah, reports that the best air deals are available 90 to 120 days in advance. He himself was stung by not booking early; it cost him an extra $300 each for two cruise tickets because he waited too long.
Ultimately, vacationers may have a tough time finding big savings this year, but that will not necessarily discourage the search.
“Some travelers are such bargain hunters,” says Ziff, “that if the price is $25 different between Paris and Rome, they change their destination.”
Pay in dollars. The dollar’s weakness has proved a boon for companies offering European tours and cruises. Americans can pay in doll
ars for a complete package. Other than shopping, they incur few other expenses — or surprises.
Explore alternatives to the euro-zone. The dollar has held up better against some national currencies outside the euro-zone, making a beach vacation in, say Croatia, more reasonable than one just across the Adriatic in Italy. U.S. neighbors Mexico and Canada are comparative bargains.
Stay at business hotels. Comey says some destination cities in the United States are more affordable than many realize, compared with many of the country’s main tourist centers such as Las Vegas and Orlando. San Francisco, for example, has many excellent hotels that charge less than $150 a night. In cities that cater to business travelers, downtown hotels lure leisure travelers with generous weekend rates.
Travel to off-season destinations. You can save on summer travel by staying at winter resorts. “Many ski reports have great summer programs,” says Ziff, “with terrific facilities and wilderness at your door, but much less expensive than in ski season.”
Use the Internet to plan and book. Travel planning online continues to grow in popularity; nearly 45 million Americans booked at least one service on the Internet last year, according to the Travel Industry Association (TIA).
Ziff says Travelocity, like other online vendors, offers what she calls “dynamic packages.” These take advantage of excess inventory at hotels or airlines, who will sometimes offer rooms or airplane seats in bulk to Travelocity at a much lower prices than those they advertise to the public.
Trends for 2005
Educational excursions. Many Americans are opting for vacations that incorporate learning. Literary tours, anthropological travel — even cooking lessons — are all gaining popularity.
Short trips. A three-day weekend can refresh and renew almost as well as a week off. These are perfect for the hard-charging executives who just can’t tear themselves away from their responsibilities.
Getting the family together. Family reunions account for an increasing share of travel. The TIA reports that 34 percent of Americans have traveled to a family reunion in the past three years. But increasingly, families are not just getting together, they’re traveling together.
Multigenerational travel takes several forms: Three generations may tour or cruise together, rent out a house as a family, or settle in en masse at a resort. Such trips enable everyone to “vacation at our own speed, but come together for meals,” says Ziff.
Savoir le Savoie…Getting to Know La Vanoise National Park
The National Park has two zones: the central zone and the peripheral zone. The central zone is a highly protected zone. Its regulations are very strict. The peripheral zone covers 28 villages. The Park’s mission consists of enhancing the touristic, cultural and economic local resources and encouraging the respect of environment.
The Park also has five nature reserves, bordering on its central zone which protect the most representative of the different ecosystems:
– Tignes: Champagny in the communes of Tignes and Champagny-en-Vanoise
– The Bailletaz in Val d’Isère
– The Grande Sassière in Tignes
– The Plan de Tuéda in Méribel les Allues
Another nature reserve, the Hauts de Villaroger, is situated at the periphery of the Park and belongs to the Office national des Forêts.
The Venice of Savoie: Annecy
Reprint from France Monthly
A delightful town in Haute-Savoie, Annecy’s origins date back to 3000 BC. Summer and winter alike, this town and its region enchant tourists thanks to its unique charm, it exceptional hours of sunshine and its long kilometers of trails that entertain the skiers.
The Thiou Canal is the river crossing Annecy that gives you the feeling that you’re in Venice as you stroll along its embankments. Actually, as early as in the Middle Ages, this river played a key economic role thanks to its regular and strong current, which supplied sufficient hydraulic energy for the craftsmen.
In 1870, when he was the Building Engineer for the city, Sadi Carnot completed a system of gates to regularize the flow of the Thiou, raise the level of the lake and facilitate the navigation of the merchants so vital to the economy of the city. Sadi Carnot became President of the French Republic in 1887 and was killed in 1894 by an Italian anarchist, Cesario, who avenged the execution of a friend condemned to death.
The Cleanest Lake in Europe!
The spring fed lake of Annecy appeared 18,000 years ago and now covers 27km². Today, it is one of the cleanest lakes in the world. In the past it was the unfortunate spillway for all the dirty water waste from the surrounding cities, and the level of pollution was so high that even the health of the inhabitants was threatened. The first efforts to clean the water and rubbish began in 1962 and was achieved thanks to a huge human as well as financial undertaking.
