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Paris Gets A Face Lift

It’s been difficult to hear while talking on my own phone in my own apartment these last few weeks, intermittently, as the sounds of the drills and tools of the workmen on the building across the street sing their industrious tunes. Now that it’s warm and the windows are open, the noise is much more acute.

First the scaffolding went up, then the netting to protect from falling debris and dust. It remained like that for weeks. Through the netting, in the evenings when the lights were on inside the apartments and the street was dark, you could faintly see the inhabitants through the screen, sheltered from the outside by the temporary cage. Today I looked up and noticed the netting had been removed and the sun bouncing off the fresh clean facade into my apartment — I’m bronzing as I write! Hey — who needs Paris Plage when you’ve got this natural tanning booth?

I remember when a few years ago we survived the same ordeal. It was the periodic refurbishment of the exterior of the building (known as a “ravalement”) ordained by law that helps keep the cities of France bright and clean and prevents historic structures to be torn down. Property owners are responsible for refurbishing the facades and balconies every ten years.

We give thanks for this 1962 law to André Malraux, the Minister of Culture appointed by General De Gaulle, who created it to allow restoration and protection of the sectors in the center of the cities. It also formed operations of restoration, preventing the demolition of beautiful and valued old houses. If it weren’t for Malraux, most of the Marais which at the time had turned to slum, would have been razed, and I certainly wouldn’t have the luxury of living in this 17th-century building.

In addition to this law, there was also a decree of 1977, called the Nora-Eveno Decree, also known as OPAM (Planned Operations of Improvement of Living Standards). An increasing number of associations were created to protect the old housing and ancient city centers. The result is that the wealthy reconsidered the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of being in the heart of the city and they agreed to invest their money there as a global move was implemented to make living in the center city more convenient.

The “ravalement” can be very expensive, but it’s mandatory, so expect to pay your share when it comes time for the “copropriété” to assess the funds. When looking to purchase an apartment in Paris, don’t forget to ask when it was last done or “voté.” If you’re lucky, it will have either been done not long ago or already voted to be done — meaning that the previous owner pays even if you as the new owner will benefit.

The building across the street looks great with this new “face lift” — fresh and happy and very bright! Incidentally, property values increase with every “ravalement”…so you certainly won’t hear me complaining about the noise!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
[email protected]

P.S. Today we feature three studio apartments in the center of Paris under 150,000 Euros that advertise they were recently “ravalé!”


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]


20 m² studio, in the heart of Montorgueil, in a building recently “ravalé,” a small and charming apartment with wood beams, well organized, small separate kitchenette, bath with tub, salon with closets, on the first floor on the courtyard. Good condition. Ideal for an investment or pied à terre.

Asking Price: 125,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee



22 m² studio near Arts et Métiers on the 4th and last floor of an old building entirely “ravalé,” charming studio in perfect condition with “tomette” tiles, wood beams, with a kitchenette and cabinetry. Southern exposure with a view on the rooftops. Quiet and sunny.

Asking Price: 145,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee

23 m² studio near Métro Hôtel de Ville on rue du Bourg Tibourg in the Marais, beautiful building “ravalé” on the 5th floor on the courtyard, sunny, quiet, elevator voted and paid, good copropriété, lots of charm, comprised of an entry, bath, principal room has two large windows, separate kitchen.

Asking Price: 145 000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee


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