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The Real French Arrondissement Of Paris

The Real French Arrondissement of Paris — the 14th
by Jocelyn Carnegie

Located in the southern part of the city, the 14th is primarily very French in atmosphere. Calm and residential, the neighborhood bustles with great markets like rue Daguerre and Edgar Quinet and fabulous bistrots and restaurants. Adrian Leeds’ of the Insider Paris Guide “Insider Paris Guide for Good Value Restaurants” ( claims she finds more mom/pop good-value bistrots in the 14th than in any other arrondissement. As the residential extension of the Latin Quarter, one is only a few Métro stops from the Seine and the heart of the city.

The area presents a truly neighborhood feel while it’s dotted with important buildings: The Cité Universitaire houses students from many nations, The Obervatoire de Paris surrounded by hospitals, the enormous Sainte-Anne Psychiatric Hospital built on a site destined to house a hospital since the 13th century, the artists’ atelier on rue Campagne Première where Man Ray had an atelier on the ground floor, and where Louis Aragon, Otto von Wätjen and Elsa Triolet once lived in the building. Not far away is the Fondation Cartier on the site that was formerly the American Center and near Gaité is now the Fondation Cartier-Bresson which houses the great photographer’s own collection of works.

In a city as well contained and concentrated as Paris, it is tough to find enough space for parks and greenery, yet the 14th has many open spaces such as Parc Montsouris and Montrouge and the famous cemetery of Montparnasse; packed with the notable dead like Maupassant, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvior, Man Ray, Baudelaire and many others.

Thirza Vallois, historian and true lover of Paris has lived and loved the 14th for 30 years, “It is also completely unpretentious, both sophisticated and provincial in the best sense, with a real neighborhood feel.” If it is shopping you like, rue d’Alesia is well-known for its outlet stores and many independent traders have survived the onslaught of the high street chains.

Montparnasse became famous at the beginning of the 20th century when it was the heart of intellectual and artistic life in Paris. It attracted people from all over the world to experience the bohemian lifestyle; it also found itself the home of political exiles such as Lenin and Trotsky. The real action in the neighborhood was to be found in endless talks in cafés like as Le Rotonde, Le Sélect, Le Dôme, la Cloiserie des Lilas, or La Coupole. Here the great minds gathered: Picasso, Modigliani, Soutine, Max Jacob, Hemingway, Cocteau, Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Miro, Fujita…

Adrian Leeds is a great exponent of the 14th, “The 14th is very liveable from a residential point of view with lots of light and space while being close to the center of the city. It’s full of artists’ studios…you can visit the Villa Seurat…and there are great markets…the church at Alesia, and Saint-Pierre de Montrouge is a hidden gem. Of course, you can also see the Catacombs, a vast underground network of tunnels, where the bones of some 6 million people are located. It fascinates me!”

The city itself is doing its bit for greenery and in fact the first street scheduled under the City Hall’s “Quartiers Verts” scheme was in the 14th. At first, there were mixed reactions to this, “…the change in the direction of the traffic flow of rue de la Tombe-Issoire in the 14th, merchants claim to have lost 25% of their business, but apartments there and on neighboring rue Père-Corentin have increased in value 20%.” We’ve seen that these rises have followed the Quartiers Verts scheme in other areas of the city.

We have written of price rises across the city and this area is no exception. Prices have moved from 2002-levels of 3522 euros per square meter to over 4080 euros for the same period in 2003. A rise of nearly 16%.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S.. Jocelyn Carnegie is our International Living Paris Office Property Sales Manager. To contact him for a property search or consultation, email him.

Living in Paris is as difficult as it is romantic. Just as anywhere else in the world, life is filled with the practical issues we must confront from day to day. Work has to be secured, papers registered, an apartment or house needs to be bought or rented.

These are the more than 200 QUESTIONS from REAL people and all the PRACTICAL ANSWERS for LIVING IN FRANCE . . .

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I was privileged to visit an apartment last week in the heart of the 14th near the church at Alesia. The apartment is in a quiet bright street in the Montbrun area and in an architect designed contemporary building. Glass and skylights are features of this apartment – the light and spacious layout gives one the feeling of being in an artists studio.

The building consists of 4 levels with 3 duplex apartments on each floor. There is access by elevator of an external staircase on a well maintained courtyard with trees and plants.

The apartment covers just under 70m2 with a 23m2 roof terrace overlooking Saint-Pierre de Montrouge. The main room on the lower level is about 43m2 with vast South east-facing verrière (skylig

ht) windows from floor to ceiling – double height giving light to both levels of the duplex. These windows have electric blinds. The room consists of sitting area and dining area with a well-appointed, fully-equipped kitchen with a window and plenty of cupboard space for storage and wardrobes.

A spiral staircase leads to the upper level currently laid out with two bedrooms, small study area and bathroom. The first bedroom is on the landing with fitted bookshelves and cupboards. This area would lend itself to an office. Fully fitted bathroom with double basins, bath, shower, toilet. Washing machine. Electric heating. Cross ventilation.

Asking Price 460,000 euros + 2% finders fee

For more information, contact Jocelyn Carnegie


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