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Who actually LIVES in historic part of Paris, and what do they do to afford it?

Who actually LIVES in historic part of Paris, and what do they do to afford it?

Old Feb 11th, 2007, 09:07 PM
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Who actually LIVES in historic part of Paris, and what do they do to afford it?

My SIL was in Paris for a week last fall, stayed at the Hotel Bonaparte, and was surprised to see so many apparently vacant apartments around the area. She said probably only 20% had any lights on in the evenings, and found it very eerie. We got to talking and were wondering where do the people who live in "old" Paris actually work. Are they mainly shop owners in the area, professors at the Sorbonne, or do people work in the "new" part of the city and commute to the historic district? I can't imagine that retail clerks, waitstaff, cooks, etc., could afford that area, but maybe I'm totally offbase. Not an earth-shattering question, but just a curious observation. How do Parisiens afford to live in the city center?
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Old Feb 11th, 2007, 09:32 PM
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Hagan, I can't speak for Parisiens, but for New Yorkers, San Franciscans, Londoners, and more, it is certainly well off people living in the center. I have not heard about a high vacancy rate for the center of expensive Paris. I'd love to know if it is true: maybe it's a buyers' market! LOL!

I think stock brokers, bankers, other financial people, people with some professional success and making money. Maybe medical people, people in publishing, well off business owners: pretty much the same people that live in expensive city centers around the world. Architects, engineers, people in the law.
I don't know why your sister in law didn't see more lights on, but I probably wouldn't take it as a sign that apartments in the center are vacant.
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Old Feb 11th, 2007, 11:52 PM
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many old people.
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 01:47 AM
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I lived very near the hotel Bonaparte. I certainly did work!

Sometimes, particularly older well off people, have other residences outside Paris - so they may not live in the city all the time.

Further, often what you might believe are apartments are often offices - so they are empty at night.

Eventually I moved out of the 6th as it was overrun by tourists. I found I could not get in to many of the local restaurants for lunch or dinner when the urge took me. I moved to the 9th.
 
Old Feb 12th, 2007, 02:20 AM
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Central Paris looks a lot more residential than equivalent areas of London, I must say. But I assume - from looking at property prices now and then - it's gone through the same sequence of rent controls lifting, gentrification and selling-off as other big cities, though possibly later. Certainly ten years ago, prices to buy property in Paris appeared much lower than London equivalents, but now seem to be a bit closer.
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 04:00 AM
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"probably only 20% had any lights on in the evenings"

I'm surprised she's surprised. I've spent practically all my life living in the middle of - mostly European - towns and cities, and I've rarely seen lights on in much more than a quarter of habitations.

People go out, occupy rooms that don't face the street, or keep only a reading light on if they're only reading or sewing. Above all, they don't waste electricity on lighting rooms or passages they're not in.

And this really does seem to be different from the classic Anglo-Saxon suburb, where practically every house - unless the owners really are away, and even then they often leave some lights on to give the impression they aren't - seems to have light coming from it somewhere.
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 05:23 AM
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The historic neighbourhoods of central Paris are very expensive real-estate wise. "Quaintness" costs. Think around 8 000-13 000 Euros per square metre (as in the centre of Rome), not as high as London of course, but still very expensive for a mostly residential city (at the difference of London). Prices around 22 000 Euros per square meter have even been reached in some prime locations such as the Ile-Saint-Louis. At those prices, the French can't buy...and the flats belong to absentee foreign owners.

As a poster suggested, some previously residential buildings have been converted into offices (this is particularly the case in the 8th, which is quite business-oriented). Sometimes, when a business occupies the ground level (US 1st floor) of a building, especially in the 6th which has a lot of commerce, it may "kill" the residential vocation of the entire property. People also tend to move out of the noisiest areas.

With these elements in mind, Paris residents tend to be discreet. This is indeed in contrast with the "transparency" effect of Protestant countries, where one can see through homes like through well-lit aquariums, with the housewifes proudly showing their interiors are as immaculate as their souls...
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 05:31 AM
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Trudaine's point is particularly true of the Netherlands, I think (and I don't just mean the uncurtained windows of certain streets in Amsterdam!). Less so in Britain, though nets and lace curtains are much less common here than they were.
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 05:47 AM
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<< where one can see through homes like through well-lit aquariums, with the housewifes proudly showing their interiors are as immaculate as their souls...>>
What a great image Trudaine
- well done!!

