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Jul 26 2010

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No escaping the World Cup

from-place-daligre4(by guest blogger Andrew McRae)

The night before this was taken, the crowd spilled out into the street from La Grille, as the French football team played its first match on the opening day of the World Cup. The French fans didn’t seem too downcast by the drawn result with Uruguay, but of course at that time they didn’t know what was in store for them. Later in the tournament, drinkers at La Grille were much more subdued – quietly angry, perhaps – as they watched the large TV in the bar.

La Place d’Aligre is in what used to be a working class district of Paris, a kilometre or so east of the Bastille, and although it is now quite trendy it still has some rough edges. These can be seen in the market space every day except Monday, when a lot of stalls selling mainly used clothing, books and bric-a-brac open up, the stock having been kept overnight locked in the numerous graffiti-covered vans that seem permanently parked around the perimeter of this circular Place. Numerous homeless men and boisterous alcoholics also emerge from who knows where, but seem to disappear again when the market closes at about 1300 hrs. For some reason undiscoverable to me, they liked to congregate below the overhang of the large apartment block in which I was staying. At the back against the red-roofed building and in Rue d’Aligre itself, a large fruit and vegetable market attracts buyers from a wide area. The large, squat building with the red roof is the site of the covered marché Beauvau-Saint Antoine, which is a bit more expensive but contains some excellent charcuteries and cheese shops.

On the horizon, of course, is the Eiffel Tower, and closer the parish church of Saint-Antoine des Quinze-Vingts, against the sunset and the stormy clouds.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.escapetoparis.com/2010/07/no-escaping-the-world-cup/

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