Click to download Tribute to His Majesty PDF

Live Phuket The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Room for improvement

FRANCE: Thousands of Parisians round off a hard days work with a trudge up six flights of stairs to a tiny, stuffy room they resignedly call home.

construction, property,


Sunday 23 October 2016, 02:00PM

In Paris, where it is notoriously difficult to find a flat, many rooms that once served as domestic helpers’ sleeping quarters have been turned into apartments for rent. Photo: Pauline Froissart/AFP
In Paris, where it is notoriously difficult to find a flat, many rooms that once served as domestic helpers’ sleeping quarters have been turned into apartments for rent. Photo: Pauline Froissart/AFP

In a city where it is notoriously difficult to find a flat – especially on a low budget and without the right paperwork – many rooms that once served as domestic helpers’ sleeping quarters have been turned into apartments for rent.

It is borderline illegal to rent out these micro-apartments, typically wedged under a rooftop, as they measure less than nine square metres and often lack proper ventilation.

But many people simply cannot afford any better, and some, like receptionist Ivan Lopez, face other barriers.

“I don’t have a guarantor, no relatives in Paris, and I have a foreign accent,” says Lopez, a 35-year-old of Mexican origin who rents a room measuring just 6.8 square metres for 370 euros (B14,508) a month.

Repeatedly turned away by rental agencies, he has been unable to find better lodgings for eight years.

Lopez’s bed, which doubles as a sofa and a storage space, is squeezed against an old fridge and a tiny shower stall.

“I work the night shift, and in the morning it’s really hot when I get back. I can’t sleep in here,” he says.

Flats that were once sleeping quarters for domestic workers are a relic of bourgeois life in the 19th and early 20th centuries when they were referred to as “chambres de bonne” – maids’ rooms.

Astonishingly, they still fetch sky-high prices of up to 11,000 euros (B431,340) a square metre in Paris’s well-to-do neighbourhoods.

Victoire Ratrimoson, 67, was a modern-day version of the traditional “bonne” when she moved into her sixth-floor perch in the chic northwest in 2011.

Originally from Madagascar, she took a job as a domestic helper for a family living in the building.

But the family soon moved out and tried to force her to leave.

“They told me, ‘We don’t require your services any more. We’ve found someone who charges 400 euros (B15,685) a month,” Ratrimoson says as her eyes well up with tears.

For lack of anything better, Ratrimoson is clinging to the tiny space measuring 7.5 square metres, with no ventilation or heating.

Lucky 13 Bar and Grill

“I don’t really live here, I just sleep here,” she says, standing in a room with shelves packed right up to the ceiling.

Like Lopez, Ratrimoson is holding her breath in the hope that authorities will officially declare her home to be uninhabitable.

That would make their expulsion illegal and in turn force the owners – or the state – to find them proper housing.

According to the Abbe Pierre Foundation, a French NGO that fights for the rights of people living in substandard housing, authorities are dragging their feet on the issue.

“Today, there are some 7,000 domestic helpers’ rooms that serve as people’s main place of residence, and which measure less than nine square metres. Still, in most cases, the state has not declared them uninhabitable,” says the foundation’s Sarah Coupechoux.

The government’s health agency for the Paris region says that around 50 of these rooms are declared uninhabitable each year, and the number is on the rise.

Agency official Emmanuelle Beaugrand says an administrative court decided in 2013 that insufficient size is not the only criterion for declaring a space unfit for habitation.

“For a room measuring seven to nine (square) metres, we no longer issue such orders systematically. Other criteria need to be met too, such as inadequate ventilation or layout,” she says.

Housing deputy at Paris city hall Ian Brossat pledges to put in place a plan “very soon” to reform these spaces.

Albert Verdier took 15 years to find a better home than the 6.5 square metres he occupied for 350 euros (B13,724) a month.

The 56-year-old works two days a week at the parliament building canteen and the rest of the week as a security guard.

Now he can actually cook his own meals in his 19 square metres – a palace in his eyes.

“When I first moved in here, I thought, ‘This can’t be. I must be dreaming’,” he smiled.



The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments

Phuket property prices not just about the beach

Christy Sweet: I have a Thai registered company and I have had a work permit for over 20 years....(Read More)

Department eyes lift to migrants’ living areas

Soi... the do-nothing Thai authorities will "take aim at areas where the number of foreign workers exceeds 50,000". That pretty well means ...(Read More)

Air pollution: No time to breath easy

You can transform the walls of your home or office into a permanent air purification system, simply by mixing the ionic paint additive by Air-ReNu wit...(Read More)

Immigration chief declares Phuket Airport queues are ‘no more’

Just because Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn pops in and declares that there are no more long waits doesn't mean it is so. He should have popp...(Read More)

Immigration chief declares Phuket Airport queues are ‘no more’

Garbage!!! I waited over 2 hrs to depart Phuket on the 13th Jan. Over 3 months ago they stated the new computers would arrive within 3 months. ...(Read More)

Immigration chief declares Phuket Airport queues are ‘no more’

The computer story is already a few months old and not solved yet,is this such an issue. I know that my customers wait average 1 1/2 to 2 hours to cle...(Read More)

Phuket property prices not just about the beach

I would hate for any of you clowns to be my financial advisor. It's clear you idiots have no idea eg. "Any non-Thai who buys property here is...(Read More)

Gripen jet crashes during air show, pilot killed

Kurt.... A $US50 million fighter jet being flown by a pilot - which according to you - is not sufficiently trained? and on an unauthorised flight?...(Read More)

Tawatchai to get burial as autopsy hearing awaits the dam article. ... "The first court hearing on the autopsy findings findings is set on Feb 20"...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
Weird World
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.