France soldiers on patrol

Islam and the French Republic

You only really know Paris when you know the Métro. When you recognise the Roma rapping on La Ligne 13, when you know without needing to look which stations let the sleeping bags in at night, when you get that instinctive feel for the hour the homeless beggars do their rounds up and down the carriages — “Mesdames, Messieurs.”

You only really know Paris when you know the spots where women look behind themselves at night. Get out quickly from the tunnels at Stalingrad — watch out for your bag, they say, that’s where the Eritreans are sleeping. Don’t get yourself a commute on La Ligne 13, they joke, it may be light blue but it goes from Romania to the banlieue end of hell. And with this ticket this is where I am going. I have to see the new France for myself to ask: is this country in danger? This is not just any old question to me.

This is about my family.

  • ontario john

    The future of Sunny Ways Canada.

  • canminuteman

    I have a widowed aunt and cousins living in Paris. They are expat Brits who have been there for thirty odd years. I have visited several times and spent weeks wandering around the city. My aunt then lived in a very fashionable area and it was really beautiful. I have also been a bit off the beaten tourist track and it is a third world dump. When I was last there the touristy areas where still very pleasant, but one thing that struck me were the huge number of police on the streets. I have never seen anything like it anywhere else. This was 15 years ago so it has got to be multiple times worse now.