Paris Will Be Your Child’s Teacher; Are You Cool Enough To Keep Up?

by bria4123 on February 15, 2012


It hit me during my first walk in Paris–it’s more global and less French than it used to be.

You can see many ethnic groups in an average shot at the Place des Vosges, but there were many places throughout the city where most people in view were black. Most seemed to be from West Africa. I’ve always enjoyed the exuberance and music of its traditional societies. African immigrants, and people from many other lands, are rejuvenating Paris, and adding cultural patterns that would have taxed Picasso’s imagination–and perhaps blown the mind of the British art historian Kenneth Clark. Come along for a snapshot of a few new things happening in Paris today.

I loved hearing Africans speak French. People in France have practically made a religion out of their language. Many words and expressions have multiple meanings. Speaking is thus more than stating facts; it often creates a poetic vibrancy that transcends all categories. It immerses you in life’s infinite richness. Many Africans spoke it with big and joyful voices that added even more exuberance to the tongue.

Many African women had some of the warmest eyes I ever saw–windows into beautiful hearts. When I returned home, a neighbor’s 7 year old son asked me if I saw the Black Madonna. “I saw a lot of black madonnas in Paris!”

I also encountered many other cultures in Paris. Every day, I found the traditional Parisian scenes enhanced by Algerian markets, Turkish restaurants, Indian streets, and East Asian neighborhoods.

Ernest Hemingway once said that Paris is a movable feast. All these new cultures add even more variety to Paris’ history of being one of the world’s greatest cultural crossroads.

Paris does have its ethnic tensions, but largely because France has a high unemployment rate. But as people from all over the world live together, new perspectives can open up. Paris has led the world in new visions before. You can read about the Eiffel Tower’s place in this tradition in a prior post. The city’s new cultural currents are well worth watching.

The next post will give you an example of the type of day you can have while exploring the new Paris.



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