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“Travaux Twice the Time, Twice the Price”


Last week, I stepped off the plane from New Orleans and went directly from the airport to the Notaire’s office to sign the “Acte de Vente” (closing sale documents) on my new little studio apartment on rue Charlot that I have purchased for investment. It was projected to take 2.5 months to complete the legal process, but it took four months instead.

This morning, the contractor started the “travaux” to renovate the space — a whopping 16.5 square meters which will require as much effort and expense as a space twice as large, considering all that I plan to do to transform it into a “petit bijou” (little jewel): expose the 18th-century stone wall and ceiling beams, install hand mosaic tile in an all new bath and kitchen, plus equip it with all the latest and best furnishings and appliances. The projected date of completion is the end of July, but knowing that every renovation project takes twice as long and is twice as expensive as expected, I’m keeping an eye on the end of August as a successful completion date.

Last night, on route to Patricia Laplante Collins’ Paris Soirées, I passed rue des Rosiers only to discover an amazing transformation of the west end of the street. After eight public meetings and nine months of examination and deliberation, the project to renovate the “quartier Rosiers” was validated and begun. Over the next few months, the narrow, congested street where the cars constantly battled with the pedestrians, will undergo the work to become pedestrian, planted and lit for a more convivial ambiance. By September of this year, the “travaux” is expected to be complete.

For the moment, some parts are paved completely and delightfully open to accommodate the massive amounts of pedestrian traffic, while other parts are simple dirt and make-shift stepping stones into the boutiques and restaurants. Let’s hope the works will be complete more or less on time, and although, the general rule of double the time, double the cost applies to home renovation, I have noted the city seems to maintain their schedules better than general contractors.

Jan Hanson was the guest speaker at Paris Soirées showing off her beautiful photos of Paris. She’s a San Francisco attorney with a passion for photography who first attended a Living and Investing in France Conference then purchased a two-room apartment we helped her find on the Cour Damoye. This cobblestoned pedestrian courtyard is an oasis just off Place de la Bastille and at the time of purchase, the apartment didn’t seem like it needed much work.

She ignored that fact and hired an architect/decorator, then proceeded to change absolutely everything about the apartment, shipping most of the furnishings from the States and overseeing every tiny detail. She concurred — it took twice as long and twice the cost to do it right, (not to mention twice the expected anxiety and aggravation), but now she’s pleased, in fact, delighted, and it’s ready for rental to “discriminating travelers.” ( For more information, email Jan at [email protected] )

Jan’s evocative photos of Paris can be viewed (and purchased) by visiting the restaurant “Les Fous de l’Ile” at 33, rue des Deux Ponts on the Ile Saint-Louis. The restaurant is quite good, totally charming and the photos are magnificent. See them now before they come down on June 24th. (http://janhansonphoto.com/)

Over the past several years, I’ve seen and heard more stories than I can count to support the general rule of “‘Travaux’ Twice the Time, Twice the Price” — but in ev

ery case, the owners were content. Like getting pregnant and giving birth (mothers, I know you can relate…), the child is worth the wait, the indigestion and the pain of delivery!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. Summer in Paris brings more things to do than we have time for…so be sure to read Wednesday’s Community Calendar and make your plans. Mark your agenda for next Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at La Pierre du Marais for the monthly Après Midi gathering and don’t forget, Parler Parlor is open all Summer long!

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