Laurie Pike, the style director at Los Angeles Magazine, lives here but owns three flats in Paris and runs an English-language blog for ex-pats and visitors. The New York Times Home section section caught up with her this week to ask why and how she does it. Laurie, as readers of LA Observed probably know, was the editor of LA.com and the late Distinction magazine, and she also created Glue, another magazine that's no longer with us.
In 2001, my business went under a magazine in L.A. called Glue and I was $100,000 in debt, said Ms. Pike, 44, sitting on a blue pullout couch in her studio in Montmartre. Yet, four years after entering a debt-management program, Ms. Pike suddenly found herself receiving her paycheck as supervisor of fashion coverage at the influential Los Angeles monthly magazine much more money than she had learned to rely on and decided to invest.
Buying in Los Angeles did not appeal to Ms. Pike, who says that although she finds it the easiest city to live in, she is turned off by its natural instability: the earthquakes, the landslides, the fires.
And then there is the cost. Prices vary widely across the sprawling city. In the once-again chic area of Hollywood, apartments average $640 a square foot, not necessarily including taxes, utilities or maintenance costs, while small apartments in Paris average a bit less, and those charges are included.
Ms. Pike spent time in Paris over 20 years ago as a student at the Sorbonne. On a recent visit there she realized that mortgage rates were affordable about 5 percent and property values were not as costly as she had thought. Aided by the Bonapart Consulting agency, which specializes in finding homes in Paris for clients from abroad, she went on the hunt for an apartment.
She bought her first flat in 2006 for 148,000 euros and spent 9,000 on renovations. Her next two cost her about 170,000 euros each. Yes, they are for rent via The Paris Blog. Spotted at journalist Emmanuelle Richard's blog.
Cropped photo of Pike: Lee Hoagland for The New York Times