Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Le Sentier


Here is a very typical and historical area of Paris I never told you about. It's called Le Sentier (after the name of one of the major streets that runs through it) and it's the heart of the French clothing wholesale. It's a place where a lot of immigrants started their company - and sometimes made their wealth: originally mostly Jews (from North Africa), but now more and more Chinese and Pakistani. It's also a place known for its illegal workshops (constantly chased by the Police though) and illegal day workers hired to carry loads of garments and fabric from one place to another on these little red and blue trolleys that you can see in the photo. And, last but not least, in my opinion, it's the next up and coming area of Paris...

62 comments:

  1. if you have the chuchpa sorry can;t spell, you can get into their wholesale stores and buy great things at a fraction of the price.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow PHX, that was really quick! Are you still in Paris?

    ReplyDelete
  3. The pigeons are enjoying themselves I see. I must say my attention is also drawn by SPAZM! Oooh. Looks like a lot is developing here. ;-)
    Congrats PHX-CDG!
    Shout out to Carrie too! I enjoyed the story of the oragami cranes. merci

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love this photo -- the contrast between the pigeons foraging in the foreground and the fancy dresses in upper window is great and then there is all that industrial-looking stuff in between . . . it feels like the site was just abandoned. Intended or not, it seems like a comment on the state of the world economy at the moment!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love that you have done the "tilt" again, Eric! It is a great place where everyday things happen. Are there a lot of pidgeons in Paris? We have seagulls here, but no pidgeons. It would be interesting to see the different clothes that come out of here. I'm not much of a fashionista, but I do like pretty things.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I really like the pigeons in the foreground. Nice touch. I knew at first glance where Eric was. You know me with clothes :-)

    Travel Gal, "just abandoned" It always looks like that at the off hours; at least for as long as I can remember. The workers go home at the end of the day. If you go to this neighborhood during work hours, it is really buzzing with activity though.

    "originally mostly Jews" There is also a Garment District in NYC with a similar history.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's the famous Tenin perspective! Love it.
    So is this where I need to look for the apt. I still dream of on a daily basis (but which becomes less and less affordable every day)?
    Congrats, Phx -- and Carrie, I loved what you said yesterday. Tell us more --

    ReplyDelete
  8. Down on your knees... :)
    I don't really like Le Sentier, I don't feel well when I'm there. I prefer the area around the 9th but not really the 2nd arrondissement itself.
    The way you described this place is quite nice, and actually I never thought that Le Sentier was becoming the place to be! Hope you're right!

    Hi five GF PHX CDG!

    ReplyDelete
  9. BTW, Carrie -- did you see Eric's question for you at the end of yesterday's comments?

    ReplyDelete
  10. You don't feel well there, Guille? What is it about it which makes you feel ill?

    I like the photo Eric and am intrigued; shall we see Eric buying an apartment for investment? Why not give us an average price for an apartment now, then, in a year's time, we shall see if you are right about the up and coming status. I'm sure you're right!

    ReplyDelete
  11. By the way lol at your comment to Phx. Being in Paris of course makes a quicker internet connection, I like it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ok one more comment then I'm in bed!... Eric you and I have often spoken of the merits of Photoshop - or not - come over to mine and give your expert opinion. Please. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Carrie,
    There are tons of pigeons in Paris. There was this one place I stayed when I was doing a study abroad trip and the pigeons hung out by the tables outside and I've had them walk across my feet...

    ReplyDelete
  14. I meant to address that to Christie... whoops... used the last "C" name that I had seen...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ah yes, Lois, but the picture is so wonderfully ambiguous -- Where did everyone go? Are they coming back? When?? I love that this shot brings so many questions. (The tilt helps give it that feel too.)

