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I think that type of grey tiles are quite expensive and not as common nowadays. They are made from this material which I don't know the name in english. They were used a lot in old french styled buildings in Buenos Aires .
I believe they use zinc instead of those simply because its cheaper not to cover the entire rooftop with the grey tiles.
 

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My roof is covered in slate and it is quite expensive to replace. North Wales is just up the road from me and it was the slate mining capital of the world in the 19th and early 20th century so a lot of the houses around here have slate roofs.
 

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slate isnt that expensive, it depends on where you get it from. Welsh slate is like the creme de la creme of the slate world and hence is enormously expensive for what it is (hence why the majority of slate used in the UK is from places like China).

zinc/metal in general roofing is probably quite popular in paris as it can deal well with the varying pitches faced with the mansards and terraces etc as well as being cheaper that most local slates.
 

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I had always wondered this too, although I never quite realized how it is a very Parisian thing. In fact, I had come to associate those grey metal-like roughs of Paris with Paris and the more traditional tiles with provincialness or suburban housing. So whenever I would see the more traditional tiles in Madrid or some other European capital, I would subconsciously think of them as being more provincial, but only because in provincial French cities, that was the case. If you look in Maps Google or Google Earth and zoom to the other major French cities like Lyon and Marseille, but also Lille, Toulouse and Bordeaux, you'll see much more tiles, especially in the South.

What material dominates in NYC and London and other major cities?
 
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