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Semi-permanent dwellings on rail sidings in Paris?
March 9, 2011 8:59 AM   Subscribe

From the windows of the train on my way into Paris from CDG, I noticed a few clusters of... shacks, I'd guess you'd call them, put together out of what looked like scrap building material-

corrugated iron, scraps of plywood, advertising boards, tyres holding the roofs down, etc. They were grouped together on unused strips of land next to the rail sidings. I know people were living there because there were makeshift chimneys with smoke coming out. I should have taken a photo but didn't think about it at the time.

Has anyone else noticed this? I'm just wondering if there's more information about these dwellings - who lives there, how they get by what laws and regulations affect them, how they deal with land owners, that sort of thing. Some of them look like they've been there for a while. I think it's interesting that I haven't noticed anything like these dwellings - at least not right out in the open - in other similarly-sized Western cities like London or New York.

I don't speak or read French but I'm happy to try to muddle through and French links with google translate.

Thanks!
posted by Wroksie to Society & Culture (7 answers total)
 
ANY French links, not AND French links.
posted by Wroksie at 9:02 AM on March 9, 2011


When I was in germany I saw many of these. I was told that they were small gardens where people would go on the weekends. I can't find any confirmation of this online though. Did you see them on a weekend, or was it in the middle of a workday (when perhaps one wouldn't expect many people to be there)?
posted by bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated at 9:13 AM on March 9, 2011


Could they be Roma camps?
posted by torisaur at 9:17 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


bessel functions seem unnecessarily complicated: "When I was in germany I saw many of these. I was told that they were small gardens where people would go on the weekends. I can't find any confirmation of this online though. Did you see them on a weekend, or was it in the middle of a workday (when perhaps one wouldn't expect many people to be there)"

You're thinking of allotments. I'm not sure they'd look so much like a shanty town or have smoke coming from chimneys though and the OP didn't mention vegetable patches or similar.
posted by turkeyphant at 9:18 AM on March 9, 2011


(there's a picture four rows down and to the left on the Google Image Search that looks like what you're describing)
posted by torisaur at 9:19 AM on March 9, 2011


These wikipedia entries on Bidonvilles, and poverty in France may be helpful.
posted by malocchio at 9:21 AM on March 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Milan has a pretty big one encampment/shanty town that you can see from the railway as you pull in from the South. Dunno if they were Roma or not but they've got those too. For the "horrors of shantytown" that is always painted of third world nations, the ones in the first world seem overlooked, at least here in the US.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 10:27 AM on March 9, 2011


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