La Marais

BY: ELLE WALLS

I spent the afternoon walking around a community called La Marais with AP photographer Michael Sawyer. The neighborhood started out mainly as a Jewish community, but today it’s also a gay community.

After we stopped to eat delicious fallafels, we walked the streets of the neighborhood. It was interesting to see the two groups co-exist on the streets. The first area we photographed was a synagogue and a lot of Jewish men in the street. I didn’t see the mingling of the two groups and started to wonder what we were doing there.

As we walked up another street, I started to see small boutiques with beautiful clothing. I fell in love with the area and immediately decided this is where I want to live. Michael found a store that sold men’s underwear called L’homme invisible. The shopkeeper told Michael that because he wasn’t Jewish, gay Jewish men didn’t buy from him. I assumed there must be some friction between the two groups, and the mingling we heard Dr. Bill talk about was actually not friendly.

On another street we found a Jewish woman who worked in a lovely boutique. She said there isn’t any hatred between the two groups, and they co-exist nicely. She also told us that the area was historic and one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Paris. This made me wonder why the gay community was first attracted to the area. We ran out of time, so I wasn’t able to really get a better understanding on this.

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2 Responses to La Marais

  1. Dr Bill Silcock says:

    Elle — You picked up some interesting observations
    Pertinent!

  2. cschwalbe says:

    When you “parachute” into an area, you have to be a quick study.

    Keep in mind that you’ll hear different versions from different people. That’s one of the reasons why you have to talk to many sources.

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