No one can afford to live in Paris anymore … et moi donc …?

I am always asked whether it is expensive living in Paris.

I am always asked whether it is expensive living in Paris. “Unless you know where to shop, yes, it is,” I always reply.  “And what about properties?” they want to know. When I tell them what my apartment costs me every month, they turn pale and say something along the lines of staying right where they are before they pay that much.

But, for goodness sake this is Paris – Paree – the place that dreams are made of, and dreams are not cheap.

Yet, all the same, the Paris city hall has now confirmed in a report on housing in the capital that you better have money because if you do not, then don’t think that you could live here. (I live just south of Paris – so don’t get ideas.)

One square meter of a Paris apartment will now put you back €7,000 ($9,500 / £6,000). That is if you are buying one that is not in the 6th, 16th or 8th arrondissements (district – there are 20 in Paris).  If you are buying in one of the three you would have to pay €9,000 ($12,130 / £7,600) for a square meter.  Outside Paris (like here where I live) a square meter of brick and mortar will cost you about €4,000 ($5,400 / £3,400) which is no give-away either.

So who can afford to pay €7,000 for an area that won’t even be big enough to enable you to put your suitcase down?

According to Jean-Yves Mano in charge of Housing at the city hall and Jean-Marie Audry of the Paris Office of Urbanism, 49.3% of those with that kind of money hold managerial posts, or are of the ‘professional class’ (lawyers, doctors, showbiz people, writers etc – and again, please don’t get ideas.)  Only 1.1% is blue collar workers. The rest live in rented accommodation or they are unable to put butter on the toast because 80% of their monthly income goes on paying back the 20-year mortgage.

Yet, there are low-incomed Parisians. And here I must point out that I am now talking of nurses, lower-ranked civil servants like teachers, the police, bus/metro and train drivers, shop assistants because they earn very little, And I am also speaking of  pensioners or the disabled who are unable to work. So where do they live?

France has social housing for the less-privileged. These are apartments in large blocks which are in what we used to call the blue-collared districts of the capital which out of respect for those who live there, I am not going to name, but I can tell you that you won’t find any social housing in Neuilly (to Paris what Belgravia is to London). Or they are in the suburbs.

There is a long waiting list for such apartments, and as Jean-Yves Mano said to Le Monde (27/09/10) those who have priority are nurses, teachers, policemen, bus and Metro train drivers. (He and I seem to think alike.)

He said: “Without these people our society would not be able to function.Therefore, not a week passes that we do not give one of our social housing apartments to a nurse for example.”

Monsieur Mano is a member of the Socialist Party, and President Sarkozy was for years Mayor of Neuilly.

Do I need to say more?

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

One Response to “No one can afford to live in Paris anymore … et moi donc …?”

  1. 1
    Jo Wake Says:

    But then, to those of us who live in North America, Paris, and most European cities, are prohibitively expensive anyway.

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