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Living The Life In The Eleventh

Place de la Bastille was once the site of the Bastille Saint-Antoine, a major part of the defenses ordered by Charles V, built from 1370. Louis XIV had the ramparts demolished but kept the Bastille as a luxury prison for people of quality. On July 14, 1789 the Parisian masses banded together and stormed the Bastille prison, a symbol of the corrupt political system beginning the French Revolution, and at the time, only holding seven prisoners!

The nation celebrates “le 14 juillet” next week and much focus will be placed on this historic spot. For one, the Grand Ball of the City of Paris takes place at place de la Bastille on July 13th starting at 7 p.m. with lots of music and will continue until 12:30 a.m. (Visit (in French) for more information.)

The “Colonne de Juillet” that stands there now was erected at the order of Louis-Philippe in 1841, 52 years after the storming of the Bastille, more to commemorate the July Revolution of 1830 than the 1789 Revolution.

Place de la Bastille brings together three arrondissements: the 4th, 11th and 12th, although if you talk about La Bastille as a “quartier,” most will assume you mean the 11th — the northeastern segment. At one time, the area was filled with low-rent housing, but today, is one of the trendiest areas of Paris beaming with art galleries, boutiques, bistrots, theaters and night clubs.

I was reminded of all this over a wonderful dinner of “Brochette d’Agneau Grillée aux Herbes” last night at young and hip L’Autre Café on rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud (number 62) with friend and ace portrait photographer and artist, Theo Robinson. Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud is the continuation of my own Marais street, rue de Saintonge, starting at boulevard du Temple and going east. It is filled with wonderful little bistrots and is more French and less trendy than the neighboring rue Oberkampf…Theo described it as San Francisco compared to Los Angeles or Tuscan compared to Phoenix. I understood his comparison and agreed.

Theo is a long-time resident of the 11th living in a contemporary loft of about 100 square meters in an industrial building that you can only reach via a passage from the street, rue de la Folie Méricourt. The entire length of the apartment is windowed and the space is completely open (living room, office, kitchen) with exception of the bedroom and bath. This affords him the luxury of lots of open studio space and natural light for his photography work. Recently, he purchased the loft above his own on the top floor which has “colimaçon” (spiral staircase) leading to two mezzanines and a rooftop terrace. It’s under renovation at present using lots of glass block for translucent walls to maximize light…his plan to move to the upper level and rent the one he’s currently living in.

The 11th is a cornucopia of residential possibilities…the architectural styles throughout the arrondissement vary greatly and afford lots of opportunities for creative living. With immediate access to the vitality of the Bastille, the city’s largest open-air market along boulevard Richard Lenoir (between rues Amelot and Saint-Sabin on Thursdays and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and its affordability, it’s a great part of the city to call home. Apartments near the Bastille rent easily to vacationers because their location is within walking distance to Le Marais and the Ile Saint-Louis, has great transportation on three Métro lines and eight bus lines and has never-ending nightlife.

The apartments we list in today’ Paris Property Picks are some of the best we’ve located on today’s market as examples of what’s possible in this often overlooked part of the city.

Happy Bastille Day!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
[email protected]

P.S. Looking forward to seeing many of you next Tuesday at Parler Paris Après Midi when we have a chance to chat and exchange experiences…3 p.m. at La Pierre de Marais. For details, visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for all the details.


Each week Paris Property Picks 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 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 /frenchproperty/insider/propertyconsultation.html
or contact Jocelyn Carnegie at [email protected]


Studio, 25.5m², at the heart of the Bastille, very sunny, well situated.

Asking Price: 131,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee


Studio loft, 46 m², on a courtyard on rue Faubourg Saint-Antoine, first floor, sunny, parquet flooring, perfect for artist’s atelier and residence.

Asking Price: 230,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee


Six rooms, 122m², 4 bedrooms, one bath, on the 5th floor of a Haussmannian pierre de taille building recently refinished, triple exposure, very sunny, parquet flooring, balcony of 40 m2 plus a corner terrace of 3,60m2, elevator.

Asking Price: 840,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee


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