There is enormous diversity in the city of Paris.
I attend the Intitut Catholique de Paris, in the 6th arrondissement. It’s an interesting place. I could almost throw a stone from my classroom window to the inordinately beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg, or Saint Sulpice in the other direction. The 6th is a very chic area; sparkling Vespas and swish cafés line the streets. Notice below a shop window display that never ceases to surprise me. Currently, the window exhibits two pairs of swimming shorts – with adult and child sizes, priced at €130 and €75 respectively.
Par contre, I live in Saint-Denis. Just north of Paris, the district referred to frequently by the first letters of its post code, “le neuf-trois”, is notoriously dangerous. More often than not, in response to me disclosing my place of residence, I hear, “c’est chaud quand meme!” Literal translation: “even so, that is hot”. What they mean is, “Crumbs, that’s a dangerous area to live in”.
I’ve not had any experiences in my ten months at Saint-Denis to put me off living here, but it occasionally feels like a different world. I’m not sure whether Saint-Denis dangerous reputation is the reality, but it must be one of the poorest suburbs of Paris. I may well be moving at the end of this academic year, and I would like to try to capture the character of this town before I leave. The following are the first photos in this series.
Flowers have recently appeared on the bridge at Saint-Denis Station.
This is the ‘toilet’ that the homeless people use in my street.
Peaches – Just 3 euros/KG in Saint-Denis. My flat mate says that if one travels further into Saint-Denis it feels more like the 3rd world. Perhaps an overexageration.
A bill-board in Saint-Denis. Fresh posters appear every few days.