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Old December 15th, 2007, 11:58 AM   #1
brisavoine
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Urban diversity in the Paris suburbs

For those who liked the Unusual views of Paris and the Paris : 11 million inhabitants - Giant satellite view threads, I'm creating this new thread showing the urban diversity in the Paris suburbs. There are more than commie blocks in the Paris suburbs as you'll see.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you want to add pictures to this thread:
- no more than 10-12 pics per message please
- this thread is about diversity, so don't show repetitive pics of the same urban landscape. One or two well chosen pics are better than 10 pics of the same thing.

1. Typical diversity in a Paris suburb (Chatou in the western suburbs): detached houses next to small condominium buildings. The skyscraper of La Défense and the Eiffel Tower in the distance.


2. The Salvador Allende social estate in the Communist suburb of Saint-Denis. Urban poverty and segregation under the flight paths of Paris-CDG airport.


3. In the western suburbs the white collars live in detached houses amidst leafy neighborhoods. Here the top-notch and very wealthy suburb of Noisy-le-Roi.


4. Ethnic landscape in the inner suburbs. This suburbs is home to an Armenian and South-East Asian community.


5. Thanks to 10 centuries of close proximity to the French kings and the French State, the suburbs of Paris are home to the largest concentration of mansions and châteaux in Europe, the like of which is found only around London. A private mansion in the southern suburb of Palaiseau. There are hundreds of mansions like this one throughout the suburbs.


6. The innermost suburbs (here Saint-Mandé) look like the City of Paris proper, and the only reason why they are called "suburb" is because the limits of the City of Paris proper have been artificially frozen since 1860.


7. Suburban train stations are part of daily life for millions of Parisians. Here Houilles station in the northwestern suburbs.


8. In the outer suburbs the urban area of Paris expands year after year ever outwards. About 5 million Parisians live in such sprawling outer suburbs where there are few commie blocks and residential developments are mixed with forests, freeways, drive-in shopping malls, and farming fields. Here Savigny-le-Temple in the southeastern suburbs, 35 km (22 miles) from Notre Dame cathedral as the crow flies.


9. The suburbs also contain beautiful historical districts, such as the town center of Versailles in this picture. That's not how foreigners imagine the suburbs I suppose (especially if they watch Paris Riots on Fox News).


10. The poetically named Les Bosquets ("The Groves") social estate in Montfermeil (eastern suburbs) is another of the social ghettos dotting the Paris suburbs.


11. Meanwhile, people in the northwestern suburbs enjoy the sweet life. Here the über-classy lake of Enghien surrounded by villas, rolling hills with fantastic views of Paris, and well-to-do people.


12. In the eastern suburb of Noisy-le-Grand they try to learn the errors of the ugly social estates built in the 1960s-1970s. New condominium buildings are moderately sized, a bit more stylish (neo-haussmannian style), and private property is clearly marked with fences.

Last edited by brisavoine; December 15th, 2007 at 12:18 PM.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #2
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Thanks for the effort brisavoine

Another kind of landscape you encounter a lot in the suburbs is this one (these photos of mine are old and are not the best though, but they're the only thing I have):

It's neither full of tower blocks kind of buildings, neither is it as dense as Paris, but it's not urban sprawl neither, it's generally a mix of low rise buildings, commieblocks, 60 years old detached houses and a few modern constructions:



This is what you encounter the most once you are out of the inner suburbs.

edit: I just changed and put a slightly different photo, this is the city center of the suburb called Antony.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 12:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklips View Post
edit: I just changed and put a slightly different photo, this is the city center of the suburb called Antony.
The other one was good too. You should show different examples.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 12:20 PM   #4
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Saint Denis is really a weird place, it is very diverse it has modern office building, old district, historical monument, vibrant commercial district, residencial post haussmannian buildings, little urban houses, industrial wastle land and commies blocks.
This place represent well the diversity of Paris inner suburbs

Commercial street in Saint Denis

Picture by Stormwatch153
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Last edited by Minato ku; December 17th, 2007 at 12:23 AM.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 02:25 PM   #5
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What fascinates me in particular is the sprawl in the outer suburbs. The urban landscape is very different from central Paris, it looks very American to me, but tourists never know about these outer suburbs because it would take long commutes for them to explore them. Even when you take the RER subway from Paris-CDG airport to central Paris you don't cross these outer suburbs (Paris-CDG is too close from central Paris).

