French Heritage for Sale in Paris

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In another recent sign of hard times, the city of Paris is selling off some of its historic real estate. No, the Louvre is not up for sale yet, but not too far off. Just across the river from facing the Tuileries, on the Quai Anatole France is the Hotel de Seignelay. Built in 1716, it originally served as the residence of the Marquis de Seignelay, grandson of Louis XIV’s finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Now it is the Ministry of Foreign Trade – and presently it could be your new pied-a-terre.Most of them are the in the first eight arrondissements, or neighborhood districts, or Paris, but the most prestigious buildings are situated on the famous Left Bank.  The prestige in owning one of these “hotels particuliers” is in part because of their location and architectural beauty, but also in part because it offers a chance to buy into French cultural heritage. Purchasers of these 17th, 18th, and 19th century mansions include Madame Sarkozsy (nee Carla Bruni), and other well-known French citizens, although more than 70% of the buyers are foreign. Some are deterred by a law that protects structures classed as historic monuments, and makes certain that chateaus will be maintained as historically accurate even when sold to private entities. This discourages some buyers who are not willing to put two or three years of restoration into their purchase. However, in 2005 the city made ten transactions of more than 4 million euros, and in 2007 the number has increased by an impressive 400%. So the question is, will any of Paris be left for the Parisians?

Via Paris Obs

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