Paris (2): The adventures

May 2, 2024

by Scott JIAXIN

Whilst in France, I had a mission: to test every kebab joint I could find in the neighbourhood. Ever since my installation in my host family, I started my meticulous research, and I am glad to say that I’ve tried out pretty much every single Arab/Turkish fast food place in the eastern side of the 14ème arrondissement. Every occasional lunch break, I carry out my mission (if time permits). The winner, in fact, came early in the game: it was a shawarma joint named Feyrouz, right beside the APA office. While the prices aren’t the highlight, the taste and the heft of the ingredients stuffed inside each sandwich was well worth the visit. I think I might have been their most popular customer for a few weeks or so.


I had all of these little adventures that I initiated when I was in Paris. It was a wonderful opportunity to discover what the city has to offer. But even better, I got to get outside of Paris! Whether it was APA’s trip to Marseille, my host family’s trip to Normandy, or meeting my local friends in the parisian neighbourhoods. 


I remember dedicating one entire day to supporting one of my favourite football teams: Paris Saint. Germain. I travelled two times during the morning across Paris to shop in the two PSG boutiques in France before going to a PSG match at 20.00 pm. While the atmosphere was electrifying and I did my best in incarnating the PSG fan, it was a rather lukewarm match which ended in a draw, and I will never forget how it ended: at the sound of the whistle, the entire stadium erupted in a collective groan and everyone stood up, frustrated with a performance that could have been much better.



Another day was dedicated to north african street food, a few days before my departure from Morocco, so as to have a better idea of what to expect when I would be there. It got off to a disappointing start: I was absolutely enchanted by a huge slice of Moroccan pizza which had no seasoning and was slightly undercooked. Maybe that justified the price of 3 euros. But, I feasted afterwards. Baklava, Couscous, dates, almond pastries: I scurried along all of the boutiques I could find in the 11ème arrondissement and the region of Bastille to satisfy my palette.

Or one of the first days when I was in Paris. Coincidentally, there was a flea market right next to where I stayed, and I profited this moment to bargain in French, practise the language, and shop for interesting items that were really not expensive. Feeling satisfied with a big jacket and a small necklace that I bought for less than 30 euros, I decided to go to another market, where a famous tiktoker that I followed had his sandwich stand. I was disappointed when I found out that it was closed after nearly travelling for 1 hour, but I did get a nice and hearty Sudanese meal in the parisian suburbs to make up for it.


Sometimes I saw what I learned in class in the city itself. While I was travelling in one of those interminable metro lines, I couldn’t help but notice the names of famous french people or battles that were transformed into the names of metro stations. While in Château Rouge, an extremely diverse market which welcomes immigrants from all over the world, especially Africa, I saw old Algerian men dressed in their traditional outfits, indicative of the first waves of north-African migration in the region who worked in the automobile or the textile industries. Or my favourite observation: The Cathedral of Saint Denis in a neighbourhood characterised by a large percentage of Muslim and working-class habitants. The juxtaposition has always striked me as a case exemplary of the contradictions that run through French society.

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