Paris real estate jargon... beware!

The price of an apartment in Paris and per square meter (m2) is probably the highest in Continental Europe (on average 9.500 Euros per m2, with a range between 6.000 and 25.000 Euros per m2). So, when advertising an apartment up for sale, the Parisian vendor real estate agents often use sophisticated language to underpin the beauty and justify the high prices of their apartments. Nothing wrong with that! And easy to relate to if you know these few words!

But sometimes, the situation is depicted a bit too bright...! So, in order to manage your expectations, here comes the normal and worst case interpretation of this typical Parisian “real estate slang”.


A rafraîchir:

Only a brush of paint and new wallpaper required to freshen up the interior.

But also: you will have to carry out a substantial renovation.



Original wooden parquet floors, decoration strips on the ceilings, original fireplaces.

But also: creaking sloping floors and non-functioning fireplaces.


Charme de l’ancien:

Very charming and originally preserved interior.

But also: you will find an old interior, totally affected by wear and tear. You need to put in serious money to refurbish the place and get its old good looks back again!


Faibles charges de copropriété :

Reasonably low building charges every month.

But also: no concierge or housekeeper in the building to receive your mail packages and transfer keys if necessary. And to verify: are the charges so low as a result of maintenance provisions that have been too low?


Sans ascenseur:

No elevator.

But also: you need to be fit to climb the staircases multiple times every day. And in the future you may face serious increases of the service charges of your apartment building when the building association opts to install an elevator!


Sans vis-à-vis:

The neighbour does not look into your apartment.

But also: you look at a blind wall.


Bon état général:

In good state.

But also: a bit old fashioned and some refreshing will be required, or in worst case, a total renovation.


Cuisine équipée:

A fully equipped kitchen.

But also: the kitchen has a sink, a refrigerator, a few cupboards and the connections for utilities are there, but that’s it! And often no space for additional equipment or cupboards.



Old beams and tiles. The style of the apartment is very old and original.

But also: beware of borers!


Petite copropriété:

A small building with only a few apartments. Like a small house!

But also: the high maintenance costs of the building are spread over only a very few apartment owners. Normally resulting in higher service charges per owner!


Sans aucune perte de place:

All space is efficiently used.

But also: the place could be very small and cramped.


Avec terrasse:

With terrace.

But also: a small place of 4 m2, where - with some effort - you could put one bistro table and two foldable bistro chairs.


Balcon filant:

Thready balcony.

But also: a small and long balcony, or just a fence, where you can put some flower pots at the very best.


Chambre de bonne:

Small maid’s room on the top floor of the building under the beams.

But also: a place to only stock your suitcases.



Ground floor. Sometimes with a little patio garden.

But also: Noise and curious looks from the streets may be coming into your apartment.


Surface Loi Carrez:

Precise measurement of the surface of the apartment, on the basis of the so called “Loi Carrez” is obligatory. Negative differences in surface, which appear after the purchase, may lead to repayment of (part) of the purchase price by the vendor. Only the ground surface where the ceiling on top is at least 1,80 metre high is accounted for. Cupboards may be included too. Balconies not.

But also: beware of mentions saying “mètre sur sol”, as opposed to metres Loi Carrez, meaning the surface of the ground surface, even where you cannot stand! The price for the apartment does often not justify the extra “mètre sur sol”!


Beaucoup de rangements:

Lots of cupboards.

But also: No way to access those cavities without twisting your back.


“A deux pas de”:

“Quite close to”

But also: “a brisk 10-15 minute walk to”.


“A proximité” : or “au pied de tous commerces, écoles et transports” :

Close to shops, schools and public transport.

But also: Still a 10-15 minutes brisk walk away from shops, schools and public transport.


Idéal (premier) investissement:

Ideal to make a (first) investment.

But also: the apartment is probably only fit for students and other youngsters.


A rénover:

To be totally renovated.

But also: reckon on a minimum of 900-1200 Euro per m2 on top of the purchase price, for a decent renovation.



The layout of the apartment is not typical for Parisian apartments.

But also: often difficult to sell in the future.


Vue imprenable/dégagée:

Wide views over the neighbourhood and sometimes the city.

But also: you look over the roof tops of the opposite buildings and see chimneys or only trees.


Coup de coeur:

You will fall in love with the apartment instantaneously.

But also: the looks and style of the apartment still do not justify the asking price.




But also: you will probably find a similar apartment for a lower price if you can exercise some patience.


On y pose ses valises:

You can move in with your furniture without any freshening up of the interior.

But also: probably still a little brush of paint is required and the asking price factors in the renovation carried out at a premium!


Salle de bains (« Sdb »)/Salle d’eau (« Sde »).

Bathroom with tub/Bathroom with wash basin/shower.

But also: no toilet in bathroom. The Sde may contain a toilet and a wash basin only. Or only the connection for a cold water tap.



Two floor levels within the apartment, sometimes one of which is a mezzanine.

But also: often the apartment is atypical and there may be waste of space due to the location of the staircase in the middle of the apartment.



Two floor levels within the apartment, of which one is below street level.

But also: No daylight.



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