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Paris is a challenging city for buyers, especially those who want period details like parquet floors and original moldings. Paris property prices have been on the rise, demand remains high and there is not a lot of new inventory. "There has been a shortage of everything from studios to five-bedroom apartments," said Hawkins.

In the popular areas for pied à terre purchasers, prices range from 14,000 euros per square metre in Saint Germain des Pres on the Left Bank to 11,500 euros per square metre near the Champs-Elysée. In the Marais, where many expats now live, it is 12,000 euros per square metre.

There are also many restrictions on building heights and new development, so housing stocks tend to remain extremely tight in Paris. Meaning that buying in Paris will often be hard work. "You can spend years looking to buy," said Paredes. "Friends of our looked for 18 months and just couldn't find anything in their price range, so they stopped."

Therefore many people rent, and even then, finding the right flat can be difficult. Be aware that landlords will want to know what type of work visa a prospective expat tenant has, and may be unwilling to rent to someone who holds a visa with time limits. Space and proximity to work tend to be the critical factors, and for some, especially with kids, access to the large parks on the city's outskirts is important. "I looked at 20 apartments in a two-week period and finally found a place that is clean and spacious," said Paredes. "And the price is correct."

Further reading
My Little Paris: A stylish guide to new openings and trends
International Herald Tribune: Especially for American expats who cannot live without The New York Times crossword.
Le Figaro: Morning read with coffee and croissant
Paris Voice: English-language features and events

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