When people think of France, various iconic images come to mind. For some it may be the wines, for others the food, but for a great many the visual image that sticks out will be the country's most famous building, the Eiffel Tower.
It may be hard to imagine now that when the 984-foot structure was created in the 1880s it was highly unpopular and expected to be pulled down fairly quickly. Instead, the tallest man-made structure in the world until the Empire State Building overtook it in 1931 has become an elegant symbol of a city that has never lacked for style, charm and romance.
Indeed, the appeal of Paris is one that does not depend on one building, since it has a wide range of architecture as well as art and culture. All of this may appeal to many people as a place to go on holiday or even to live. While Alpine France offers wintersports, the rural heart has its wines and the Cote D'Azur brings sun, sand and a little hedonism, Paris provides cosmopolitan glamour.
What it also supplies just now is a property market that is defying the rest of the country. While house prices across France have dipped on the whole, the capital has gone the other way, according to a new report by the Notaire de France. This revealed that the back end of last year saw a ten per cent rise in prices in the city. Moreover, satellite suburbs - including Orleans, Tours and Reims - have risen by 10.5 per cent.
Commenting on this, property firm Pierre & Vacancies has hailed the city's market as an "exciting" one to be in just now, as it highlighted the properties it has for sale, including some near the Place de la Bastille.
Nick Leach, the head of business development for the UK and Ireland commented: "Paris is the most visited city in the world, attracting over 30 million visitors each year and giving these properties immense long-term investment potential. The Chambre des Notaires de Paris recorded capital growth of nine per cent over the last 12 months."
Britons looking to buy in Paris may also be aware of recent changes in tax rules that could help those who wish to move there permanently - a viable option for people working in London thanks to the faster Eurostar service launched last year. These saw the wealth tax rules changed so that Britons will not be taxed on any wealth held outside the country for five years, even if it exceeds €790,000 (£673,000).
Those who qualify will be expats who have moved to the country since August 6th 2008, as well as people moving now and in the future. It could offer another reason for some to live in Paris, although for plenty of investors buying there may be quite enough, given the capital gains that are possible even in the downturn.
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