There seems to be a re-emergence of the French affluent. I know that sounds a bit strange because Paris is known worldwide as the epicenter of luxury, but we have had our fair share of recent challenges.

  • Amid a turbulent political climate, 12,000 millionaires moved out of France last year, but I believe things might be on the uptick due to Brexit, President Macron’s pro-business approach plus an emergence of Forbes, Louis Vuitton and upscale water fountains.

There seems to be a re-emergence of the French affluent.

I know that sounds a bit strange because Paris is known worldwide as the epicenter of luxury, but we have had our fair share of recent challenges.

Like the United States, France has been hit by a rash of terrorist attacks, and we also had our own recent and incredible presidential election that featured Emmanuel Macron beating Marine Le Pen, who many believed would take France out of the European Union.

Our affluent community, who also saw their taxes increased, had turned away. In fact, the Global Wealth Review earlier this year noted that France had more than 12,000 millionaires move out of the country in 2016, the most of any nation.

My last two articles looked at the Russian affluent, but I wanted to return to Paris for this one because things seem to be changing for the better. Here are four reasons I optimistically believe we are turning a corner in France:

London’s loss may be Paris’ gain

The first reason for my excitement in France is because of Brexit. We are beginning to see fallout from the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Although London is still expected to remain the finance capital of Europe, many banks are suggesting that they will move jobs to cities like Paris and Frankfurt.

The estimates range from 10,000-75,000 positions moving or lost altogether. Obviously these are high-paying positions and bring tremendous prestige with them.

And because residential real estate follows commercial, it was interesting to see the Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report: Europe 2018 showed that London is the only major European city expected to see a decrease in rents and investment capital.

It was the second year in a row that London did not fare well in the report. Instead, four German cities (Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt), Luxembourg and Paris are expected to see the greatest rise.

Pro-business approach is paving the way

A big reason for the renewed interest in France is the pro-business views of President Macron, who turns 40 on Dec. 21.

That focus may be one of the reasons why Forbes recently launched in France with a quarterly magazine that follows its Forbes France website debut last year, which already has a million users.

I was fortunate to attend the launch event that was filled with a who’s-who of Parisian business leaders, and there was so much positive talk about our country under Macron. We spoke of an entrepreneurial spirit that is forming and a desire to welcome new ideas.

Luxury retail construction booming

While the Forbes event was very business-oriented, the second event — the grand opening of Louis Vuitton flagship store on the Champs Élysées — was definitely not.

It featured Jaden Smith opening for his dad Will Smith. Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams, Catherine Deneuve, Marion Cotillard and Paul Bettany were also there.

The building, which took four years to renovate, is incredible, and it is one of the first stores to open in our Paris’ luxury makeover.

There is a lot of building occurring today as a variety of luxury hotels and stores will open in the next several years along with several new museums.

Jeweler Boucheron, which dates back to 1858, will have a new home soon as will Yves Saint Laurent, and we will welcome a new Cheval Blanc luxury hotel.

Upscale water fountains

This is all very exciting for us, but there is one more thing.

Believe it or not, in an effort to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles used, the government in Paris recently announced that it is going to add more and more carbonated water fountains around the city.

Perrier for everyone!

With all of that said, I’m optimistic about the uptick of wealth in Paris. There’s certainly a plethora of factors that make Paris more appealing.

Laurent Demeure is the founder and CEO of Coldwell Banker France & Monaco.

Email Laurent Demeure

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