0396 An Immigrant Suburb (Fra 021—new)

Epinay sur Seine Travel Blog

 › entry 21 of 201 › view all entries

It takes me a while just to get out of Argenteuil.  There’s a bit of open countryside near the freeway crossing and there I come a cross another Roma campsite--  a very shabby one, so I assume they must be from Eastern Europe… A couple of young boys come up to me demanding money in some language I don’t understand… I pick up my pace a bit… Some older shirtless fellows are heading my direction… I quickly cross the highway, hoping they don’t follow me.  Suddenly, the French countryside doesn’t feel so safe anymore--  I’d almost rather have a confrontation in the ghetto than out here…

 

A bit perturbed, I hurry on to my next town, Epinay sur Seine.

 

At first I figure I’ll just make a quick visit to Epinay sur Seine and then loop around west and then south to finish the Westernmost Penninsula… but things don’t quite turn out that way.

  Epinay sur Seine is a long, long, suburb and the Mairie is way on the other side of town…


So I end up trudging down a long, ugly shadeless road in search of the Mairie… And Epinay is definitely a ghetto, which I thought would make it a cool place to explore, but it really just means that there’s little historical architecture, and the few parks are full of trash and suspicious characters… so I’m not exactly thrilled about my discovery.  As I continue on I start to wonder if maybe I just got beginners luck over the first couple of days with all those really cool suburbs, and from now on all the suburbs are going to be ugly and monotonous… and dangerous at night…

 

Anyways, I finally reach downtown, which is a cheerful lively place, with African and North African folks shopping and ambling about… I even have a small audience of a couple of kids when I pull out my guitar. 

 

Still almost no history in downtown… the Mairie itself is surrounded by high rise apartments… And something strikes me a bit odd about the Mairie… it’s the only one I’ve seen so far that has a big statue of a naked woman in front, and I wonder… why would a statue like that be placed in a predominantly Muslim suburb?  Could it be… uh… deliberate? And the plaque near a “Peace Memorial” at the park next to the Mairie says it was dedicated by the Isreali ambassador…

 

Somehow, I’m getting the feeling that whoever is running this town is a bit out of touch with the people who live here… I wonder how common that is here in these immigrant suburbs…

 

But it still feels like a peaceful place, at least during the daytime…

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Epinay sur Seine
photo by: nathanphil