I live my last days in Paris and I had to write an article about this city that I love hating, which offers so many opportunities, and also so many constraints, which is so beautiful and so depressing sometimes.
I recognize that these few months in the French capital have not been that (
intolerable pain, claustrophobia and stifling agoraphobia and extinction of my soul and my humanity) negative. Especially thanks to cousins and friends at the top and a maturity that I didn’t have 5 years ago when I left Paris for the first time, swearing never to return.
Between 2 getaways to other lands (Normandy, Berlin, Sczcecsin, Marseille, Nans Pins, Toulouse …) as soon as I had a Weekend of 3 days, I learned to focus on what the capital had to offer better. Paris buzzes: want an exhibition? Want to go out? Want a concert? Karaoke? Cinema? Not to mention the multitudes of restaurants. The city leaves us with immense embarrassment: that of choice.
Often unable to decide between 2 possibilities of outings, I managed to convince myself that staying at home was the best alternative and that an evening book-computer-music-chocolate was, after all, an equally rewarding prospect (the laziness …)
The indecision and also the fact that being compressed in a place with too many people rarely pleased me (no matter where you go, I feel there are always too many people everywhere in this city … ). Nevertheless I was able to overcome these two obstacles sometimes and make some interesting outings.
Besides the visited places, I’ve made here exceptional and decisive meetings for the rest of my adventure- I’ve especially met Manna Claudelle from the blog Youngiftedandblack (link here) and we can say that the name of the blog describes his personality well because she is actually gifted (talented).
I met my new heroine who will certainly be the subject of an article in the serie black girls magic: Melissa Lavaux. Haitian singer, activist. I’ve discovered her by chance thanks to the Facebook page “Ayibopost” Haitian news website (her interview here) and she teaches me a lot about Haiti. I had the chance to meet her in person at the afro blog entry event which took place on September 29 at playful randomness (Paris 18th) and she is as friendly and natural as she appeared to me in video and kindly answered all my questions (she was in Ghana! And she loved it! Yeaaah)
And then all those people I talked to about my adventure, who believe in me and help me achieve my goals without asking anything in return.
I also got used to walk in Paris, putting on pause a few moments/hours the hectic pace of the city and getting to walk to my appointments, to work, or whatnot. This makes it possible to appreciate the city otherwise (and to have great calves!)
Between Château-Rouge and Place Vendôme we do not find the same atmosphere, the same people, the same problems, the same life. Moving from one to the other gives the impression of passing in 2 parallel worlds that coexist but do not mix. For me Paris is a condensed of what is done better and worse in these two worlds.
On the one hand a tidy, beautiful, elegant, financially rich, very neat, calm slightly condescending world, and on the other a noisy world, disordered, sometimes stifling, with odors (pleasant or not) colors, music, splinters of voices and bursts of laughter.
And I realize that I am a mixture of both and when these two worlds come together, that’s where I feel better.
But the big black point for me is that in 5 years of absence, I have found that social misery has spread dramatically in the city. Back from Germany, the contrast is blatant. I have never seen so much homeless and begging people as here.
And all these Syrian families with children, elderly people abandoned under the bridges to the Parisian device. Yet since 2011 France has received only a paltry number of Syrians. About 10 000 have obtained refugee status (against 1 million in Germany sources: here and here). I do not memories about meting families with children begging in Berlin, and where the state could sometimes be faulty in their host system, private citizen actions are regularly organized via Facebook and other: Collective courses of cooking with migrants, collections of clothes, language courses etc…
In Paris, I mostly felt a feeling of great indifference and instant defiance.
Paris City of Light, Paris City of Culture, but Paris is certainly not a host city for the most deprived.
And by dint of being solicited constantly, stress, fatigue, our own worries, we start developing this disdainful attitude or ignore these people, pretending not to see them.
But I and my sensibility have been struggling to manage.
So, I am thankful for everything that has brought me this city but I leave the light hearted.
What is sure though is that as long as it’s only going to momentaneous, I’ll come back.