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The Paris Olympics Make It Even Tougher

Volume XXII, Issue 12

Official poster for the 2024 Paris Olympics

We just completed filming our 54th House Hunters International episode with a young woman, Lisa, who has moved to Paris and is in love with the 5th arrondissement. When it airs, about four to six months from now, you’ll have fun getting to know the 5th as well as the other districts in Paris in which we filmed—because as you might suspect, Lisa’s rental budget goes a lot further outside of central Paris. That may (or my not) be an incentive to try-out another part of the city.

One of the things I talk about during the episode is how visitors’ first moments in the City of Light are memorable and then they tend to gravitate to stay in the same part of the city over and over again. Then, they get to know that part of the city well and it becomes “home” for them. Sure, they visit other parts of the city as a tourist, but those first experiences are the ones that set them for life. When they come to us to find them a place to rent or buy, inevitably, these are the districts they want…as it was with Lisa.

Filming House Hunters International in Paris with contributor, Lisa Radden

Filming House Hunters International Lisa

But, there’s one thing I know for sure: everyone in Paris loves where they live regardless of where it is. Once you get to know the neighborhood, the neighbors, the merchants, the cafés and its little secret gems, it becomes “home.” There is simply so much of Paris to love, and so much to discover, that it takes a lifetime to barely scratch the surface. It’s what I say about learning French, although it’s a quote by Albert Einstein: “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” So, even after almost 30 years in the city, three is always more to discover and learn. It’s endless.

Meme with the quite by Albert Einstein

Once I was asked about what there was to do in Paris if they had only two days. I responded, “Don’t even come. Two days in Paris is worthless.” (Sarcastically, of course.) Another time I was asked what there was to do outside of the city, by someone who hadn’t ever been to Paris, and was flabbergasted that they would ask such a silly question! Did they not realize that Paris is most visited city on the planet? There must be good reason! No?

Meanwhile, I’m still searching for an apartment to rent for myself while the structural work is done in my apartment, and just like everyone, I don’t want to go outside of my district, the “home” I’ve had for 27 years. Searching for an apartment is something we do everyday for our clients and we are finding it increasingly more difficult. For me, this is no different. My agents are coming up empty-handled and the price of property is getting more expensive.

Real estate website SeLoger.com recently disclosed a 74 percent decrease in Paris listings over the last three years, with the Olympics being cited as a contributing factor to this trend. We are not surprised. Landlords can earn more in three weeks renting during the Olympics than they can in a whole year.

According to an article in Politico.com, reporting on a meeting between L.A. Mayor Karen Bass and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the two women shared information and advice about preparing their cities for the massive event. Madame Hidalgo, as every Parisian knows, has made a spaghetti mess of the city in the process to reduce car usage by reallocating driving lanes and parking areas for bike lanes, aiming to transform the city into an environmentally friendly haven. The objective is admirable, but the results greatly benefit bikers while being detrimental to cars and pedestrians. In addition, there are concerns regarding security, political disagreements, and strained infrastructure which are diminishing the excitement leading up to the Olympics and pose a risk of causing embarrassment for the city on an international scale.

The mayor of Paris and mayor of Los Angeles meet to discus Olympic preparations

With just three months remaining, Parisians are less than thrilled. According to a recent survey, 44 percent of the local population believe that hosting the Games was a mistake, and over half intend to be away from the city during the event. I am and will be one of them. Mark my words, the city will be more like a ghost town than a celebration, with activity heavy only in the areas around the events, as the residents flee for fear of potential chaos.

According to the poll, transportation and security rank highest among the concerns and while initially the opening ceremonies were anticipated to accommodate 600,000 spectators and be accessible to the public, it will now be restricted to half that capacity and by invitation only, primarily due to security apprehensions.

In November, Hidalgo herself remarked that the Parisian transportation system, grappling with daily overcapacity challenges, “won’t be prepared” for the Olympics. She’s leveraging the Olympics to advance her vision for Paris, but what vision is that? And is it realistic? Apart from obtaining local approval for new bike lanes, she secured funding from the French government for infrastructure projects aimed at making the Seine River swimmable for the first time in a century. As I walked along the river’s edge during the filming of the episode, watching the dark brown/green water rapidly whirl by, I remarked to Lisa, “Can you imagine the athletes swimming in such water?”

Article cover questioning the use of the Seine for Olympic swimming events in Paris

During the meeting of the mayors, the two women agreed that their homelessness situations are quite different and that L.A. will have an even harder time preparing for the Games. The safety net in France is so much stronger. There are roughly 30,000 unsheltered homeless people in the city of Los Angeles, according to 2023 data, compared to a little over 3,500 in Paris, which has a population of roughly 2.1 million compared to L.A.’s 3.8 million. Let’s do the math: .79 percent of the population in L.A. is homeless, compared to .16 percent in Paris.

Photo depicting homelessness in Paris

And the housing problem worsens in Paris as a result of the Games as landlords prefer to take their long-term properties off the market in lieu of making a quick buck during the Olympics. I’m caught right in the middle, as are our current clients. If you’re purchasing property, this won’t affect your search as much as if you are seeking a rental apartment, so either rent NOW, or wait until September.

Note: September is normally the toughest time of year to secure a rental apartment because demand is at the highest, while landlords and agencies are taking summer vacation up to two months prior. To find an apartment for September, we must begin the search in June. Contact us now!

A bientôt,

Adrian Leeds filming and episode of House Hunters International in ParisAdrian Leeds
The Adrian Leeds Group®

P.S. To learn more about our services to find a long-term rental apartment in Paris, Nice or anywhere in France, visit our website.


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