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Protecting Paris’ Cultural Heritage

size=”2″ face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Yesterday morning a group consisting of our staff, real estate agents, an architect, a contractor, a Trompe l’Oeil artist, a client and friends gathered in the courtyard at number 9 Place des Vosges to see the apartment I wrote about in Monday’s newsletter — “Le Palace des Vosges” — our newest Fractional Ownership property. My trusty Sony Cybershot had been fully charged to take “home videos” of the Place and the apartment while we all discussed what could and should be done to transform the current “shell” of a space into “Versailles.”

(The videos are on the Web site now if you want to take the tour with me. Just click on /frenchproperty/fractional/pdv/index.html and scroll down to see the three videos.)

The last “episode” of the videos was a short tour of the beautiful gardens of the Hôtel de Sully, just next door and upon turning to re-enter the Place, a man came up along side me, very dapper and professional, scurrying past me and entering Amboisie, the Michelin three-star restaurant, also at Number 9. He was none other than Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, the Minister of Culture from 2004 to 2007. He didn’t notice the snaps of the digital camera hoping to get a good shot like bad Paparazzi.

Jack Lang was the Minister of Culture from 1981 to 1993, except for one small reprieve when François Léotard had the post from 1986 to 1987. Lang lives at Number 17 Place des Vosges — I’ve had the pleasure of spotting him there, too. And if it weren’t for André Malraux, the Minister of Culture from 1959 to 1969, the Place des Vosges might not exist at all. Le Marais had long ago lost its grandeur and become a slum until Malraux responded to local initiatives to protect historic neighborhoods in 1962. In 1965, the government protected the district and drew up a plan for restoration. At the time, 30% of the residences in Le Marais had no running water and 68% had no private toilets.

Things sure have changed! Property in Place des Vosges is now close to 20,000€ per square meter and little in Le Marais, both the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, sells for under 10,000€ per square meter. Every day I thank the lucky stars for Malraux’s influence that changed the face of a once corroding district that has become Paris’ chicest residential and
commercial neighborhood.

The current Minister of Culture is Christine Albanel. She’s about to launch the 25th edition of the “Journées du Patrimoine” — the two days, September 20 and 21, when the entire country honors the cultural contributions made to the heritage of France by opening the doors and gates of monuments, museums, archeological sites, buildings, parks and gardens to the public.

This year for the first time, one day in advance on the 19th, the festival will be devoted to welcoming the handicapped to the patrimonial sites in conditions that will have been adapted to their needs. For all others, plan your program of visits by visiting the site at http://www.journeesdupatrimoine.culture.fr/ or from September 15th, you may visit http://www.culture.fr or call 0820 202 502.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. We had a full house and a great time together yesterday afternoon at Parler Paris Après Midi! To read all about it and see the photos, visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html.

P.P.S. Welcome to Florence Richburg, the newest member of the Adrian Leeds Group staff, who was the videographer of Video II of “Le Palace des Vosges.” Florence can be reached at [email protected] should you have any questions or need assistance from us related to any of our Web sites.

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