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“Berlin. Well, It Isn’t Paris.”

Paris may not be “exciting” like Berlin, or “electric” like New York, or “easy” like New Orleans, but Paris, is without a doubt, “romantic,” “beautiful,” “seductive” and “cultured.” Each time I visit another city anywhere else in the world, and while I can appreciate everything about it, both good and bad, the saying comes to mind, “Well, it isn’t Paris.” That’s because no city has ever been truly a formidable rival.

You understand, this is my own personal viewpoint, although there are many who share it. Three days in Berlin will be all we’ll need to have our fill, while a lifetime in Paris is never enough. A member of our conversation group is winding down to the last month of her one-year sabbatical in Paris and I overheard her say last night to the group that she’s already in a panic about how difficult it will be to leave. I understand perfectly. Paris is an addiction we Francophiles share.

Today we received the latest results for the latest property market prices in the city. For the first time since 1998, the overall average annual growth depreciate by a whopping 1% for first quarter 2009. Eight out of the 20 districts showed growth, the 2nd as much as 5.7% with the 3rd in second place with 4.2% growth. So, while the downturn is disconcerting compared to the consistent growth of about 10% annually for the last 10 years, still it’s holding respectfully well compared to virtually every other real estate market in the world.

Why is this? Because Paris is Paris. Because there is no other city on the planet quite like Paris. Paris is the world’s number one tourist destination that attracts more than 30 million visitors every year. More than half come from foreign countries…the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Italy, and Japan. These international visitors get the “maladie” not long after landing at Charles de Gaulle airport and many end up lovestruck like me yearning for a “pied-à-terre” of their own.

There is also a ‘finite’ Paris. Paris isn’t going up or out. What’s here has endured centuries of living and continue to gentrify. A “Haussmannian” building built between 1852 and 1872 during the years of Baron Haussmann are considered “new!” The oldest districts of Paris are those that are still growing in value…such as the 3rd and 4th, both part of “Le Marais.”

Berlin is Europe’s newest city. It’s a city of social and architectural experimentation starting with Prussia’s famous master builders to the architects who worked after the Berlin Wall came down. Their names read like a “who’s who” of contemporary architecture and I can’t wait to visit some of the city’s most ‘exciting’ buildings.

But France has renowned architect Jean Nouvel of which to boast…and isn’t it both apropos and ironic that his name means “John New?”


A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. For a full report about Paris real estate prices, subscribe to French Property Insider — this Thursday’s issue will publish a complete report about the current property market. With your subscription, you’ll have access to years of issues and valuable information. Visit /frenchproperty/insider for more information and to subscribe.

P.P.S. Mark your calendar for next Tuesday when we meet for coffee or whatever at La Pierre du Marais during our monthly gathering called “Après Midi.” It’s a perfect opportunity to meet with other readers like yourself and share your stories and questions as well as make lots of new friends. We’ll be there from 3 to 5 p.m…visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for more information.


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