Monday, August 08, 2005

Fresco in Paris 13

I am not too keen on Grafittis but when they look like real frescos that is another story! I shot this one in the 13th arrondissement which is, in my opinion, one of the dullest arrondissements of Paris (sorry guys, it's just my opinion!!), so it is definitely an improvement!


  1. LOL Fred. Yeah, well, it's debatable. I agree that the 15th is definitely charmless (Gee, it's a good thing we have this discussion in the middle of August when nobody is around!). Parts of the 14th are OK to me.

    Fred, we have to explain to foreign visitors who are not aware of our local snobbisms (!), that Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements (districts) and that each of them has its own "personality".

    And with these personalities come stereotypes …

    For instance, in the 7th arrondissement it is said that you find "old money", unlike in the 16th where "new money" is to be found … The 15th is supposedly – almost! - exclusively inhabited by people coming from the provinces, in the 6th rich intellectuals are to be met… The 12th, 19th and 20th were traditionally the arrondissements of the working class, etc.

    Wait, that is not all… There is also a “fight” between the right bank and the left bank (of the river Seine). On the right bank: down to earth, money oriented people. On the left bank: artists, intellectuals, poets…

    As for the people living on two tiny islands in the middle of the river it’s a different story. (Coincidentally, I just heard someone form the Berthillon family - a famous ice cream and sherbet maker whose shop is on the Saint Louis Island - this morning on the radio). They happen to consider their island as a small village TOTALLY different from the CONTINENT where they HAVE TO go from time to time when they don’t find what they want locally. So funny!

  2. everybody has to define themselves...

    Once again, nice pictures Eric. I check your page whenever I log on. Let me know when the book comes out. I'll buy a copy. :)

  3. That pushing away of the poorest by up and coming yuppies was a huge phenomenon here in the U.S., beginning in the 1980's, and was given the name "gentryfication."

    Is is possible at all to find affordable housing in Paris (rental or purchase)? I am just curious.

  4. what about the 5th ? what do you guys think of the 5th ? Too touristy ? I want to know b/c I've booked an apartment there for a week in september. Picked the 5th b/c it seemed very central.

  5. > Quick update. No it is not possible to find affordable housing in Paris!!! But that is just like everywhere in big cities at the moment I understand (and it was already so in 1991 until it dropped dramatically until 1998). At the moment the average square meter price (to buy) is 4.745 euros. But there are large differences between arrondissements : 3.484 euros in the 19th arrondissement and 7.284 euros in the... 6th! See this interesting article in French...

    > Dev. Don't worry, the 5th is among the best arrondissements in Paris. Central, chic but no show off and still a kinda student atmosphere (it's the arrondissement of the Sorbonne university). Where are you from?

  6. Fred - I guess I can do without soul for a week.

    Eric - thanks.. although I am already feeling disheartened b/c the guidebooks keep referring to the area as "bacteria alley". It was one of few reasonably priced short term rentals I could find on short notice. I guess I shouldn't worry b/c I won't be eating there...although being a vegetarian I wonder if I'll be eating anywhere. Lots of bread and cheese... :) I'm from a lot of different places but currently settled in Minnesota, USA.

  7. Eric, didn't you live in the 13th few year ago? :~} JM-

  8. Actually NO! I did not like it at all!! Although I must say that since then, it has changed (that is "improved") a lot.

  9. Dev, for a week, 5th is perfect because it is very central. very convenient. area is nice. and i'm sure you'll love it.
    i guess it's called bacteria alley because there's a lot of turkish greek food that doesnt look to be totally pasteurized all the time... although i have eaten quite a lot of these, and never got sick. so who knows?

    i pretty much agree with fred's analysis on the districts. left bank is definitely more conservative, BOURGEOIS in all meanings of the term, good and bad. nice area, safe, good-looking, nice to walk by. but rich, dull, and conservative.

    13th is bad, but there is butte aux cailles, there is mouffetard market nearby, place d'italie beforehand for rollerblading (now montparnasse). otherwise it's true that the district kinda sukks. but nothing as bad as 14th or 15th, especially 15th: so provincial, it makes me puke... nice little buildings, nice little roads, nice little people. nice everything. in one word: DULL.

    fully agreed on montorgueil or the oberkampf gentrification/ syndrom. funny actually, in sao paulo as well they are trying to gentrify the center. looks like it's a global trend...

    then eric, you inverted 16th and 7th: old money is actually in 16th. old grannies and families who inherited their huge apartments, fortunes and hotels particuliers, are rotting around there. in 7th, it really more looks like young couples with money, and all those "intellectuels de gauche". 6th is even more upmarket, i find.

    and you forgot to mention the difference between the 1- and the 2-digit districts. ca n'a rien a voir... but actually that is a very 7th-, or even 6th-district debate...

  10. in the end, i forgot to comment on the photo, which i had really liked. i usually like graffitis, when they are specially designed/ made, like this one. it brings some life and color to some dull white buildings. i really think they had value, and that we should have more of those.