It’s Been a Long Time Gone

For those of you wondering why there have been a dearth of postings here lately, well… I’ve been in Paris for the last month busily purchasing furnishings for our latest fractional project, Chez La Tour, overseeing the renovation work, and trying to squeeze in the odd afternoon to play tourist. However, I am back home now, with lots of stuff to comment on, so hopefully my posting frequency will increase.

I can tell you without a doubt, that visitors to Paris this summer will have to definitely deal with sticker shock.  And it is not just that the dollar is lower against the euro.  Food prices have climbed between 10-20% in euros since I visited last November.  I would attribute this (mostly) to the recent dramatic rise in food costs worldwide, although some recent European reports on the phenomenon have indicated that only about 50% of the price increase can be attributed to actual increases in the cost of materials and supplies.

In November, one could easily find “fixed prix” menus throughout town in the 15-17€ range for lunch.  Today, 19-22€ is the price for the same lunch.  Dinners are more expensive by the same ratio.  Wine, which used to be a relatively cheap beverage in paris, now will set you back 5-7€ for a 14cl glass of house wine, and trust me, there isn’t 14cl in the glass.

The saving grace for us was that we could afford to stay a month in Paris because we were staying in our 1 bedroom fractional ownership apartment, which cost us 890€ for an entire month (read $47US per night). If we had rented a similar apartment (with lesser quality furnishings) it would have cost 200-250€ per night and a similarly equipped hotel room would have been 400€ per night (if such a thing existed).

Yes, you may say, but look at what you had to invest to get that. True enough.  When we bought that fractional in 2006, the dollar was at $1.28/euro, not $1.60.  And Paris prices were 22% lower.  How many people can say that their American real estate (or stock) investments have fared that well? Not many.




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