By Elsa Court
FT Residential’s occasional series “Centre versus suburb” focuses this time on Paris, where the leafy Bois de Boulogne park separates the homes of the cosmopolitan 16th arrondissement from the high-end Boulogne-Billancourt suburb. How do the two neighbourhoods compare?
The centre: 16th arrondissement
Fanning south-west from the Arc de Triomphe, taking in the Bois de Boulogne and running alongside the river Seine, the 16th arrondissement is a prestigious residential neighbourhood 5km from the centre of Paris and a magnet for wealthy international buyers.
The district is served by metro stops, including Victor Hugo, though the car — often chauffeur-driven — is the favoured mode of transport for many 16th residents. Paris’s La Défense business district is a 15-minute ride away on the Metro and RER suburban train line, changing at Charles de Gaulle-Étoile station.
The 16th epitomises chic urban living. Its finest homes are spacious Hausmannian hôtels particuliers (grand town houses) with gardens. Its cultural hub is the Palais de Tokyo, an exhibition space that shows contemporary art in the west wing and houses the Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris in the eastern part of the building. Palais de Chaillot is home to museums including the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, dedicated to the history of architecture.
There are 13 Michelin-starred restaurants in the area, including the three-starred Le Pré Catelan in the Bois de Boulogne, and the two-starred L’Abeille, which specialises in traditional French gastronomy.
For sports fans the area offers the Stade Roland Garros, site of the annual French Open tennis tournament, and Le Parc des Princes, home of Paris Saint-German football club.
Schooling is key to the 16th’s global appeal. The coeducational International School of Paris teaches three to 18-year-olds the International Baccalaureate curriculum in English, while the EIB Lamartine primary school, a renowned French-English bilingual institution, teaches the French curriculum with an added focus on early English learning.
The average price per square metre for an apartment in the 16th is €11,027, up 6.5 per cent on 2018, according to French property website Meilleurs Agents.
Odgamm Prime Realty is selling a three-bedroom apartment needing renovation on Avenue Victor Hugo for €3.6m, or €12,413 per square metre.
The suburb: Boulogne-Billancourt
This upmarket Parisian suburb is 10km west of the city centre, and borders the 850-hectare Bois de Boulogne park to the north.
Boulogne-Billancourt is served by five metro stations on two lines, with journeys to La Défense taking around 45 minutes on the Metro. The Val de Seine business district, which spans Boulogne-Billancourt and Issy-les-Moulineaux across the Seine to the south east, is home to media companies and multinationals.
Boulogne-Billancourt offers a slower pace of life while remaining closer to the city centre than, say, Versailles further to the south-west. Proximity to the river and the Bois de Boulogne is a plus for families, joggers and dog-owners.
The neighbourhood’s cultural offerings include the Musée des Années 30, which specialises in art from the 1930s, and sculpture at the Musée Paul Belmondo. Its one Michelin-starred restaurant, Jean Chauvel, offers €76 and €116 tasting menus.
The American School of Paris is an independent international school for children aged three to 18. Currently, 50 nationalities are represented among its pupils, and the school offers the both the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement.
The Montessori School of Boulogne-Billancourt provides bilingual French and English education for two to six-year-olds.
According to Meilleurs Agents, the average price per square metre for an apartment in Boulogne-Billancourt is €8,590, a 5.6 per cent increase on last year.
Christie’s International Real Estate is selling a four-bedroom, split-level apartment in Boulogne’s Denfert Rochereau neighbourhood for €2.39m, or €9,018 per square metre.
Photographs: Dreamstime; Alamy; Daniel Féau