    I haven't been in the garment district in NYC in a hundred years (well, more than 20 anyway). . . Is it still a weird mix of dirty, gritty industry and fine fabric and fashion all sort of tumbled together?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Travel gal, What a perfect description of the Garment District in NYC -- "weird mix of dirty, gritty industry and fine fabric and fashion". Maybe that is why Guille said that she doesn't "feel well" when she is there. The one in Paris is not too much different.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Eric, this photo reminds me of the garment district in NYC. And yes, travel gal described it best -a weird mixture. When I am in NYC, I enjoy walking through the garment district - I even have a friend who goes to a button store once a year to find that unique button for coats, etc. It is so alive with all aspects of fashion. I would like to visit your garment district too - during daytime hours of course. Can you find deals on any of the major fashion houses products here?

    ReplyDelete
  18. You all might like a mystery written by Cara Black called Murder in the Sentier, one of nine or ten mysteries that take place in different arrondisments in Paris. This on focuses on the sans-papiers, immigrants without documentation. Here is a short clip:

    "Before the war, the Sentier was home to newspapers and honeycombed with small presses,,,During the power cutoffs, they'd print Combat, the clandestine Resistance newspaper, and counterfeit identification papers, by pedaling bicycles hooked up to the presses. In the eighties, we squatted in the derelect buildings peppering the Sentier agitating to rehouse the sans-papiers..."

    These books are all available from Soho Press here in the US. I understand they have found a French publisher and should be available in French soon. I have enjoyed them immensely, as they show me sides of Paris I would never get to see on my own, much like my daily PDP fix.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I believe in the book "Almost French" the Australian woman who wrote the book and her husband, Frederic live in the Sentier...or was it in "Our Paris" by Edmund White?? Ohhh...I'm tired tonight..never mind!! LOL!! I do like the photo and it looks as if the pigeons already know that this is the place to be!! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Rien à voir avec le sujet du jour but still… last week was also the given of a few french literrary prizes in Paris.
    Amongst them the famous Goncourt was attributed to the Afghan writer Atiq Rahimi and the Renaudot to the Guinean Tierno Monénembo.
    To those interested, this article in newspaper Le Monde : http://www.lemonde.fr/opinions/article/2008/11/11/la-langue-de-la-liberte_1117213_3232.html#xtor=EPR-32280156
    (sorry it's in French)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great!
    Good idea!
    I love that place and love your photo :)))

    In fact, the Sentier started long before the Jewish immigration from North Africa

    The Jews who made the place originated from Eastern Europe (ashkenases) at the beginning of XXth century, way before the sepharades who came in the 1960'

    ReplyDelete
  22. I had JUST turned on my computer in NYC for a look at PDP before I left for work, Eric! I saw zero comments so I typed furiously!!!Just checking in again having just arrived in London.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Back again to say thanks for yesterday's comments as I just got a chance to read them.

    ReplyDelete
  24. i used to live right off rue sentier! oh, how i miss it. but i have always wondered, who in the world buys some of these clothes? there are shops with some *very* unattractive offerings, and it's all in bulk!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Eric you've changed your profile pic! Haven't you? It's not exactly swinging from the chandaliers naked, but I like it! I like it very much. You handsome devil, you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. I Have just find you blog! What a funnny idea for paris lovers!!! GREAT!

    ReplyDelete
  27. No mention of Silicon Sentier? It was where the French internet bubble grew then exploded, and it quickly returned back to its fabric roots.

    I agree that it's not a terribly attractive part of Paris, with perhaps only the Passage de Caire worthy of a visit. What always struck me as a bit odd was the fact that there are almost no cafes or restaurants in there. Where do all of these workers eat?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Yes Lynn, I have!! In fact I switched my blogger account and I must have picked the wrong photo without even noticing. You did!
    (I have one naked on the Chandelier, but I'll save it for next month!!)


    Adam. Silicon Sentier, yes you're right. I thought it was too complicated to mix Shmatte and Silicon in a 6 line caption, that's why I dropped the whole Silicon Sentier stuff. I'm glad you mentioned it though. Here is more info about it (in French)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Nice photo of you Eric. You remind me of a Cary Grant type of man -- one who just gets better and sexier with age. I hope I didn't make you blush.

    Vicky Hugo, Merci for the info on the "ten mysteries that take place in different arrondisments in Paris". And you too tonton_flaneur for your book input. I love to read and am always interested in hearing about books regarding Paris.

