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Live on the Oldest Square in Paris

It’s the oldest square in Paris…and it’s the most beautiful. ‘Course, I think so. There is something so magical about its sheer architectural presence…symmetrical, orderly, serene, elegant…

Originally known as the “Place Royale,” Henry IV built it in the early 1600s, in a perfect square (140 meters X 140 meters), as the first European project of royal city planning.

The Hôtel des Tournelles and its gardens once stood on this spot and at a tournament held there, Henri II was wounded and died. Catherine de Medicis had it destroyed after that.

When it was inaugurated in 1612, a grand carrousel was erected to celebrate the wedding of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria. It quickly became the prototype of many residential squares in other European cities, and one in America — Jackson Square in my home town, New Orleans.

Today the square is planted with mature linden trees set in grass and gravel, surrounded by clipped lindens.

The stories about what events have taken place within its border abound. So many famous people have lived here over the centuries and continue to reside within its walls and courtyards, that it’s considered Paris’ finest residential address.

Surely you’ve guessed it by now.
It’s the “Place des Vosges.”

I’ve always had a special affection for the square, so it’s no wonder that when one of our best real estate agents told me he had just acquired a special property in the courtyard at number 9, I literally ‘ran’ with him to see it. Finding an apartment for sale in the Place des Vosges is virtually impossible, as they mostly get passed down within families, but here it was, a ‘diamond in the rough.’

It’s more like a house in the country than an apartment in Paris, nestled in the back corner of the second courtyard next to the Michelin three-star restaurant, Amboisie. You enter through one of those grand arched doors. There’s an “Interphone” for when the doors are closed, but weekdays, the doors are open to allow access to the art gallery, Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt, in the first courtyard.

Once you enter, you will discover a cobble stoned courtyard, a bit of statuary in the center, the windows of Amboisie on the right, the windows of the Hôtel de Sully on the left the art gallery straight ahead. Turn down the ‘little road’ on your left — it winds down what feels like a country lane to another courtyard, planted with roses, with bits of more statuary and a few parked cars. It’s quiet and serene. The magnificent Hôtel de Sully looms over the one-level-high garages.

The Hôtel de Sully was built not long after the Place des Vosges by financier Mesme Gallet, but was later purchased by the duke of Sully, remaining in his family until the mid 1800s. It is now the headquarters of the National Fund for Historical Monuments and Sites (Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites) and is a remarkable example of what was called “the baroque temptation.”

We believe the courtyard on which sits an atelier, several small houses, a few garages and in the far corner, and two walls of windows three meters high, was once the stables for the Hôtel de Sully.

It’s here behind these three-meter high windows
that we found “Le Palace des Vosges”…
the name we’ve given this ‘jewel’
we are developing as a “Fractional Ownership Property.”

Fractional ownership (sometimes also known as vacation home partnership or fractional co-ownership) is an arrangement where a group (most often complete strangers but sometimes family or friends) share the costs and use of vacation property. These groups can be assembled by a real estate development or hotel company, an individual builder, Realtor or seller, or one or more of the prospective buyers/users. Typically, each co-owner owns a percentage of the property and is shown on the title and deed as an owner. In some cases, the deed actually specifies particular days, weeks or months when the co-owner may use the property, while in other cases, the usage arrangements are described in a separate document. Where the property is located outside the United States but the owners reside in the United States, the property is generally owned by a U.S. nonprofit homeowners association formed for the purpose of holding title, and the co-owners own the association. A detailed co-ownership agreement (sometimes called an operating agreement, user agreement, shareholder’s agreement or bylaws), a recorded declaration of covenants conditions and restrictions (or “CC&Rs”), or a combination of such documents, allocates usage rights, costs and responsibilities among the co-owners.” Andy Sirkin, Sirkin Paul Associates

In a nutshell, Le Palace des Vosges will have 13 ‘lucky’ owners, each with four weeks of usage per year.

It consists of 81 square meters (872 square feet) that accommodate two bedrooms, two en-suite bathrooms and a powder room with laundry facility that will be added. On the courtyard there are two closed parking garages for usage by the owners: one will become private storage units, one for each owner and the other reserved for parking a car. (Can you imagine — a parking space IN the Place des Vosges!?)

