Paris Under The Hammer

Shopping for that cozy central Paris pied-à-terre? Consider the ad in the daily Le Monde: 18th-century townhouse, 4,137 sq m of floor space, huge courtyard, lush 2,400-sq-m garden — all tucked away in the city's ritzy seventh arrondissement. A perfect nest for your (very extended) family. Who'd part with such a jewel? The divestment-minded French state, that's who.

"This is part of a major process to renew and rationalize France's real estate holdings," says an adviser to Reform and Budget Minister Jean-François Copé. Since June 2005, France has been off-loading odd or uneconomic offices from its €15...

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