Contrary to central Paris, in the outer suburbs the typical dwellings are single houses, often detached, and they have a typical style trying to copy the old style of the Île-de-France province. Houses in picture #8 (Savigny-le-Temple) are typical of this style. People living there are white collars who make long commutes. The daily life in these outer suburbs is completely different from the daily life in central Paris: it's all about cars, shopping malls, raising kids, socializing with other white collars, week-ends in the beautiful rural areas surrounding Greater Paris.

Here are some more pics of the outer suburbs.

13. Cormeilles-en-Parisis in the northwestern suburbs


14. American suburbia in the distant eastern suburbs of Paris.


15. Cormeilles-en-Parisis again


16. Outer suburbs lifestyle. In the northern suburbs.


17. Maule, a very distant western suburb.


18. A neo-haussmannian shopping mall in the distant eastern suburbs.


19. An entire neo-haussmannian district is being built in this distant eastern suburb.


20. The same area. It's about 30 km (18 miles) from Notre Dame cathedral as the crow flies.


21. The same area again. It reminds me of this copy of Paris that the Chinese are building near Shanghai. Parisians making a Chinese-style copy of Paris in the suburbs of Paris, now that is globalization!


22. Many Parisians aspire to that kind of dream life: detached houses with gardens next to green space and rural setting in the easternmost suburbs of Paris. These kind of developments are now frowned upon by the environmentally-conscious Greater Paris region, but it's hard to force people to live in small apartments in crowded neighborhoods.

Last edited by brisavoine; September 21st, 2008 at 07:33 PM.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 02:27 PM   #6
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Another thing I like about the suburbs is the many royal parks and royal forests dating from the time of the monarchy. Central Paris has little green space, but the suburbs have as much green space as cities like Berlin.

23. Louis XIV's royal park in Sceaux, an upper-class southern suburb. The residential areas around this park are very very nice (but very very expensive too). The hill you see on the pic is not a forest but an entire residential area whose trees hide the houses.


24. The royal estate of Marly in the western suburbs was the favorite home of Louis XIV. The chateau was unfortunately destroyed during the French Revolution, but the park and its canals remain. In the summer when the leaves are back it's an amazing place.


25. A beautiful royal forest somewhere in the suburbs (entirely surrounded by urbanization). Royal forests have large avenues because they were used for royal hunting with horses. Personally, if I had to give a reason why Paris is unique, it would be because of its forests, but few tourists are aware of it (which is not a bad thing).


26. When you explore the suburbs you can discover pure jewels like this Mediterranean looking suburb on a hill overlooking the Seine, somewhere in the preppy western suburbs, which I discovered a few years ago and which I adore. Lots of antiques shops and tea houses.

Last edited by brisavoine; December 15th, 2007 at 02:46 PM.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 03:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brisavoine View Post
Contrary to central Paris, in the outer suburbs the typical dwellings are single houses, often detached, and they have a typical style trying to copy the old style of the Île-de-France province. Houses in picture #8 (Savigny-le-Temple) are typical of this style. People living there are white collars who make long commutes. The daily life in these outer suburbs is completely different from the daily life in central Paris: it's all about cars, shopping malls, raising kids, socializing with other white collars, week-ends in the beautiful rural areas surrounding Greater Paris.
Well, the outer suburbs are also very heterogenous and are not made uniquely of the kind of areas you describe.

