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HOUSING

Parisian, 71, lives in 1m² apartment for 25 years

Tiny apartments are often a reality of living in Paris but some have it worse than others. A housing charity revealed this week the shocking case of 71-year-old tenant who has been living in a 1m² flat for 25 years.

The cramped apartment costs 71-year-old José €250 a month.
 
And while it has 5 m2 of floor space, there is just one square metre where the ceiling is high enough for him to stand, leaving him with no choice but to move around “on all fours”. 
 
“I feel like a turtle. It is painful both morally and physically,” he told the French press. “In my life, at work, no one suspects my situation.” 
 
On top of the confined space in which he lives, he also has to put up with a skylight roof that leaks when it rains, preventing him from having a mattress.
 

 
Instead he rolls out a blanket in the evening and his toilet his located on the landing.
 
“To wash myself, I go three times a week to the municipal swimming pool.”
 
Perhaps the most scandalous part of José's story is that he is far from alone which is why housing charity Fondation Abbé Pierre wants to use his case to bring to the public's attention the number of minuscule apartments that are being rented out in Paris illegally.
 
In this case the charity has exposed one landlord who owns 12 apartments, all too small to rent out legally, on Avenue Jean Moulin in the 14th arrondissement of the French capital, including José's. 
 
The apartments all sized between 0.9 m2 and 6 m2 are rented for between €250 and €480 a month.
 
It is illegal in France for landlords to rent out apartments that have less than nine square metres of habitable space, but many continue to flout the law.
 
In the end it was one of José's tenants who brought the situation to the attention of the Fondation Abbé Pierre.
 
After doing some of their own research, the charity reported the situation to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Samuel Mouchard from Fondation Abbé Pierre said and the authorities have now launched their own investigation. 
 
Due to the ongoing case, the tenants are no longer paying rent and have been protected from eviction in the meantime.
 
 
 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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