Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Recent Visit to the Goutte d'Or

Last week, I had the opportunity to guide Professor Saladin Ambar of Lehigh University through the Goutte d’Or, the African/Arab quarter of the 18th arrondissement that is often referred to as Château Rouge and Barbès. The visit provided an opportunity for me to see how the renovation of the area is progressing.

As increasing numbers of dilapidated buildings are destroyed, temporary gardens are cropping up to fill the empty spaces.

Common Garden at rue des Poissoniers
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Mobile Garden at rue Polonceau
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New buildings throughout the neighborhood are destined to provide social housing as well as commercial space.

New Construction on rue Myrha
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The mosque at the corner of rue des Poissoniers and rue Polonceau and the adjacent building on rue Polonceau are scheduled to be demolished.

Mosque - Façade rue des Poissoniers
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Info on Demolition of the Mosque and Adjacent Building
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The prestigious auction house Drouot has moved into the neighborhood. Located at 64, rue Doudeauville, this site is dedicated to the sale of furniture and “contemporary objects.”

Drouot Auction House
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In my opinion, this is a sure sign that the neighborhood will eventually become upscale.

The cobblestones of rue Dejean were replaced in 2006; unfortunately, the arches that formerly marked the entry of the Marché Dejean were never reinstalled.

Arches at Marché Dejean
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A couple of my favorite places have gotten a “face lift”! The fishmonger, Les Embruns, now has a new awning.

Les Embruns - Fishmonger
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The Cameroonian restaurant Mini Resto has adopted a new name and painted its façade.

New name and façade for Mini Resto
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Professor Ambar and I visited the gallery / boutique Eccomusée, where we found an eclectic collection of African masks, Tuareg jewelry, portraits of retired residents of the quartier, two photography exhibits, and other miscellaneous items.

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Monique Y. Wells and Prof. Saladin Ambar
Photo courtesy of Prof. Saladin Ambar

Signs that announce new construction in this neighborhood bear the slogan (in small letters at the right of the orange stripe) “Votre quartier change” – “Your quarter is changing.”

Votre quartier change!
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This is an understatement! I predict that within the next five years, the area will be virtually unrecognizable, particularly with regard to its inhabitants. If you are interested in seeing the neighborhood before it is completely transformed, I recommend that you visit it soon.


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