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Paris: Capitale de Tout!

The snow came down silently during the night and laid a thick blanket of white on the streets, the roofs and the parked cars. The snow has already turned to rain and by noon, most traces of it will likely be gone.

From this vantage point at the desk between two windows overlooking rue de Saintonge, I can see the sky, the neighbors getting ready to go to work and hear an occasional vehicle slosh through the snow. Last week while working in tandem with Schuyler Hoffman in New Orleans on the week’s issue of French Property Insider, I could hear the din from the massive demonstration opposing Sarkozy policies that rocked France, but since noise of this kind is quite the norm, it didn’t stop us for a moment to think it anything out of the ordinary.

The evening before, the officials of the City of Paris were celebrating “Paris, Capitale de la Création” at the Hôtel de Ville with Deputy Mayors Jean-Bernard Bros (tourism), Lyne Cohen-Solal (Commerce) and Christophe Girard (Culture), to honor young designers for their creative achievements while their colleagues and friends applauded them with one hand while drinking champagne with the other. As is the tradition, the “grands salons” of the City Hall were lit in pink, but the decorations are enhanced each year to add even more creative festivity to the occasion. My “little birdie” at the Hôtel de Ville, Laurent Queige, is the behind-the-scenes producer of the event, to whom we must thank for the splendor: Merci, Laurent!

Friday morning was a less grand occasion, but monumental nonetheless for those who are involved. In the offices of our Notaire, who now projects the “Acte de Vente” document on a large flat screen for all to see, while he makes the necessary corrections and additions on his cordless keyboard, the seller of “Le Palace des Vosges” signed over the deed to the buyers. As “Gerante” of the “SCI” (“Société Civile Immobilière” – a French property company), I signed on behalf of all the buyers, accepted the keys and the responsibility of the project.

This is the first Fractional Ownership property we have developed ourselves. Fortunately we have the interior design guidance and coordination in the hands of Martine di Matteo, who has prov

en her talents time and time again, and who begins this week on the renovation to turn the 81 square-meter Place des Vosges apartment into a palatial and luxurious, yet totally comfortable ‘peace of heaven.’

Saturday if you were near the Hôtel de Ville, the Centre Georges Pompidou or virtually anywhere in Le Marais, you wouldn’t have been able to avoid the fireworks, clamor and color of the annual Chinese New Year Parade. It’s the year of the ox — the ox represents perseverance, patience, balance and hard work. Yep, that’s what we all need during these tough economic times. Perfect timing for such a down-to-earth, loyal and strong-willed symbol.

The Chinese community in Paris is made up of several hundred thousand who first came to France in the latter part of the 17th-century. There are four China Towns in Paris now — in the 13th arrondissement near Place d’Italie, in Belleville (where the 19th and 20th districts meet), in a small pocket in the 18th arrondissement near Métro Marx Darmoy at Place de Torcy and in the Marais centered around rues au Maire and Volta in the 3rd. They are the largest single ethnic population in the 3rd, having taken over the wholesale trade lost by the Jews during the German occupation of France during World War II…but they continue to remain quite discreet…except during the annual festivities when it seems like millions, not thousands, take to the streets!

For those who want to learn more, a reader and friend of Parler Paris, MA Shumin, writes in her blog what she discovered about the Chinese community in Paris.

Last night about 20 readers of French Property Insider participated in an international conference call to discuss the forecast of French property prices in 2009 with John Rule, our Mortgage and Rental Manager, Mary Ellen Gallagher, one of our Search Consultants and me to answer their questions. A full report will be in this week’s FPI for those of you who missed it along with a recording of the call. The bottom line for those interesting in owning in France is that now is a great time to take advantage of softening prices, low interest rates and a moderate dollar-euro rate of exchange.

Subscribers to FPI are entitled to access the call as well as all past calls and all past issues of information. To subscribe, visit French Property Insider.





A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds

(with Martine di Matteo at the Capitale de la Création)
Editor, Parler Paris


P.S. This coming Friday I’m headed southbound to Villefranche sur Mer to pay a visit to the Institut de Français, one of the country’s finest French language learning establishments. I know many friends who have attended, but I’d love to learn more from any of you who have attended what your impressions were of the school — your own stories. Write as much as you like! And send it to: [email protected]

P.P.S. Don’t forget that Tuesday, February 10th, is the monthly Parler Paris coffee gathering, “Après Midi,” 3 to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais. We hope to see you there! Visit Apres Midi for more information.

P.P.P.S. Be sure to visit our newest vacation rental studio apartment at Parler Paris Apartments (renovated and decorated by Martine di Matteo)…”Les Ivoires de Montmartre!”: Les Ivoires de Montmartre


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