But the cleaning was not without obstacles. Beyond the technical difficulty, the engineers had to cope with a few companies and hotels around the lake that did not want to invest enough money to develop a new sewer system. Divers were sent to close all the sewer outlets leaving the companies and hotels trapped with their own waste. They had no choice but to abide by the new rules urgently.
Today, the lake receives only rain and spring water, and the inhabitants of Annecy are happy to drink it (after a simple anti-bacteriological treatment). The lake purification, and its protection against any type of pollution have been a remarkable success, and are given as examples all over the world.
If you are lucky enough to be in Annecy the first weekend of August, you will be able to attend the gorgeous fireworks display organized every year to celebrate the lake.
Editor’s Note: Thank you to http://FranceMonthly.com for the contribution of this article.
Parler Paris Après-Midi
NEXT MEETING: May 10, 2004 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
TODAY’S CURRENCY UPDATE
Visit the FPI Web site and click on the link on the left panel “Click Here for Currency Convertor by Moneycorp” for up to the minute conversions of all major currencies.
Compare currency values easily and quickly by visiting: https://adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/loan/moneycorpconvertor.html
Charts http://www.Moneycorp.co.uk/members/charts.asp 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.
HOT PROPERTY PICKS: Savoie Fare and 5th Dimensions
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/insider/propertyconsultation.html
*** LOFT IN THE 5TH
PARIS, 5th Arrondisement, 5 rooms, approx. 127m²
Exclusive! Near Métro Les Gobelins, rue Pascal and boulevard Arago. Rare apartment in historic 16th-century building. Two apartments were joined to form a duplex on the 2nd and last floors. With beams, glass roof and lots of space — floor surface of 127m² et loi Carrez 106 m², plus cellar.
Asking Price: 790,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** ROARING ‘20s ELEGANCE
PARIS, 5th Arrondisement, 4 rooms, approx. 98m²
In a beautiful 1929 building, with digicode system and caretaker, on the rez-de-chaussée (first floor American), we’re offering a large 4 room apartment, quiet and in perfect condition. With 2 bedrooms, separate kitchen, bathroom and toilet, plus a cellar. Heating shared.
Asking Price: 670,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
*** CHAMBERY CHARMER
CHAMBERY, 7 rooms, approx. 180m²
In the center of Chambery a charming, spacious house built in the 1930’s with 5 bedrooms, cellar and double garage. It is situated on a flat lot of approx. 800m².
Asking Price: 550,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee
LEASEBACK NEWS FROM IMOINVEST
BETWEEN THE JARDIN LUXEMBOURG
France, Paris / Ile de France, 6ème Arrondissement
Studio 15m² to 22m² Euros 151,000 to Euros 212,000
One Bedroom 40m² to 40m² Euros 377,979 to Euros 377,979
GUARANTEED RENTAL INCOME UP TO: 4.90%
This 4 star art deco renovation is located right in the heart of Paris and is sure to please lovers of the Rive Gauche. Concert halls, cinemas, theatres, shopping areas, cafés and trendy restaurants abound in this prestigious arrondissement. Among the many fantastic areas of Paris, Montparnasse remains a mythical place resounding with the spirit of the unforgettable roaring ’20’s. It is here between the tranquility of the Jardin Luxembourg and the charm of Saint-Germain-des-Prés that Villa Luxembourg is found. This residence is close to most RER train stations and metro stations, and easily accessible from all major airports.
This residence hotel presents an excellent investment opportunity. Built in the early nineties, this beautiful art deco building has recently undergone a complete renovation, giving it a 4 star standard. The Villa Luxembourg is the Parisian address for travelers who appreciate comfort and style. Each studio has been designed with its own unique layout and offers refined furniture and finishings.
The premises boast a hidden garden decorated with original paintings, making it the perfect spot for an afternoon break. Enjoy services including 24-hour concierge, baggage, pressing and conference room facilities. At Villa Luxembourg, every guest need is anticipated, providing an atmosphere of privilege and relaxation.
Investment Type: LMNP – Residence de Tourisme
Program name: Villa Luxembourg
Location description: Paris 6éme Arrondissement, located between Montparnasse and Saint-Germain-des-Prés near to the Jardin Luxembourg.
