Paris has something for everyone

© MAISON DE LA FRANCE - Hervé LeGacFrom its legendary monuments and sweeping boulevards to its cosy cafés and romantic je ne sais quoi, Paris is a city that is difficult to resist.

Split into 20 arrondissements, France’s capital city offers many possibilities for prospective property purchasers.

French actor Maurice Chevalier said “Paris sera toujours Paris” and when foreigners are thinking of buying property here they tend almost always to want something old and unmistakably parisien that enshrines the idea of Paris always being Paris.

This generally means either a cosy pied-à-terre in a romantic seventeenth or eighteenth century building or a grandiose apartment in a Haussmann era construction complete with open fireplaces and marble mantelpieces.

For those who want a more contemporary look, there are also many flats on the market in modern apartment blocks with the added conveniences of large balconies, lifts and underground parking.

Community spirit

Part of the charm of living in Paris is the real community spirit that exists within each quartier, often in evidence at the Sunday morning market or in the neighbourhood shops and bars. The best way to really get a sense of the “village” atmosphere is to step off the tourist route and disappear into the backstreets. You don’t have to go far away from the main thoroughfares to find yourself in the real Paris.

Most foreigners do however tend to stick to the better known areas when buying property in Paris, especially if they have a reasonable amount of cash to invest. One or two-bedroomed flats in Saint Germain des Prés (6th) are always in demand. The days of philosophers sitting in Les Deux Magots are well gone and many locals prefer to opt for a latte in Starbucks. However, if you are looking for something upmarket and parisien this is one of the favourite places to be.

You are likely to pay slightly less for your pied-à-terre – and get a more authentic taste of Paris – if you move along the Seine into the 5th and the studenty Quartier Latin or across the river into the quirky Marais.

Out of the centre

Rejuvenated Montorgeuil (2nd) is full of lively cafés and restaurants and lots of lovely flats. If you want to move further out of the centre of the city and are on a slightly smaller budget then Ménilmontant in the 11th, the Buttes aux Cailles (13th) and the streets around Belleville and the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont (19th) are worth considering.

Everywhere has its downside and Paris is no exception – generous helpings of dog poo (though this problem does seem to have got slightly better in recent years) and madcap drivers are the two problems that come most to mind. However good public transport should alleviate the stress of the latter as long as you remember to look the right way when crossing the road.

Transport links

The easiest way for travellers from the UK to reach Paris is to hop on the Eurostar. The moving of the Eurostar terminal from Waterloo to St Pancras in November will reduce travel time between London and Paris to two-and-a-quarter hours and make it easier for travellers from the north of England and Scotland to make it over to the French capital.

Motorists can arrive via the Channel Tunnel or by ferry into Calais, take a short drive to Arras and then join the A1 south straight to Paris; there are also good road connections from Le Havre and Cherbourg.

If you’re travelling from outside the UK, then Paris has good links with airports around the world.

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