For example, in theouter suburbs around 25km south-west of Paris you have pseudo-preserved white collar old city centres, recent detached-home sprawl (similar to what you described), a soulless dense and working class suburb, completly artifically built in the 70's. Older suburbs with a mix of 50's appartments and small detached houses and so on.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 03:23 PM   #8
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Why don't you show pictures? I'm talking about what I know. The suburbs of Paris are so large, no one knows all of them.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 03:46 PM   #9
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Ok, but it's hard to find photos, I couldn't find any photo of the leafy relativelly recent area I was talking about, but nonetheless:

Here's the kind of stuff you'll find where I live in a relativelly small area







image hosted on flickr


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Old December 15th, 2007, 04:00 PM   #10
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Yes, I know those, but you have to admit there are much less tower blocks in the outer suburbs than in the inner suburbs, and the older town centers like in your 4th pic are just a small part of the urban landscape in the outer suburbs, being a reflection of the extent of urbanization before WW2.

Last edited by brisavoine; December 15th, 2007 at 04:45 PM.
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Old December 15th, 2007, 04:10 PM   #11
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Yes you are not wrong for the tower blocks thing, however they are still common (it really depends on the area in my opinion, some will be full of them with very imposing "grands ensembles" next to countryside, and others will have almost none). As for the "old" towns, in the Vallée de Chevreuse and near the Orsay area, you find them everywhere
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Old December 15th, 2007, 07:39 PM   #12
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Fascinating.
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Old December 16th, 2007, 05:00 PM   #13
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Urban dense and diverse inner suburbs : La Garenne-Colombes with a view of La Defense


Industrial food wholesale : Rungis.
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Old December 16th, 2007, 05:07 PM   #14
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biggest market in Europe.

Sprawl



edit: lol, it seems that only us, parisian forumers, are obsessed by our own city's suburbs.

Last edited by eklips; December 16th, 2007 at 05:19 PM.
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Old December 16th, 2007, 05:25 PM   #15
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Maybe.

Very dense inner suburbs next to Central Paris : Boulogne Billancourt.
image hosted on flickr


Single-family homes suburbs with some condominium blocks with a beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower, the Montparnasse tower and la Defense in the distance


I don't know where it is exactly, but I know that it is in the Val de Marne departement in the Boissy branch of the RER A, so it is maybe Boissy.
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Old December 16th, 2007, 05:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklips View Post

edit: lol, it seems that only us, parisian forumers, are obsessed by our own city's suburbs.
nope, i also love to see those pictures!

I can imagine that Parisians only know a small part of this vast urban area.
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Old December 16th, 2007, 08:56 PM   #17
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Yes, of course.
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Old December 16th, 2007, 09:47 PM   #18
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I'm disappointed to see some of the really North American suburbs but they are sooo far out from the city itself. When I was there I only saw beautiful beautiful suburbs.

Great city! Very cute suburbs! (and of course some depressing ones too)
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Old December 16th, 2007, 10:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklips View Post
edit: lol, it seems that only us, parisian forumers, are obsessed by our own city's suburbs.
Don't worry, sometimes I receive messages from people thanking me for all the hard work, people from places as far away as India who never post messages in the Paris threads but who nonetheless read us. So the people you see posting here are just the tip of the iceberg.
Quote:
Originally Posted by snot View Post
I can imagine that Parisians only know a small part of this vast urban area.
Yeah, the built-up areas extend over almost 3,000 km² (1,000 sq miles), so it's impossible to know it all. When I was a student I used to go on urban trecks all by myself on Sundays and during holidays, but despite that I only know a small part of the suburbs.

Another amazing thing to do is to go on urban bike expeditions: you start with your bike from the center of Paris, you choose any direction (east, west, north, south) and you ride your bike outwards. You ride, and ride, and ride, and soon you're 5 km from the center, 10 km from the center, 20 km from the center, and it's still urban with no countryside in sight ! That's when you realize how truly enormous this city is. This feeling of going through 20 km or urbanization, there's nothing like it. When you reach places far-away from the district where you live, it feels like a completely different city, I love it. I always carry a detailed IGN ordnance map so as not to get lost during those bike tours.
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Old December 16th, 2007, 11:00 PM   #20
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bicycle or motorbike?
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