Paris is the capital city of France, and also the most populated city, as well as the administrative centre of the Ile de France region. The city has a special status, as it is both a city and a department. Paris politic administration is rather complex, let’s have a closer look at how the city is divided.
First of all, there is the Paris commune. If compared to the other European capitals, Paris is rather small, only 105sq km (London is 15 times larger!), and it gathers around 2,181,374 inhabitants, called the Parisians. The commune is divided into 20 arrondissements. It is fairly easy to remember the order of the arrondissements: they are making a snail starting from 1 (the very centre of Paris, the Louvre), until 20 and going in the right direction. Like that, you can guess that the centre of Paris will be from one to ten approximately.
Then comes the small crown (petite couronne), which is composed of three departments: Hauts-de-Seine, Seine Saint Denis and Val de Marne. This area is also highly populated and it gathers important centres of decision-making, such as the Defense which is the main business quarter.The small crown gathers 123 communes.
Again larger than the small crown comes the large crown (grande couronne), which is composed of four departments that do not have borders with the Paris commune: Seine et Marne, Yvelines, Essonne and Val d'Oise.
Usually, when we talk about Paris agglomeration (also called the Urban unity of Paris), we refer to the Paris commune plus the small crown and some departments of the large crown. The area gathers over 11,000,000 inhabitants, and as a result is the second largest in Europe, after Moscow.
Paris is renowned in the entire world for its impressive monuments, and its artistic and cultural life, as well for its historical and architectural heritage. It is the symbol of the French culture, and its museums and events attract over 30 millions visitors per year. Paris is also the world capital of fashion and luxury products.
Paris property market cannot be compared to the average French one. As a result, to have an idea about the cost in Paris, we can compare it to the other European capitals, such as London, Madrid, Berlin, etc. Greater London, with €9,777/sq m in 2008 is the most expensive city in Europe. If we compare the rental market, we realize that Paris is not the most expensive one, and as a matter of fact, it is rather in the European average. Indeed, Milan and Geneva have similar rental prices, while Roma is 10% more expensive than Paris. However Madrid and Zurich are 20% cheaper.
|Property prices in Paris’ arrondissements|
|Arrondissements||Price €/ sq m - 1st quarter 2009||Price €/ sq m - late 2008||Renting price €/sq m/month|
To get updated info about the property prices in Paris, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.
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When talking about architecture in Paris, we cannot ignore the master Haussmann, who is said to have transformed Paris by 60% during the 19th century. At the beginning of the 19th century, Paris was still a medieval city, with narrow streets where air could not circulate. As a consequence, Napoleon III, who wanted Paris to become the main city in Europe, asked Haussmann to renovate the city. The main ideas were as follow: big straight avenues, creation of many parks and gardens, a standard building height (the height of a mansion). Many monuments were destroyed and many others were built. The Place de l’Etoile and the Champs Elysees were created at that time.
Haussmann buildings: Haussmann’s architecture style is very recognizable as it has a rather strong identity and personality. Buildings are all quite the same, which gives Paris’ streets its own charm. The ground floor has thick walls. The second storey is said to be ‘noble’ and boasts gorgeous balconies and the third and fourth floor are built in the same style, though their windows’ frames have a less elaborate stonework. There is a fifth floor with small balconies and finally at the top of the building, under the roof is the attic, which used to be the servants’ room and is today dwelt by students as it is rather small and less expensive than other apartments.
Apartments: as they account for 95% of dwellings in Paris, you are bound to buy one of these properties. You might find an apartment in a Haussmannien building or in a more modern one. They are a good investment for a pied-a-terre in Paris as they can be located at the heart of the city, however, they are also of course excellent investment for a buy-to-let. As 63% of residents are tenants, you won’t have any difficulties finding a tenant, as demand is especially high in the French capital.
Click here for more info about the Architecture of Paris Ile de France.