Completion Date: Already Released
New/Old property: Old Property, Completely Renovated
VAT Advance: By the Purchaser
Package Options: Non Packaged
Rating: 4 stars
Number of Units: 52 rooms
Rental Income: Up to 4.9%
Occupation Option: No
Exchange Possibilities: Yes – 25% discount for one week at any Hotel de Paris residence; 50% discount for the weekend at any Hotel de Paris residence
Lease Duration: 12 years beginning on delivery date
Exit Strategies: Lease cannot be broken during first 12 year lease (according to law L145-4). Subsequent leases will be in periods of three years. To exit the lease, the intent to cease the lease must be formulated by a huissier (bailiff) at least 6 months before the anniversary date of the year for which the lease will be broken.
Payment of the rent: Biannually
Rental Base: Tourists
FANTASTIC SKI CONDITIONS NEAR THE VANOISE GLACIERS
France, French Alps, Pralognan-la-Vanoise
Studio 19m² to 19m² Euros 75,130
One Bedroom 30m² to 39m² Euros 104,628 to Euros 139,907
Two Bedrooms 38m² to 41m² Euros 136,009 to Euros 142,074
Three Bedrooms 52m² to 66m² Euros 181,130 to Euros 224,276
GUARANTEED RENTAL INCOME UP TO: 4.60%
At an altitude of 2350m, surrounded by more than 30 breathtaking summits (including the Grand Casse at 3855m), this residence offers extraordinary panoramic views. Host of the ’92 Winter Olympics, this luxurious resort is situated in the heart of the Vanoise National Park in one of the oldest resorts in the Tarentoise Valley. Considered the first destination in Savoie for mountaineering, the village of Pralognan is the perfect winter getaway. This small village boasts a ski area of 4500 feet (1400m) to 7700 feet (2350m) high, making residence Les Marmottes a top-ranked ski resort.
Suitable for beginners, advanced and cross-country skiers alike, Les Marmottes offers the perfect combination of fantastic slopes and beautiful accommodations. The wide sunny slopes
of the Poucet and the Barioz are perfect for beginners. The experienced skier will prefer the narrow runs of La Combe de Pariettes. Traveling between slopes is easy as a service bus runs daily connecting every slope. The resort is equally as attractive during the summer months, inviting tourists to take advantage of the uncomparable beauty and natural setting characteristic of Savoie-la-Vanoise. Sporting facilities and outdoor activities such as hiking and camping create an ideal situation for the summer traveler.
Hospitality is part of the mountain way of life, and visitors can benefit from the various services offered in Pralognan-la-Vanoise including shopping, recreation center and restaurants within walking distance. Guests can also take advantage of the fully equipped facilities such as a heated indoor pool and sauna.
Investment Type: LMNP – Residence de Tourisme
Program name: Les Marmottes
Location description: French Alps Savoie, Prolognan-la-Vanoise is located 400 miles (640km) from Paris, 260 miles (420km) from Marseille and 110 miles (180km) from Lyon. The nearest auto-route exit is Albertville and the nearest SNCF train station is Môutier-Salins. 125 miles from the Lyon Saint-Exupery Airport.
Completion Date: End of June 2006
New/Old property: New Property
VAT Advance: By the Purchaser
Package Options: Non Packaged
Rating: 3 stars
Number of Units: 70 rooms
Rental Income: Up to 4.6%
Occupation Option: Yes – 4.6% HT no occupation; 4.0% HT one week vacation package-1.2% vacation budget redeemable only with ODALYS property except Corsica (Corse).
Exchange Possibilities: Yes
Lease Duration: 11 years and 9 months beginning on the date of delivery or if the signing is after this date on the date of the signing.
Exit Strategies: Lease cannot be broken during first 12 year lease (according to law L145-4). Subsequent leases will be in periods of three years. To exit the lease, the intent to cease the lease must be formulated by a huissier (bailiff) at least 6 months before the anniversary date of the year for which the lease will be broken.
Payment of the rent: Quarterly
Rental Base: Tourists
Next session: May 24, 2005, 2 p.m.
