Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I wonder how many American readers of this blog are familiar with the banlieues of Paris. Reading about them is one thing, experiencing the reality is another. I recommend a foot tour if you have the chance, but if you don't, you might want to sample this photo montage of Bobigny, the préfecture of Seine-Saint-Denis, or capital of the famous département "93." Places like this make the news generally only when there is trouble: riots, demonstrations, police action of some sort. The "peacetime" reality is different, and Americans will recognize the similarity with certain "inner-city" neighborhoods here: the "functional" architecture, the "diversity" of faces, the very "everydayness" of the surroundings. No sign here of the grandeur of central Paris, though it is only a few miles away. Worth a look.