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Your taste of life in Paris!

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Special Edition: The Expat Real Estate Boom

Photo by Eric Tolbert

Special Edition: The Expat Real Estate Boom

Parler Paris–your taste of life in Paris and France

Friday, June 10, 2005
Paris, France


Dear Parler Paris Reader,

Every now and then, there is something so special to communicate to you, that I take the liberty to publish a “Special Friday Edition” of Parler Paris. In fact, I miss our Friday missives which at one time were devoted to Property in France — unfortunately they were done away with several months ago to allow time to publish the information-rich e-zine, French Property Insider (FPI), broadcast every Thursday, and chock full of important news about buying and owning property in France.

Those of you who do not subscribe, miss out on much of the valuable insights. As the editor of FPI, when I make that fatal click that launches the publication to its subscriber base, I often regret that the Parler Paris audience isn’t getting it and what I think is the real “meat” of living in France.

So today, as a special taste, I bring you a small part of yesterday’s FPI — a reprint (with special permission) of an article published just this past Wednesday in, written by David Andelman, Executive Editor.

Andelman recently joined Forbes from the New York Daily News where he was Business Editor. Previous posts included impressive positions with Small Cap Center and Bloomberg News, including 12 years as a foreign correspondent for the New York Times and seven years as Paris Correspondent for CBS News. wrote about Andelman: “During his 30 years in the news industry, Andelman has covered some of the world’s most significant global issues including all U.S.-Soviet summit conferences and Geneva talks on weapons reductions during the early and mid-80’s and interviews with public figures from around the globe.”

David Andelman’s love of Paris brings him here from time to time. It was his last trip over the Christmas holidays, when he rented an apartment from that inspired this article about Americans, particularly retirees, purchasing property in Paris.

Pascal Fonquernie, Director of, contributed important information to the article — the benefits retirees in France enjoy, which was published in its entirety in FPI yesterday. If you’re considering making the move to retire here, soon or even in the future, then you will be happy to learn of some of the advantages the over ’60’s crowd can enjoy.

You should also know that with the help of Pascal and his team, we write and publish the Parismarais newsletter — “Loving Life in Le Marais,” issued the 15th of every month. It’s free and there is a link to subscribe on the Parler Paris Web site or scroll down to “Further Resources” and click directly to subscribe.

Below is David Andelman’s article I think you will all enjoy reading and find very useful. Below that, in “Further Resources,” you will find links to information about some of what David refers. And if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. I hope to see many of you next Tuesday for coffee and conversation at Parler Paris Après Midi from 3 to 5 p.m. Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for details.






By David A. Andelman,
June 8, 2005

There’s a stunning new population trend in Paris–Parisians are selling their flats and moving out to the ‘burbs. On the face of it, that’s not truly astonishing. It’s been happening in the U.S. since World War II ended. The stunning fact is to whom Parisians are selling these days. It’s to Americans, especially older Americans. They’re the ones who are buying and moving in–in droves.

Despite the cost–after all, the euro is just coming off all-time highs against the dollar–Paris has somehow managed to retain its magical qualities for a host of foreigners, but especially for Americans.

“Some 20% of the sales in Paris are to non-resident foreign customers,” says Adrian Leeds, an American in Paris who’s been helping her countrymen make the leap across the pond for more than a decade. She has never been busier. “We have 27,000 readers of our e-mail newsletter Parler Paris. And the trend will only continue as long as mortgage rates remain low. And they are still below 3%.”

To a certain extent Paris’ appeal is obvious. In addition to the capital’s world-class dining and largely inexpensive cultural attractions, such as the many museums where seniors (in France that’s generally defined as over 60) receive discounts, France boasts inexpensive, widely-accessible transportation and one of the best health care systems on the planet.

Paris’ subway, the Métro, offers half-price (demi-tarif) tickets to senior citizens who’ve had the foresight to obtain them at the Bureaux d’Aide Sociale (social aid bureaus) of the Mayor’s office of each arrondissement in Paris. (The city is divided into 20 such areas, each with their own bureaucracy–an institution that the French have perfected to a fine science of frustration.) And hyper-efficient long-distance trains, which have special spaces to accommodate wheelchairs, make Paris an ideal base for exploring the rest of France and Western Europe, where seniors also receive half-priced fares.

There’s also been a lot of progress in recent years in senior citizen access, according to Pascal Fonquernie, whose Web site, will soon be sporting a page especially for seniors. Most city buses now have special wheelchair areas and ramps that lower to the sidewalks, street corners have been ramped, and handicap parking spaces are starting to appear.

French health care is among the most accessible in the world and open to all residents. At least two insurance companies–Advantage Insurance Associates and European Benefits–offer affordable health and life insurance to Americans abroad. Moreover, if expatriates decide to enroll in the French social security system–and pay the brutally high taxes (see: “The Misery Index“)–they receive full state-run health care which is among the most comprehensive in Europe.

At the moment, Paris’ residential real estate market is a boon for everyone. Francophile Americans can buy a cozy corner in one of the world’s most romantic cities for about what they’d pay for a Manhattan pied-à-terre. And the French who are looking to retire to the ever more congenial and less frenetic suburbs or countryside are seeing their property values rising at 14% or more a year and are happy to find willing buyers with hard cash–regardless of their nationality.

“The French sellers are walking away with a lot of bucks,” says Leeds, “The French find the suburbs are becoming chic and gentrifying, and they can buy more property there for less money. They’re happy to sell out.”

So bring on the Americans. Leeds, who offers individual consultations to would-be immigrants for $290 for two hours, will hold her tenth day-long group conference in Paris on August 10. As many as 50 would-be buyers show up in Paris for study under her able tutelage and that of other experts–in fields ranging from real estate to insurance–at a fee of 347 euros, or approximately $425.

Indeed, there seems to be no end of support groups and companies for older Americans who decide to take the plunge. At the top of the list is Aide Personalisée Autonomie, or APA, which concerns itself with all disabled persons, and which has recently lifted all income requirements. Try two Web sites: and And contains a large data base of reference material on services available for the elderly (again, defined in France as over 60).

Once they arrive, older Expats will find a substantial and growing elderly population. According to l’Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques (INSEE), the French statistics office in the Ministry of Economy, some 16.2% of the entire population was 65 or older as of January–up 1.4 percentage points over ten years ago (while the percentage of persons under 20 has fallen 1.2 points in the same period). Moreover, the numbers of deaths among the elderly–apart from a sharp spike during the catastrophic heat wave in the summer of 2003–has been falling regularly and is down this year by 8.5% over the average of the past four years.

Of course taking up permanent resident in France is not the only way to sample the French way of life in preparation for a possible retirement. A number of services, including, and, rent furnished Paris flats by the week or month. Conversely, the same services will help expatriate property-owners rent out their apartments for all or a substantial part of the year.

As Sabien Prouvost, spokeswoman for the French prime minister’s secretariat for the aging, says, “Tout le monde est bienvenue en France.”



* Invest in France Seminar
Paris, France
Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Subscribers to Parler Paris, French Property Insider and clients of John Howell & Co. are entitled to a 50 euro discount!

For more information and to register online: /frenchproperty/conference/IIF_AUG_2005/IIF_home.html

* One-on-one consultation services, by phone or in person, plus property search services, complete with assistance to obtain financing in France:

* Subscribe to French Property Insider: /frenchproperty/insider/subscribetofpi.html

* Subscribe
to the Parismarais monthly newsletter free…The Art of Living Guide to Le Marais:

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris:
The next gathering is June 14, 2005
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