Is this 25 square metre, four-storey building Paris’s narrowest home?

Paris' crazy housing situation has taken a new twist - with the creation of a four-storey home that offers just 25 square metres of space.

Is this 25 square metre, four-storey building Paris's narrowest home?
All photos courtesy Hervé Abbadie

As anyone who has ever tried to find a place to live in Paris will know, the capital's housing market is a very weird place, where landlords will happily charge you over €1,000 a month for something barely bigger than a shoe box.

But now two architects have come up with a novel solution to the general lack of space in the city – a house renovation that offers just 25 square metres of space – but over four separate floors, each one representing a room: bathroom, kitchen/living room, office and bedroom.  

This ingenious design is the work of Marc Sirvin and Clémence Eliard, two architects who decided to revamp an old, dark and narrow building near Hôtel des Invalides in the 7th arrondissement.

Their place is fully kitted out with useful kitchen appliances such as a dishwasher and an oven as well as custom-made cupboards and draws.   

As the photos show, a metal grid floor installed in the middle floors means light can reach pretty much every corner of their “quadruplex”.  

The living room takes up the majority of the space: 15 sq m as opposed to just 3 sq m for the bathroom in the basement.  

“Everything has been optimised,” Sirvin told French newspaper Le Parisien.  

Even the staircases double up as storage space with their own hidden closets.  

The couple is however quick to admit that the building isn’t exactly toddler-proof or ideal for families, having only one bedroom where you can't stand up, very steep stairs and a general lack of space.  

“It's suitable for a young worker, a student or someone who’s starting their career,” Sirvin says. 

It took the pair four months to revamp their home, costing them around “€3,000 per sq m”. 

Not bad considering that in September the average cost of property reached a symbolic €10,000 per sqm mark in the French capital.

In fact, over the last ten years, the cost of buying in Paris has risen by 62.5 percent.

The shortage of apartments and the high demand for rentals has lead to some landlords to take advantage.

In 2018 a French housing charity revealed that a 71-year-old man had for 25 years been living in an apartment that was just 5 metres square – and had only one metre square high enough for him to actually stand up.

In Paris it is illegal for landlords to rent out apartments that have less than nine square metres of habitable space – defined as a space high enough for an adult to stand in – but the fact remains that some do flout these rules.

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Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed

Striking airport workers have blocked part Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, with some flights already delayed by at least one hour.

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed
Striking airport workers outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt | AFP

Last month, trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) – the city’s Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports – called for a strike between July 1st and July 5th in an ongoing dispute between French airport workers and bosses over contract renegotiations.

A second wave of protests are expected next week, after a strike notice was filed for July 9th.

Tensions mounted on Friday morning as some 400 protesters staged a raucous demonstration at CDG’s terminal 2E, which mostly deals with flights outside the Schengen zone, as police officers looked on.

At Orly airport, meanwhile, some 250 people demonstrated “outside”, while a small group was inside.

The dispute is over a long-term plan by ADP to bring in new work contracts for employees at the airports, which unions say will lower pay, job losses and a reduction in rights and bonuses for employees.

The strike is being jointly called by the CGT, CFE-CGE, Unsa, CFDT and FO unions, who said in a joint press release that the proposals will “definitively remove more than a month’s salary from all employees and force them to accept geographical mobility that will generate additional commuting time”.

Unions say that staff face dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts.

ADP said on Wednesday that it expected ‘slight delays for some flights but no cancellations’ to services – but it urged travellers to follow its social media operations for real-time updates.

On Thursday, the first day of action, 30 percent of flights were delayed between 15 minutes and half-an-hour.

ADP’s CEO Augustin de Romanet had said on Tuesday that ‘everything would be done to ensure no flight is cancelled’. 

ADP reported a loss of €1.17 billion in 2020. 

Stressing that discussions are continuing over the proposed new contracts, the CEO called for “an effort of solidarity, with a red line: no forced layoffs.”