You enter the “maison” through the main door directly from the cobblestoned courtyard after having passed a small plant-enclosed patio, which is also projected for part of the renovation. The main door is part of one of the glass-paneled walls that for now has square windows.

Because the Places des Vosges is monitored and controlled by the “Services départementaux de l’architecture et du patrimoine” (SDAP), the “Architectes des bâtiments de France” (ABF) visited Le Palace des Vosges to recommend we change the windows to “atelier” style vertical glass panels and steel — and that all facades be changed to reflect the look of the other windows on the courtyard — the bedroom windows and the facades of both garages. In the process, more glass and light will be achieved, there will be more flexibility to open the entry door panel completely and the windows will open wider for more fresh air. Air conditioning is planned for both bedrooms, however, because the house sits at ground level, the interior temperature remains very moderate in both summer and winter.

As you enter, you’ll land immediately into the large and spacious living room-dining room kitchen that has huge 400 year-old beams and stone floors. The ceilings are at least four meters high. There is a stone spiral staircase that leads to the upper bedroom and a small staircase that leads to the lower bedroom, being stacked one over the other. Both bedrooms will have spacious and luxurious baths and lots of closet space. They share the wall of glass panes that overlook the courtyard and the beautiful Hôtel de Sully.

The lower bedroom has an entry to a finished tiled cellar (for storing all those precious bottles of wine at perfect temperature!) and the upper bedroom has a charming oval window that overlooks the main living area. There are plans to add a fireplace and totally renovate and decorate the property to maximum palatial luxury.

Le Palace des Vosges” will be no ordinary Paris apartment. We’re fortunate to have Interior Designer Martine di Matteo creating the royal setting for the “aristocrats” who will occupy its chambers. Martine’s design talents which combine French esthetics with Western comfort, convenience and functionality is well proven in the many luxury rental apartments she’s designed and decorated for Parler Paris Apartments. Martine is the ‘queen’ of lush fabrics and perfectly coordinated colors within an elegant setting. Her touch will be sure to please all 13 owners and anyone who has the good fortune of being a guest at Le Palace des Vosges.


The “Promesse de Vente” was signed on September 22, 2008 and by the beginning of 2009, the signing of the Acte de Vente (the final deed) will take place. This exclusive property will ultimately be owned by up to 13 shareholders (anyone can purchase two shares or more), each share with four weeks of usage, purely rotational in two-week increments, beginning with occupancy projected to begin May 2, 2009.

These thirteen lucky owners will share Le Palace des Vosges. For a property such as this, the cost per meter per share is not only within the range of other fractional ownership properties in Paris, but is considerably less than some with not nearly as fashionable an address. There is a one-time share price to become a full-fledged owner, and then annually, there is a small amount assessed for dues to cover the property’s annual expenses…just like any property you would own anywhere (in Paris, the cost of ownership is very reasonable!)

Those who purchase early on, will save money on the cost of their share as the remaining shares are priced higher as they are sold. The earlier you commit to a share, the better your pick of weeks within the rotational system. The first nine buyers will have an additional week of usage in 2009! Those who buy prior to closing will also pay no additional government taxes or Notarial fees!

The legal documentation took a little longer than expected to finalize, as written by our attorneys of John Howell & Co, London and Andy Sirkin, here in Paris, but we are now fully ready to take a firm reservation of your share. Commitments have already been made and the shares have begun to sell out, so, if you are even remotely interested, it would be a good idea to contact us now.

Signed contracts and a small deposit (fully refundable less escrow fees) will hold your share. If you act soon, you could be one of the illustrious residents of the Place des Vosges and one of the 13 lucky owners of “Le Palace des Vosges.”

And more than that, you could have four weeks in Paris when you like, living like royalty.

Is it a dream or is it reality? Find out how to make this dream come true today, before you lose the opportunity to save on price, taxes and fees.

Visit French_Property_Fractional/ for more information or email Mary Ellen Gallagher or me.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. If you have always dreamed of having a ‘foothold’ in the City of Light, but never dreamed it could be as fabulous as a “maison” in the Place des Vosges…then think again. Today it’s possible! Don’t let the opportunity pass you by…d and don’t forget, the sooner you act, the more you save and the better your choice of weeks of usage. Visit French_Property_Fractional for more information or email Mary Ellen Gallagher or me TODAY!


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