Just a line from our hotel. It’s the Mercure, in Montigny le Bretonneux, one of the five towns that make up the “new town” suburb of St. Quentin en Yvelines, about 20 miles southwest of the center of Paris. I don’t believe Montigny or St. Quentin are among the places that suffered car-burnng riots among immigrant youths — was that last year or the year before? — but this part of it looks like a candidate. Lots of ’60s-era office and retail blocks that look worn today; lots of space for rent, significantly more than I noticed four years ago. The town center looks all the more bleak today for being deserted because of a national holiday, the Feast of the Assumption. Yeah — Virgin Mary worship right here in the heart of postmodern rationalism (if there is such a thing). Go figure.

Anyway, I got here in one piece; not without anxiety or minor travail, but I guess that’s just part of the drill for me taking a long trip away from the family. More later.

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3 Replies to “Landed”

  1. The riot area is more to the north end of Yvelienes and Essonne. I used to travel to Poissy and that bourgeois suburb was the center of vigorous rioting a couple of years ago.

  2. I find the fact that Paris is the opposite of the inner city slum model interesting. But I guess that is relatively common in non-North American cities.
    I hope you’e having a great time over there. Did you take your camera? Looking forward to seeing some photos. By the way, what model is your camera?

  3. Paris has *outer* city slums. La Banlieue is the outer-city dumping ground for the disenfranchised and the unemployed. Institutionalized racism in French employment has created an underclass of brown and black Frenchmen and women who will probably never work. When they turn to drug dealing to make a bit of surplus, the police go in with military force. It’s no wonder there’s riots.

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