March 21, 2004

Squat in Paris

Although you may be thinking that squat in Paris, is what you have to do when you use one of the old fashioned public toilets there, I am in fact referring to an actual squat, as in a building that people are living in.
On my recent visit there, I stayed in this squat, which is an old Electricity Company staff building in the 10th district. The people living there were facing an eviction crisis, which had arrived with the lovely Spring weather. Apparently, you are not allowed to evict people in the winter (before March 15th), which is a rather caring piece of legislation. I don't imagine that here in Britain there is any such stipulation.
I took the Eurolines service, which uses the Dover-Calais ferry, and takes about 8 hours. It's a bit slow, but very reasonably priced at 27-42 pounds return, depending on when you go. I noticed that customs and immigration checks were much more severe than on my previous visits, and the bus was boarded in both directions by a team of French customs police with a sniffer dog.
I spent my time in Paris walking around the city, meeting up with various friends of JP and Laure, who were my hosts. Most of them knew JP and Laure from the time they had spent in China, and as well as being able to speak Chinese, their level of English was extremely high, making my French seem pitifully inadequate.
I had not been to Paris for quite a long time, and had forgotten how pleasant it is. The streets are so quiet, clean and empty compared to London, and the opportunities for coffee or beer at an outside table on a quiet street are plentiful. So, thumbs up for Paris! Yeah, go Paris! Paris Rocks! Long live Paris! OK, enough, you get the picture...

Posted by paul at March 21, 2004 02:25 PM