Photography in Paris, Saint-Denis

A tale of one city

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.

Coffee Bar in Saint Sulpice

Red Vespa

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.

Bridge at Saint-Denis station

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.


One thought on “A tale of one city

  1. Dylan says:

    Saint-Denis is a district where there is a lot of violence (especially the bus burnt or the attacks in the high-schools). It’s just that.
    Your photo with the red scooter and the red flowers is magic. A dream immobile, congealed.
    As beautiful as to set a child’s smile.

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