Postcard from Les Halles

Dalrymple writes that not long ago, the Paris newspaper the Monde published an article ‘inquiring why so many of the young people from the dispiriting banlieues (suburbs around Paris populated largely by blacks and people of North African ­descent) did not venture into the centre of Paris much beyond Les Halles, a huge concrete commercial centre. They said they did not feel at ease in the centre of Paris, they preferred Les Halles because it felt more American — by which they meant pop music throbbing everywhere, and shops selling ghetto outfits with baseball caps to wear backwards and sideways.’

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