PARIS -- France's indebted government is selling the Park Avenue residence of its U.N. ambassador, located in one of New York's most prestigious apartment buildings, for an asking price of $48 million. The sale of the 18-room, 7-1/2 bath duplex with five fireplaces is part of a long-planned sale of state-owned real estate to help France reduce its 1.9-billion euro ($2.6-billion) debt. The Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday that the apartment at 740 Park, once dubbed the world's "richest apartment building," was up for sale.
Former French ambassador to the U.N. Jean-Marc de la Sabliere said the sale was "very, very sad." Another former diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity as he no longer holds an official position, said France's U.N. ambassadors, including current envoy Gerard Araud, host dinners at the apartment almost every night. There was no immediate word on where France's ambassador will reside after the sale.
Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer contributed to this report from the United Nations.