Notaires de Paris
Place du Châtelet
12 avenue Victoria
Additional information on Les Ventes aux Enchères des Notaires can be found on the website 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:
House 295 m² useful space
68 rue des Vignoles
75020 Paris 20th
Opening Bid: 1 160,000 Euros
Deposit: 232,000 Euros
Hôtel particulier 312 m²
12, rue Jacques Bingen
75017 Paris 17th
Opening Bid: 2 135,000 Euros
Deposit: 427,000 Euros
4 Rooms 125,10 m² + balcony 30 m²
15 rue du Louvre
75001 Paris 1st
Opening Bid: 540,000 Euros
Deposit: 108,000 Euros
Studio 31,40 m²
15 rue du Louvre
75001 Paris 1st
Opening Bid: 120,000 Euros
Deposit: 24,000 Euros
The Original Living in France Conferences and Seminars by the same creators who launched it in 2002…
Working and Living in France Conference May 20 – 22, 2005 Les Jardins du Marais, Paris
If you’ve always dreamed of moving to France, starting a new life in Paris, enjoying a “pied-à-terre” of your own part of the year or investing in property in France, this three-day power-packed conference is a MUST. Hosted by Adrian Leeds, Editor and of the Parler Paris Nouvellettre® and French Property Insider weekly e-zine and John Howell, lead attorney for John Howell & Co., Europe Law, London, these three days in Paris will arm you with all the information you need to make it happen! The line-up for the conf
erence includes lectures, discussions, dinner, cocktails — with well-known Paris, Europe and U.S. -based experts in the fields of:
* Obtaining the Right to Be in France
* Learning the Language
* Starting a Business in France
* Minimizing Your Tax Liability
* Finding, Buying and Owning Property
* Learning About the Leaseback Program
* Renting Your Property for Profit
* Getting a Mortgage
* Protecting from Foreign Exchange Risks
* Best Offshore Banking in the World
* Crossing the Cultural Divide
* Insuring Your Health, Home and Car
* And more!
You’ll have an opportunty to ask questions and learn all you’ll need to know to make your dream come true to live in France or just be a part of the profits on owning property there.
Working and Living in France May 20 – 22, 2005 Paris, France Les Jardins du Marais
Reservations and information: If you’d like to know more about the seminar or reserve your place, email Schuyler Hoffman.
U.S. OFFICE 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific Time Schuyler Hoffman, Special Projects Manager Phone 1-310-427-7589 Email: [email protected]/parlerparis
SEEKING A MORTGAGE IN FRANCE?
Let us help you secure a mortgage in France with interest rates as low as 3%. Visit https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/loan for more information.
Abbey National David Anderson, Mortgage Advisor [email protected]
Banque Patrimoine et Immobilier Stéphane Denner, ExPatriate & Non Resident Service [email protected]
Barclays Contact Yolanda Robins [email protected]
Entenial Contact Yolanda Robins [email protected]
FPI Property Search Services
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.
Now is your opportunity to own your piece of France at a savings.
Property consultation and search services rates will increase
effective June 1, 2005, but if you book your services between now and
May 31st to be rendered prior to December 31st, 2005, will be charged
at the current low rates!
For more information, visit https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/insider/propertyconsultation.html or contact Yolanda Robins, [email protected]
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!
Username: propertyinsider Password: liveinfrance
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
– To access this password protected page:
The username is: fpisubscriber The password is: paris1001
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 https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/insider/subscribersonly/pastissues/index.html
– To receive your free French Leaseback Report or the Paris Property Report, click on https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/insider/subscribersonly/reports.html
======= CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING ======
Leeds Marais Apartment Available July 22 – August 1, 2005
Located in a 17th century Le Marais Hotel Particulier, this 70 square meter two-bedroom apartment with lots of light is nicely furnished and is perfect for up to four people when rented in its entirety or a single woman in the freshly renovated guest room when owner Adrian Leeds is there.
Pictures and more details available at https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/parlerparis/apartments/rentals/leeds.html
Monte Carlo Seaside — a dream view of Monaco and the sea!
Located at the french border of the principality of Monaco in Roquebrune Cap Martin — this big one bedroom flat of 600 square-feet with a terrace can easily accommodate one couple + one extra adult on a convertible sofa. Fully equiped kitchen, marble bathroom, private cark park, security doors, pure silence, fresh sea breeze, direct access to the quiet private beach at 200 meters, 5 minutes to Monte Carlo train station or bus stop, easy access from Nice international airport and Monte Carlo train station.
*Special Weeks in May: Monaco Grand Prix and Cannes Film Festival: 1000 euros per week
Visit https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/insider/rentals/pfmontecarlo.html for lots more beautiful photos and to book your stay contact FPI_Monte-Carlo and ask for the French Property Insider Special Offer.
For all short term rental apartments in Paris, take a look at https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/parlerparis/apartments or https://adrianleeds.com/wp-content/uploads/newsletters/frenchproperty/insider/longterm.html for long term apartments.
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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