Stories and Culture

Paris and the Montreuil Block Party

The size of Paris makes it hard to not be surprised every time you visit the city, unless you’re marching the same route when you go. Though the center may be gorgeous, with that soaring architecture and plenty of stalls of antique books and baubles to keep your attention, unique neighborhoods make up its outskirts.

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In early June, I visited the city with my partner, and the next day we spent our afternoon in the Montreuil arrondissement. We had been invited to a barbecue and then the neighborhood’s Carnarvelo, a block party with live music that attracted many of the local families. Montreuil is a diverse neighborhood, and that day some of my friends discussed the work of a few Paris associations that were planning to modernize the area. The discussions emphasized the desire to avoid gentrification and so maintain Montreil’s diversity.

We stayed for ice cream and a “Pay As You Can” meal, three bands and a parade of drummers and families and homemade floats. We watched as a team of acrobatics from the Basque region of France climbed to build human towers, and a tipsy man asked me to paint his face when he saw me working on my friend.

The following photographs weave through the La Defénse business quarter, parts of Pigalle and follow stalls lining the Seine. The remaining photos are from Montreiul’s block party.

Paris City and Center

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Montreuil Block Party

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