13th arrondissement: lowest prices in Paris?
When you think of where to look for more affordable properties in Paris, the northern and eastern ‘quartier populaires’ come to mind. But the 13th arrondissement in the city’s south should not be forgotten: it is one of only three where average asking prices remain below €8,000 per m2.
It is known mainly for its universities and one of Paris’ two Chinatowns. But as a destination for affordable property purchase and investment with a long-term view, it rarely gets a look-in. This might partly be down to the fact it offers less in the way of bars, cafes, clubs and culture to young, creative outgoing types than similarly priced 18th-20th arrondissements, and so it figures less in the conversation about ‘where to be’. But its value is undeniable. Several universities lie at its northern portion as well as the lovely Latin Quarter; it is surrounded by the Seine to its north and east; it is well-served by the RER C and lines 6, 7 and 14, the latter of which is getting an extension as part of the Grand Paris project. The country’s national library, and Paris’ only pool on the seine, also figure in its northern edge.
And average asking prices for apartments, excluding fees, are sitting at just €7,936 per m2. That’s a whole €2,000 less than the city-wide average, so you’d save €100,000 when buying a 50m2, for example). Only the 19th and 20th are cheaper. It saw a wealth of post-war construction which gives it a less authentic Parisian feel as Haussmannian buildings dominate less than in other parts of the city. It is dominated by new-builds that, while not to everyone’s taste, offer great value for money.
And it has the highest proportion of green space of any arrondissement (unless you count the Bois de Boulognes and Vincennes as part of the 16th and 12th arrondissements). In fact, one part of the 13th stands out for its leafy, village-like feel: the Butte aux Cailles area – a pocket of charming homes and low rise buildings lining cobble stone streets. This area is one of the best kept secrets in Paris. At the end of the 20th century the arrondissement was mostly brownfield sites and industrial depots. The ‘Rive Gauche’ project in the 1990s started to change that, bringing in massive urban redevelopment including the construction of the BNF, the country’s largest public library, and huge building projects around that are ongoing today. With these projects its neighborhoods have seen an influx of younger working professionals mixing with the existing working classes, though to a lesser degree than the often-discussed 2nd, 10th, 11th, and 18th-20th.