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Paris Petit Palaces

Americans are used to living in wide open spaces — large apartments or homes, lots of land, walk-in closets, kitchens with islands, king-size beds…everything is big and spacious, even our cars.

Paris doesn’t offer that luxury. Everything is scaled down to a minimum to not waste a single square centimeter. Apartments are sold on a per square meter price, so every extra drop of space is extra expense, too. There’s only so much land in Paris and the building heights are restricted, so there’s little opportunity to build “more” or building “out.”

It is not unusual for singles or young couples to be living in less than 30 square meters, in a studio or two small rooms, about 323 square feet. Studio apartments normally start about 20 square meters — the size of a hotel room — but American Sandy Zayas’ 12 square meter Ile Saint-Louis apartment is a virtual townhouse.

A few years ago, a rental agent we work with told me of this apartment and said, “Il est petit, mais il est mignon.” Petit it is. Mignon it is. Amazing — even more so.

She’s been living there ever since, quite happily, and without claustrophobia! This little studio/loft may be small on space, but is huge on amenities.

First, it’s in a beautiful 17th-century building located on the Quai d’Anjou facing the Seine situated on the first floor (2nd floor U.S.) overlooking the building’s courtyard. The location is divine. The courtyard is absolutely lovely and serene.

The first level living room/dining room is bracketed by one huge window floor to ceiling — comprising the entire width and entire height of the apartment, which is about 4 meters. In front of the window sits a sweet café table and two chairs making up the “dining room.” Along the far wall is a sofa; not a large one, but seats three people. On the wall adjacent to the entrance is a staircase — yes, a real staircase, not a ladder, but narrow, leading to a mezzanine which makes up the bedroom. Under the staircase is an entertainment center with a TV (cabled). Next to the sofa is a dais; a podium like you might see in an old-fashioned lecture hall, within which is a small refrigerator, a two-burner stove and small sink, making up a very compact and clever kitchen that hides away when the lid is lowered!

Even more amazing is that beyond is a large closet and a very spacious bathroom with a full-sized tub decorated in Mediterranean blue tiles. The mezzanine/loft has exposed original wood beams, houses a double bed and nightstand, and has beautiful views of the living area and out the window on the courtyard. A person or average height can stand erect on this level.

I’ve been there when Sandy had four to dinner! She’s had friends stay as guests. All in her 12 square meters. It’s Paris living at its best!

Sandy isn’t the only person I know living in a small Paris space quite happily…so if all you want or can afford is a “petit appartement” to call your own and make a home-sweet-home in the City of Light, it’s “du gateau.” Scroll down for some smashing possibilities!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. Lucky someone — Sandy is making it available for rent from December 10th to February 28th for 350 euros per week or 1000 euros per month including all utilities, maintenance and linens. For further information or to reserve your stay, please contact Sandy Zayas at [email protected]



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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

In an old building of good standing, renovated studio with shower and kitchenette, situated on the 2nd floor on the courtyard.

Asking Price: 92,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee


In the heart of Faubourg St Antoine on the first floor, beautiful studio redone to new with a view of the courtyard.

Asking Price: 119,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee



Charming studio on the 5th floor without an elevator, unobstructed view on the street, very sunny, 3 meter balcony, entry, salon with window to balcony, corner kitchenette, shower, exposed wood beams, half-timbered walls, digicode.

Asking Price: 123,000 Euros + 2% Finder’s Fee


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