    Adam, "the French internet bubble grew then exploded" you said a lot. Merci for the history.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Wow Lois "Cary Grant type of man" I wish!!

    ReplyDelete
  31. The Sentier area is a bit seedy, I think, like rue St. Denis. I understand Guille's comment. But, what do I know?

    Attempting to 'tie' things together: clothes make the man, they say, and Eric's new photo has him in upscale apparel. Remember, however, that Cary Grant himself said there is no Cary Grant--he's a creation for the cinema.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I stayed in Sentier last time I was in Paris, in an apartment on Rue d'Aboukir, right above several of those wholesale clothes merchants.

    I suspect that when Guille wrote that she didn't feel well there, she really meant that she didn't feel safe. There are a lot of shady characters hanging around -- although I didn't get in any trouble while I was there.

    It was remarkable, though, how ignorant taxi-drivers were of the area.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi everyone -- I spent pretty much the whole day helping a friend who flew into CDG get her luggage, which took its own plane, and bringing her home for a 3 day visit at my new pad. So, not a lot to report on the adventure front. I can report tho that there were many French people around, all speaking French, and I was in France. This was all I needed to have another great day!! : )


    Alexa - yes, I saw Eric's question yesterday and I posted back -- I'll recap tho. I fly out Dec. 2. I'd love to meet any and all PDPers. Apparently Virginia arrives Nov. 19, but I don't know if she's available. I'm free all nights after the 16th, as of now, and flexible all days.

    I'm at Carrie.12345@yahoo.com. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hmmm yes you are rather Cary Grant... sigh... ! Different colouring but the same sort of... look.
    Wow I can't wait for next month! lol....saucy.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh, PS! Eric - I like your new profile shot as well and concur in the Cary Grant vibe! I'm als0 curious about what's happening in the Sentier district - is it gentrification or artists coming in and setting up shop or something else? I'm going to try and go check it out - so I can be incredibly hip when I get home!! (Actually, that probably won't be enough to do it!) And, maybe I can get a deal on something if I have enough - what was that PHX - chutzpah?!! : )

    ReplyDelete
  36. Eric, we will all be waiting with bated breath for the naked chandelier pic! woohoo. Maybe it can be a Christmas special. No backing out now, you promised.......;-)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Yes you're a mix between (for me, anyway) Cary Grant, Prince Charles...and my ex husband. LOL.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Correction: apparently, there are those who will be waiting with bated breath for the naked chandelier pic. However, not all of us. I have no desire to see Eric's chandelier. I hope he is not offended.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Jeff, I beleive Cary Grant said "Everyone wants to be Eric, even I want to be Eric!"

    ReplyDelete
  40. I love to be Eric! Or Guille. Or Michael, Thib or Carrie until Dec 2...you get the idea.

    This looks like a very noisy district. I think I'll stick to the 7th Arr., about 1000 feet in the air.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Eric I am planning to purchase a small chandalier for the sitting room . Honestly, yes I am actually; it was already planned. So! You are very welcome to swing by and practise.... I promise not to look (...yeah, right).

    ReplyDelete
  42. Actually when I do buy the chandalier, I fear I will drawn to Photoshop immediately! LOL...

    ReplyDelete
  43. Guille - if you happen to see this and you know the answer -- I have a question about the couscous you told us about at la Cordonnerie. I want to take my friend there tomorrow night, but she's vegetarian. Do you know if I can get her a veggie cous - I can't find the answer anywhere!!! Merci mille foix!

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hmmm...yes, I bet I know just how Guile feels.

    It just isn't a friendly area and it doesn't even have the character of the 9th.

