The Whitest Place

It is Sunday morning, I am sitting in a café close to Porte de Clignancourt in the north of Paris. In a city this big people very naturally congregate according to their ethnicity, their profession, and their lifestyle. Hence you get the Chinese quarter (13th arrondissement), the financial district (La Défense), the gay quarter (le Marais), and so on.

The area around Porte de Clignancourt is poor, at least relative to the rest of Paris, and North African. Which makes this café a very special place here: it is a white island in a black area. It opened maybe two years ago, and quickly established itself as the new hip place to go. Young Parisians who never before ventured up here now take the metro line 4, which passes through Paris on a north-south axis and ends right in front of said café. Outside the station there are panhandlers and people who sell you corn, heated on makeshift mobile ovens made of shopping carts (I am not making this up). You pass them and enter the café where the young and beautiful get together to eat brunch for 20 € per person.

I love this place. Music is good, food is nice. But the contrast between inside and outside gets me every time.