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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 05:50 AM
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Trudaines imagery has always struck me about the Netherlands - particularly now I live in Belgium - in the French speaking part everyone has curtains and shutters, so it looks like the homes are shut up for the season. In the flemish part, things are a bit more open - then when you slip into NL - the windows are shiny, no nets/curtains/shutters and the lights are on.
 
Old Feb 12th, 2007, 06:13 AM
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Actually, looking up, you can see a little bit of people's homes in Paris, from the streets below, and the attributes of bourgeois respectability that matter: bookshelves with leatherbound books, maybe a chandelier, ornate ceilings, a fireplace mirror with its ornate guilded frame...but generally not the residents...
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 06:18 AM
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Thanks to all for such interesting observations. I never gave thought to the foreign-owned investments, which certainly makes sense. Also, I spoke with the owner of the apartment we're renting next month in Paris, and she informed me she would be out of town for a few days "in the country" at her parent's home. So I expect this is rather common, too.
Again, thanks to all.
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 07:28 AM
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Once I was bumped on AF flight from Paris and they gave me the first class the following day. After chatting for some time with the man seated next to me I asked the same question . This was his answer " rich people from around the world".
By the way, he was Iranian who owned many factories in Iran before the Revolution. He and his family have lived in Paris in, as he put it, " a five bedroom apt. overlooking the park, with full time chef and staff"


 
Old Feb 12th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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maybe you find some interesting information here:
http://immobilier.nouvelobs.com/

so, in the ninth (well, I quite like le faubourg montmartre, everyone is foolish in his own way) one square meter values 5.500 to 6.500 EUR. If you had had the money five years ago, you might have doubled it by selling today. It is said, rich italians and germans would buy there, the french go for the tenth because it is cheaper there - 4.000 to 5.000 EUR the square meter.

Now you know, why your cheap hotel has small rooms, and the one with the bigger one was so expensive.

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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 10:12 AM
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My cousin and her family live in a large apartment in the 6th - they say they like the liveliness of the neighborhood. My cousin's husband is a high ranking diplomat and I assume must be paid quite well.
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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I studied abroad in Paris a number of years ago (ajem, more than 10). Anyways, some students were placed in apartments, but most were placed with French people. I was placed with the widow of one of the ex-Ministers of Agriculture. It was located in a very nice area in the 7th, close to Rue du Bac. The windows that faced the street housed a very elaborate living room and dining room that were never used in the 5+ months that I lived there. You wouldn't see any lights from the street. There were 3 bedrooms (mine faced the interior courtyard-it was very quiet and sunny in the morning!), one bath (not fancy by any stretch of the imagination) and an eat-in-kitchen. We spent all of our time in our rooms or in the eat-in-kitchen. When this lady dies (or died?) the place would probably go to her son. He lives (and works) in another town, so it probably will be put for sale. Additionally, as many Parisians do, she does not spend the summers in Paris (too hot!). She would go down to the coast for June, July, and August, so you would not see any lights in any direction during the summer.
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Many apts face inner courtyards and many also have shutters over windows facing the street. We have relatives in Paris and I've been in quite a few apartments, trust me people do live there As for how they make a living since apts are expensive, many people are professionals in the area (7th) our family live in. Our niece and her husband are both doctors and they own their apt. (Many are owned, not rented). Many gov. workers also live in the area. Some of our relatives work for the Gov. Many people also have family with country homes so they go out of town on weekends pretty frequently. It's a little different life-style then living in suburbia U.S. I'd say, but it works for those who like it.
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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Hi

I work in marketing, with a very average salary for Paris! I live in the 6th, but it's a choice to live in a small appartment and be in the historic center rather than commute from the suburbs to the center and live in a bigger place. Most of my friends also have small flats. That's why we Parisians are out at cafés and restaurants often, to escape the small living spaces!

Marie

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Old Feb 12th, 2007, 11:17 AM
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Probably a lot of people's lights are out because they're still at work - or out networking or attending industry or government functions. Those are the people who can afford to live there.
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