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It’s not the first time I write about how I enjoy hanging out in Parisian playgrounds (see posts from 2005 and 2007). They’re small to middle sized and every neighbourhood seem to have one. So, if you’re looking for a green and shady place to relax for a while and observe the local way of life, a playground can be recommended. Earlier, I haven’t paid much attention to the standard of the equipment, but this time I quickly noticed that all the parks in this part of the town have got new, exciting and very varied games for the different age sets. Perhaps this is part of an renovation of the public spaces in the Northeastern and poorer districts of Paris?
Parc de Belleville for instance, has always had very well kept and diverse flower beds compared to comparable spots in Oslo’s poorer neighbourhoods, but now they’ve planted flowers and plans all over it – presumably in relation to the biodiversity plan of the city of Paris. (I see on the municipal net site that Père Lachaise is participating from the 20th Arrondissement, but they haven’t written anything about Parc de Belleville yet.) But I presume also as part of an over-all refurbishment of this part of the city. Anyway, back to the playgrounds.
It happens that our local playground is the same one I wrote about in 2007, and I can only repeat what I wrote about diversity at that time. The first friend my son made in France, was a little French Japanese girl with a nice Japanese bug on wheels which she swapped for a while for Leo’s excavator. Another day, Leo talked to himself as he played with cars side by side some older children. One of the north African looking ones asked what language he spoke, and he was so amazed to hear that it was something called Norwegian that he had to boast of his knowledge in Chinese. Whereupon he said something and the Chinese looking boy present (who were even a little older, and not too nice towards the smaller ones) laughed acknowledgingly. Today, he played around two girls where one of them was bilingual in German. And so on. The playground bears witness both to the increasing gentrification and the high Chinese presence in the area, in addition to the North African Muslim as well as Jewish immigration. An many others.
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