Pieces of Paris

Who wouldn’t love a Parisian pied-à-terre? Ulrike Lem­min-wool­frey takes a look at the dif­fer­ent districts and who they would suit

French Property News - - Contents -

What is the vibe in each ar­rondisse­ment and how far will your money go?

Paris. There are few cities in the world that con­jure such ro­mance. Few of us have walked along the boule­vards not look­ing up at the but­ter-hued Hauss­mann build­ings imag­in­ing our­selves liv­ing in a high-ceilinged, wooden-floored flat with a wrought-iron bal­cony over­look­ing the Eiffel Tower, an invit­ing boulan­gerie on the cor­ner, and a flower shop on the other. Or is your dream that of a hig­gledy-pig­gledy, crooked lit­tle place un­der the roof of a me­dieval house in the Latin Quar­ter with ex­posed beams, slop­ing floors and a sky­light from where, if you stand on a stool, you can over­look the chim­neyed rooftops of Paris?

We all have those dreams, but as with all dreams, un­for­tu­nately, there is a re­al­ity. And in Paris, it can be harsh when it comes to prices. How­ever, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work and find a place that is per­fect for you in the City of Light.

Neigh­bour­hood watch First, a bit of back­ground. Paris is di­vided into 20 ar­rondisse­ments, start­ing around the Lou­vre with the 1st, the 2nd just to the north of it, then spi­ralling clock­wise like a snail, with the first tight cir­cle com­pris­ing the first eight ar­rondisse­ments mak­ing up the true city cen­tre. Then an­other half-loop con­sists of the 9th to the 11th on the north-side, or Rive Droit of the Seine, be­fore the ar­rondisse­ments in­crease dra­mat­i­cally in size and the 12th to the 20th form the outer ring.

Paris post­codes start with 75, so if you see an apart­ment ad­ver­tised in an area start­ing with, say the post­code 94, this is not Paris proper, but a sub­urb out­side the pé­riphérique ring road. In Paris, the 75 is usu­ally fol­lowed by a ‘0’ and then the num­ber of the ar­rondisse­ment, so the 17th, where I live, is 75017. The ex­cep­tion is the 16th, which is split into 75016 and 75116, just to con­fuse things.

Once you have a ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of where each ar­rondisse­ment is sit­u­ated, you can start look­ing at the pros and cons of each area when it comes to re­al­is­ing your Parisian dream.

The large Hauss­mann apart­ments are mostly found in the cen­tre and, very gen­er­ally speak­ing, to­ward the west of the city, whereas me­dieval charm is more com­monly found in the eastern in­ner loop.

If you aren’t used to apart­ment liv­ing, it can be hard to ad­just. Noise comes in from the out­side, but it also reaches from above; wooden floors are charm­ing, but not very good at ab­sorb­ing noise. Also, most apart­ments have rear win­dows onto a court­yard. These court­yards are like am­pli­fiers, and not only will you hear peo­ple throw­ing things into the bins, but talk­ing, shout­ing, mak­ing love, lis­ten­ing to mu­sic, prac­tis­ing their in­stru­ments and tend­ing to cry­ing ba­bies. In short, you par­tic­i­pate fully in Parisian life, and can­not get away from it.

Plus, not all Parisian build­ings have lifts, so peo­ple will tram­ple up the stairs. Liv­ing un­der the roof may be qui­eter, but if you go out a lot or have a pram to con­tend with, this might not suit you. Choose wisely.

So, which area is per­fect for you? Fac­tors to con­sider in­clude work, schools, out­door ar­eas, and ac­cess to pub­lic trans­port, and bud­get. Try­ing to de­scribe the ad­van­tages and dis­ad­van­tages of each ar­rondisse­ment would fill a book, so here is a shorter ver­sion of the ar­eas, and what they prom­ise.

Rue du Com­merce in the 8th makes for great shop­ping The Marais is bustling with shops and bars

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.