    On the other hand, it scares me to see how fast Paris is gentrifying but I've alrady commented about that a few times before so I'll just put my soap box away this time ;) besides, I think the gentrification phenomenon is happening worldwide, isn't it.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Vicky Hugo, thanks for the recommendation! I remember Buzzgirl was reading one of these novels the first time I met her in the Bay Area.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Jeff, "I have no desire to see Eric's chandelier. I hope he is not offended." LOOOOOL

    Carrie, I can't remember, but actually a couscous is always served vegetables and meat separated. Eating a couscous when you're vegetarian is maybe not the best idea...I can't say. Anyway, it's 142 rue Saint Denis, and it's free couscous on thursday and saturday evenings from 20H30.

    About my "i don't feel well there", I don't really like this place, stinky, dirty, prostitutes everywhere and bad shop windows...not my place. It's not only about feeling safe, it's about an atmosphere.

    Suzy, be me! ;)

    Eric, really nice pix. Ne te sens pas obligé, pour le chandelier. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  47. Tomate, you get it! Not a friendly area.

    ReplyDelete
  48. ohh wholesale! Although I do not condone the selling of illegal goods/and or clothing.
    The first things that caught my eye in today's photo was the pigeons, red/blue trolly's and SPAZM!!

    When I was in Paris last summer I too noticed the vast numbers of Asians & Middle Easterners.It was amazing to me though when I go into Louis Vuitton.They walk out with 4+ LV bags.
    {anyway this a wee bit off topic}

    I also noticed next to SPAZM the what looks like prom dresses.haha

    as always Nice photo Eric!
    I learn something new about Paris everyday =)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Thanks, Guille! On the count of three, switch places with me.

    ..1
    ...2
    ....3

    Wow, I even look like you now! It's great to be young and in Paris again.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Let me try that again....

    Wow, I even look like you now!

    ReplyDelete
  51. LOOOOOOOOOL! I'm still ROFL after the Chandelier story ;)

    Carrie, Guille, PHX?, Michael, how about a little gathering one of these evenings while Carrie is still here?

    ReplyDelete
  52. Okay Guille so it might be better to say 'I don't feel comfortable there' or 'I don't feel good about that place' - to not feel well is to feel ill. xx

    ReplyDelete
  53. ..you're still ROFLing Eric...and I? .... I'm still.... waiting. lol!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Suzy, you crack me up!! It's my photo!

    Eric, anytime. Would be nice to see you all again. What about Thib? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  55. Wow -- today was a whirlwind!

    I took an early walk thru the little local park which I found has a waterfall(!) and into the Marche des Enfants Rouges - a market named for orphans who centuries ago wore red uniforms.

    Then came a morning walking tour of the Marais' galleries and shops, from Republique down to Bastille, through the Pl. de Vosges, and past St. Paul's and M. Beaumarchais, where she could amble through a farmer's market. Next, we went back parallel to the Seine thru the Rue de Rosiers and Rue St. Croix de la Bretonnerie, which have totally become gentrified since I last was here.

    We walked to the Centre Pompidou, saw loads of modern art, had perfect weather to look at the Eiffel tower as we lunched at Georges, (of Eric fame!)checked out a free concert for Saturday night at St. Merry's church and then hopped the metro to the quite stunning Chateau de Vincennes (also of Eric fame!!) where we spent the afternoon. (I would never have known of these without PDP).

    Not yet done, as the sun set, she got a crepe and we walked around my neighborhood, stopping at the (or one of the) oldest house in Paris at 3 Rue Volta - a timbered beauty on an narrow winding street that's been inhabited since the 1100's I believe.

    Unfortunately, she hadn't slept last night and was severely jetlagged, so at that point she hit the proverbial wall, and all my plans to get her a veggie couscous fell through. (Oh well, thanks for the help, Guille.) I'll definitely go myself next Thursday!! : )

    Now, about the photo (!) I don't plan to go to the wax museum, as its not my cup of tea, but, I do want to say, that as usual, Eric, your photo is great. Keep 'em coming - we love it!!

    ReplyDelete
  56. OK, I guess I'm tired too! I just posted under the wrong day. This is supposed to be under the Grevin Wax Museum. Nitey - nite!!

    ReplyDelete
  57. The post is very nicely written and it contains many useful facts. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement. Thanks for sharing with us.

    ReplyDelete