Paris – Day 3

Bonjour à tous!

Our third day in France started nice and early at 8:45 am when we left the bustling city  and travelled on the RER to Bondy Blog in Bondy, a banlieue on the outskirts of Paris. We bundled up to fend off the cold winter and walked as quickly as possible to the train station, attempting to stay out of the biting wind. About an hour later, after a ride on the wrong train and a slightly confusing detour that had us all questioning where we were, we finally found ourselves at our destination. Bondy Blog was created by a Swiss journalist who covered he riots of 2005 in Clichy-Sous-Bois. We learned that the blog focuses on capturing events that occur in their banlieue through the eyes of those who live there rather than through the obscured lens of outside media.

We split into teams of three and headed down to the train station to try our own hand at journalism. Armed with video cameras and pre-written questions, we approached and interviewed men and women of varying ages about racism, religion, and discrimination in their communities (in French, of course). Assertiveness was the name of the game, and approaching strangers was no easy task, but after spending an hour continuously interviewing, and occasionally being turned down, each group had interviewed 11 people. We set back to Bondy Blog headquarters for a bite of pizza and to edit our footage into shorter videos. While going the the interviews, we noticed that some people wee unsure of how to answer questions becauseof the limited discussion in Paris about racism and religious discrimination, which Tara had told us about the previous day.

After a quick ride over to Clichy-Sous-Bois, we met in ACLEFEU headquarters to cook, eat, and speak with local mothers. They guided us through the steps to cook one of the mother’s favorite snack, sesame cookies. Once we had cleaned off the remaining sesame stuck between our fingers, we gathered around a large table to eat the snacks and enjoy numerous fascinating conversations. The mothers of ACLEFEU are all very stong, independent women. They shared incredible stories about their lives, and dispelled the stigma of crime and poverty that follows Clichy-Sous-Bois by stating that the banlieue is a community where everybody loves and stands by each other.

Then it was time for a true French meal at Gallete Café, crêpes! An evening of delicious food and boisterous conversation ensued, and we returned to the hotel with full stomachs, rosy cheeks, and a tired gleam in our eyes. We continue to learn more about Paris and the banlieues, as well as the many different people who live here, which helps enrich our minds everyday.

Photos to come tomorrow 🙂


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