A Taste of France in the Heart of London
Friday, Yolanda Robins and I did a very international thing — we spent the day in another European capital, London. We might not have known we were there, however, except for the taxi ride from Waterloo Station to the Olympia Exhibition Hall and back again at 6 p.m. (our taxi driving on the left), because once we entered the annual Vive la France French property show, we were once again immersed in France.
The first section of the weekend-long exhibition was comprised of dozens of stands of French products from wines, cheeses and sausages to Provençal soaps, table cloths and furnishings. The tourist boards of all the major regions are there handing out brochures and maps along with guide book sellers, magazine publishers and language-learning programs.
All throughout the exhibition, on a stage near the entrance, were ongoing fashion shows, concerts and cooking demonstrations. In one corner was a restaurant featuring foie gras and specialties from the Southwest of France. We lunched on magret de canard and wine from Cahors.
Separated by a temporary wall along the back of the enormous exhibition space, the real French Property Show was in full swing, with dozens of stands of real estate agencies, lending institutions and property services of all kinds. This is of course, why we make the trek every year to London — to visit with many of people we already know and meet the ones we need to know, gathering material along the way.
One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the obvious lack of presence of the city of Paris. There was only one agency with any properties in Paris — all the others focused on areas of France of most interest by the British…Normandy, Brittany, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence and the Côte d’Azur. There was not one Eiffel Tower on display, no souvenirs of Paris, no Paris tourist board.
I always ask “why?” to which I got several replies: “It’s too expensive.” “If I wanted to buy property in a city, I’d buy in London.” “It’s fun for a weekend, but I don’t like the Parisians (or I don’t think they like us).”
For North Americans, it’s just the opposite. With all that suburbia we have in the U.S. with our big houses and large lots, we yearn for urbanity and Paris is just perfect — densely populated, but on a human scale and easily maneuverable. In fact, very few North Americans buy and own property in the French countryside, with the exception of Provence and Côte d’Azur and sometimes in the Loire Valley. We speak the same language (mostly), but we are definitely not the same “animals” and our viewpoint on France contrary to one another.
On the Eurostar’s fast and easy two-hour-and-forty-five-minute trajet between London and Paris, Yolanda and I realized that our Paris Living and Investing in France Conference attendees (March 17 – 19) would very likely want to make the most of their stay in Paris by visiting Paris apartments — both those our clients had purchased, renovated and were successfully renting and those available on the market, so we decided we had the ability to make this happen.
For all those attending, she and her French property consultation team will make a tour available on Monday afternoon after the conference of apartments purchased and furnished within the last year by other conference participants and FPI clients, all located within walking distance of one another (with the permission of the owners, of course).
We will also hold a free one-hour conference call at 8 p.m. Paris time on Sunday, February 12th for attendees only, during which we will discuss the pros and cons, ins and outs of investing in Paris property.
As an added bonus, we will offer a property search to take place following the conference at a $50 savings. The search must be booked by February 28th and the visits must take place between March 20 and April 15, 2006. Contract
s and questionnaires will be provided to complete and sign before the search will begin.
It’s always a difficult task to accomplish and with every Paris conference we rack our brains on how to successfully show properties, but we think the gentle rocking of the train may have knocked some sense into us this time around.
A la prochaine…
Adrian LeedsEditor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]
P.S. If you are interested in attending the Living and Investing in France Conference here in Paris March 17 – 19, 2006 and take advantage of our property search offer, visit /frenchproperty/conference/LIF_PARIS_2006/LIF_PARIS_2006_home.html To read what past attendees have to say, visit /frenchproperty/conference/conferencements.html and to read what those who have purchased property have to say, visit /frenchproperty/insider/testimonials.html