Having travelled a bit in my life I can say that a big city has marked me since I was a child. this city continues to surprise me every time I go there, so full of secrets, culture and things stuff to do and discover. However, this city is not in a country foreign to mine, this city I am going to talk about is Paris.
When I arrived in the suburbs of Paris as a small child, I remember the feeling of excitement, wonder and discovery that I could feel in front of such a beautiful city, full of history and for which 50 million tourists come to visit every year. However, over the years, these feelings have been compounded by surprise, misunderstanding and sometimes fear.
I’m going to tell you about the feelings, the sensations I can experience as a move from my little Parisian suburb to the very heart of Paris. So I leave my house in the morning, this place still has the partial aspect of Ferdinand Tonnies “Gemeinschaft”, the people know each other. I walk slowly in my small town that still seems to be asleep, direction Paris for a little shopping session. Arrived at the station where the atmosphere is relaxed and where the ticket inspectors talk with their friends before taking the train, I take the RER, a suburban train that goes to the center of Paris. With the train gone, I notice a funny phenomenon. indeed, as if to support Ernest Burgess theory of concentric zones, depending on how close the train gets close to the centre of Paris, the people who get on it change social classes, we go from people from the suburbs to middle class people, then working class people, then we go through businessmen who go to work in the business centre of Paris.
I finally arrive in the centre of Paris, and it’s a deafening roar that attacks my ears and all my senses at once.
It’s like being in an anthill where each person appears as a worker ant attached to his task and running with his ears protected from the ambient noise by his earphones. No one seems to know or respect each other, everyone seems independent. The cars rush at full speed, honking the horns of passagers-by who force their way over the pedestrian crossing, it’s like a democratized jungle. People all seem the same, only a few of them that society would consider extravagant are trying to break a uniform mould.
To escape this permanent noise, I walk at full speed towards a “refuge zone”, the Marais district, where the largest gay community in Paris has settled, a former popular district that has become one of the most expensive places in the city. Perhaps an observable example of Sharon Zukin’s gentrification phenomenon ? The point is, this is my favorite place. I’m relaxed and can now walk without the stress of being run over by cars, there is no speed. this place is imbued with a feeling of total carelessness and slowness. the scenery is really beautiful and it is a haven of peace.
Decided to go shopping in the center of Paris I must now leave this place, because unfortunately, the manifestation of the yellow vests paralyses the center of Paris whose decor looks now like urban guerrilla warfare.
Now I have to go back home happy at the thought of finding the calm of my Parisian suburb. Even if this city will never ceases to surprise me, it offers infinite possibilities and discoveries, everything seems to happen there. All this makes Paris a unique city in the World.
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