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Around its large boulevards and train stations, the 10th district is African and Indian. But it's also typically French on the so-romantic Canal Saint-Martin.

It's located outside the Middle Ages Paris wall (notice the word Faubourg, i.e suburb, in street names) and inside the 18th century limit of Paris. You can see them in the map below:

_______________________________ Pl
    |\Boulevard Chapelle      /Stal
    | \       |              / \
    |  \  Gare|             /   \      
    |   \ Nord|            /C   \
    |    \    |           /a     \     19th
   F|     \  F|          /n      \
   b|      \ b| Gare    /a        \
   g|       \g| Est    /l         \
9th |        \| |     |            \
   P|        S\ |B     \S            \
   o|        a|\|d      \t            \
   i|        i| |        \.             \
   s|        n| |\        \M             \ Belleville
   s|        t| |S\        \a            /
   o|        -| |t \        \r         /
   n|        D| |r  \        \t      /
   i|        e| |a   \        \i   /
   è|        n| |s    \        \n/
   r|        i| |b     \       /
   e|        s| |.      \    /
      2nd            3rd

Everything in italics is outside the district. The 10th district is the 10th most populated district in Paris with 89,612 inhabitants in 1990. It's the 6th smallest district (2.89 km2).

Like a postcard

If you want to see Paris as you have seen in on your television, go to Canal Saint-Martin. The canal enters the district at Place Stalingrad and strolls gently to the south. It becomes underground just before leaving the district. You can cross it on a number of Venice-like bridges. The most famous cue in French cinema was pronounced by Arletty on one of these bridges in Marcel Carné's Hôtel du Nord 1. The hotel still exists on Quai de Jemmapes, but the one you can see in the movie is not the real one: it has been rebuilt in a studio, as well as the canal.

African hairdressers and the Indian town.

The rest of the district is very different. Many cars bring their noise and pollution through Boulevard de Strasbourg and Boulevard Magenta. The district hosts two major train stations. Gare de l'Est sends travelers to the suburbs and to East of France. Gare du Nord is one of the most important stations in France. Eurostar trains, which go to England and northern Europe, arrive there.

Boulevard de Strasbourg is the home of African hairdressers. You can have your hair cut for half the price you would pay everywhere else in Paris. Hotels are very cheap, too (and very gloomy).

Here you can also find a mini-Indian quarter in colourful Passage Brady, well worth a visit and a dinner. However, the real Indian town stands in the northern part of the district. It starts in rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis near Gare du Nord, and goes on well into the 18th district. There you will find more Indian food, sarees, jewels and videos than you could ever think of. Unless you have been to India, of course.

So the 10th district is a working (or unemployed) class district. Maybe that's one of the reason why President Chirac has installed his headquarters for the 2002 Presidential Campaign in rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin.

1: her man (Louis Jouvet) just said he needed a new atmosphere, which is correctly interpreted by Arletty as an attempt at leaving her. So she says: : "Atmosphère, atmosphère, est-ce que j'ai une gueule d'atmosphère ?" (Do I look like an atmosphere?)

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