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CultureShock! Paris: A Survival Guide to Customs and by Frances Gendlin

By Frances Gendlin

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Additional info for CultureShock! Paris: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette

Sample text

Along its banks were workers’ housing, cheap shops, squalid nightspots... and crime. If Parisians today complain about the area’s homogeneous atmosphere and its impersonal apartment blocks, they have forgotten the cholera epidemics of the mid-1800s and the open sewer that the Bièvre had become, finally covered over only around 1910. The arrondissement’s eastern edge flows along the Seine, across from Bercy. Here, several imposing edifices mark a rather colourless area. There is the ultra modern four-building library complex, the Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière and the busy Gare d’Austerlitz.

This is ‘old money’ Paris. The presence of the Assemblée Nationale, UNESCO and the area’s most famous official resident—the French prime minister—at the Hôtel Matignon, makes this the safest arrondissement in the city. Living here is extremely agreeable, with some parts seeming like a suburb in the city centre. In general, this is an open and airy arrondissement, with its widest border along Overview 35 the Seine and several long green stretches that bolster the feeling of luxury. The Champ-de-Mars, the longest grassy promenade in Paris, is a charming park stretching from the École Militaire to the Eiffel Tower, and the Esplanade des Invalides has a welcome green strip down to the river.

There is the ultra modern four-building library complex, the Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière and the busy Gare d’Austerlitz. With new housing being built and planned, this is becoming a new quartier, the Seine-Rive-Gauche, and galleries are already starting to move in. Currently, however, as one heads into the arrondissement, it is the broad avenue des Gobelins that has the lively atmosphere and residential popularity of the 5e, its neighbour to the north. 42 CultureShock! Paris Along with the seemingly ubiquitous apartment towers built in the 1970s are hidden enclaves of the old, charming Paris.

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