Travel

Multifaceted Paris: Chinatown in the city on the Seine

It is not a secret that one of the biggest and organized national diasporas around the world is Chinese. There are entire housing estates, populated by immigrants (and their descendants) from China, in almost all major cities in Europe, Asia, Australia and America. And Paris is not an exception in this question.

Perhaps, someone might say: the Chinese in Paris? It can not be true! However, in reality, the French capital is a home for many immigrants from China.

All began in the early last century when the French authorities had invited about a hundred and forty thousand Chinese workers to restore the country’s economy with a shortage of own workforce. More than three thousand people from them decided to stay and live in France and created the first Chinese diaspora. Most of these immigrants lived in Parisian quarter near the old Gare de Lyon, which is nothing more than a monument of architecture today.

With time the number of the diaspora has increased and the Chinese began to look for new places to live. So the second Chinatown in Paris was founded rather quickly. It is in the area of streets au Maire, des Gravilliers, du Temple. Intensive settlement of the quarter began in the thirties of the twentieth century due to one Chinese merchant who had came from Italy and decided to organize a production of leather goods with his fellows. So when you buy, for example, a purse with such inscription as “made in Paris”, there is a chance that it was produced in one of the many workshops, where people from this Asian country work.

One more Chinatown in Paris appeared in 1950. It happened after the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and Vietnam, and the leadership of the last state decided to naturalize all Chinese people who had live in Vietnam at that time. A big part of them went to Paris searching a new life. Thousands of refugees began to settle on rue Monsieur le Prince (the 6th District) and near Square Maubert. In general, according to some data a quarter million of ethnic Chinese came to Paris from Vietnam, who also settled working-class areas in the 13th district of Paris. Also we must admit that these people made a serious contribution in the development of this part of the French capital. The main activity place of the Parisian Chinese is quarter Belleville, located at the intersection of the 20th, 19th, 11th and 10th district of Paris.

Gradually, the Chinese began to assimilate and other cities and towns of France, spreading their culture on a large area of the country. Today, almost every major city in French provinces its own Chinatown with unique colors.

If you are traveling over France or just visiting Paris, we recommend you to spend some time and visit Chinatowns, where you will see unique colors of this oriental culture.