Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Bobigny

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.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

tomorrow I go to the prefecture of Val-de-Marne to get my titre de séjour renewal. Downtown Creteil's 70s architecture is godawful ugly. la grandeur is a human quality, and you'll find lots of grandeur in the banlieue.
but not with the fonctionnaires who work in prefectures, ils sont infectes. immondes. je n'ai pas de mots assez dur pour décrire ces gens-là.


Chris P.

Passerby said...

A group of friends & I spent a week-end visiting one of us in Cergy-Pontoise.

It was a riot-free experience. And honestly I never really felt insecure (a recurrent theme in the news). Architecture was ugly (I've never been a huge city fan anyway), but nothing unexpected there. What struck me was the imbalance between the "old center" of Cergy and the surrounding living buildings from the 70ies.

According to Wikipedia there are 60K inhab in Cergy, and 190K for the Cergy-Pontoise agglomeration. Yet the size of the city-center is what you'd expect in French small town (5'000-10'000 inhab.)
When we went out in the evening, there were only 2 bars where could go to. No wonder that the youth living in Cergy is bored out of their mind...

Anonymous said...

and just when I slam fonctionnaires, I come across a nice bunch of them at the prefecture...sheesh...



Chris P.