Paris 18th: Budget prices with a bohemian vibe

Last week there was good news for those trying to get on Paris's housing ladder with reports that property prices are on the way down. For the first installment of our Neighbourhood Watch series, we explore Paris’s atmospheric 18th Arrondissement.

Paris 18th: Budget prices with a bohemian vibe
A view of the 18th arrondissement with the iconic Sacre Coeur towering above. Photo: Bill Hails

What's the vibe in the 18th? 

If your impression of the 18th is based entirely on the blockbusters ‘Amélie’ set in touristy Montmartre and ‘Moulin Rouge’ in the red light district Pigalle, then think again!

What tourists often don’t know is that the dix-huitième, as it’s called in French, is in fact one of the largest, most culturally diverse – and yet most quintessentially Parisian – of neighbourhoods. In 2005, 37 percent of children under the age of 18 in the area were of North African, Sub-Saharan and Turkish descent. 

Attracted by the reasonable apartment prices and convenient transport links, an influx of youthful artistic residents gives it a bohemian vibe.

What's there to do?

A lot! If you've been to Paris you've probably already heard of the Sacré Coeur and the Moulin Rouge. But that's not all the district has to offer. If you're an Amélie fan why not take a walk around the area of Abbesses metro where it was filmed, or climb up to the very top of the hill for fantastic views of the whole of Paris. If you're interested in local history you can pop into the Musée de Montmartre. Most things tend to be closed on Sundays but you can spend all day rifling for bargains at the famous flea market, held every Sunday in St Ouen.

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So, just how cheap is cheap in the 18th?

Well, obviously it depends on the size of the apartment you're looking for and the location. In France, housing is measured in square metres. According to statistics published in February this year, the average price per square metre in the 18th is €7,773. The lowest is €5,553 and the highest is €10,308.

Looking for a house in France? Check out The Local's property and rental sections.

What about if I want to rent?

It varies considerably but on average, the monthly rent per square metre is €26.45. The lowest rent per square metre is currently €16.17 and the highest €38.48.

How much space will I have?

Put it this way: you'd be lucky to find a decent-sized cupboard for rent in Paris. In other words, small. Almost half of all properties are less than 40 square metres, 46 percent are between 49 and 90 square metres and only three percent of properties are larger. It's extremely rare – even for families – to have more than three bedrooms in Paris. According to statistics, 24 percent of properties in the area have just one bedroom, 38 percent have two, 23 percent have three and just 11 percent have more. 

What are the buildings like?

With 69 percent of housing built before 1949, you're almost guaranteed beautiful architecture and high ceilings. Around 15 percent were built between 1949 and 1974 and eight percent between 1975 and 1989. Five percent of properties were built in the last 20 or so years.

What are the people like?

As mentioned above, the area has a young, bohemian vibe. With a population of 191,524, it's among one of the most populated parts of the city. Bearing in mind that many Parisians live alone, the average income per household in the 18th is currently €24,229 per year.

Anyone famous?

Yes, but chances are you've never heard of them or they died years ago. The 18th is currently home to Academy Award-winning filmmaker Claude Lelouch (you can find his cinema on Avenue Junot near the metro Lamarck-Caulaincourt), actor Alain Chabat and comedian Jean-François Balmer.

Poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert and singer-actress Dalida (whose grave can be found in Montmartre cemetery) also used to live here.

Check out our gallery to view some properties and attractions in the area.

Are there any hospitals in the area?

There are two: the Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard is located at 46 Rue Henri Huchard and the Hôpital Bretonneau at 23 Rue Joseph de Maistre.

I have children; what are the schools like?

You can find a list of primary schools here and the latest league tables for high schools here

What about transport?

The area has excellent transport links and is served by lines 4, 12 and 13 on the Metro, as well as numerous bus lines. The RER stops at St Ouen.

Get the latest exchange rates and transfer money on The Local's Currency page.

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Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

Installing a swimming pool, building a garden shed, or adding a conservatory to your French home has become more expensive in 2023.

Property taxes: How much will it cost to extend your French home?

If you are planning a renovation project in 2023 you’re likely looking at rising cost for materials and labour due to inflation – but there is one other cost to consider; taxes. 

In France there is a one-off tax that has to be paid on certain building works, and the government has raised the rate for this.

The taxe d’aménagement, sometimes referred to as the garden shed tax, applies to all property development – construction, reconstruction and extension – of buildings that require planning permission or a building permit.

Garden sheds, swimming pools or extensions with a surface area of more than 5 square metres are subject to the development tax – although a 50 percent reduction is applied to the flat-rate values of certain buildings, particularly the first 100 square metres of main residences.

READ ALSO Everything you need to know about installing a swimming pool at your French property

The tax is collected by local councils, who set their own percentage rates for the tax, working off the base rate set by the government.

A decree published in the Journal Officiel set the base figures for 2023 at the following rates: 

  • €1,004 per square metre in Île-de-France (up from €929 per square metre in 2022);
  • €886 per square metre outside Île-de-France (€820 per square metre in 2022).

The flat-rate values per square metre of building space, which constitute the basis for the development tax, are revised on January 1st of each year according to the latest construction cost index published by national statistics body Insee. 

Additionally, specific rates are set for:

  • €250 per square metre  for a swimming pool (up from €200 in 2022);
  • €12 per square metre of ground-fixed solar panels (up from €10 in 2022);
  • €3,000 per wind turbine more than 12 metres high;
  • €3,000 per pitch for tents, caravans and mobile leisure homes;
  • €10,000 per pitch for a holiday chalet or bungalow.

The amount of the tax is calculated according to the following formula: 

(Taxable area multiplied by the government-set base figure) multiplied by the percentage tax rate set by the local authorities. This gives the total to be paid in cents. Bills are rounded down.

So, the tax for a 30 square metre extension in an area where the combined local and departmental tax rates total 6.25 percent would be calculated like this:

30 (the size of the development) x 886 (the base tax rate outside Ile-de-France) = 26,580

6.25 (local and departmental tax) x 26,580 = 166,125 cents, more usually expressed as €1,661. 

If the total payable is less than €1,500, you will receive a bill in the six months after planning permission was granted, with details of how to pay.

Otherwise, it is paid in two instalments, 12 months and 24 months after authorisation, with a 10 percent surcharge applied in cases of late payments.

READ ALSO The hidden costs of owning property in France