Meeting up with friends in little Africa, Paris: seeing the hidden ugliness

After that wonderful night of strolling through Paris, the morning after was hard. The time difference really messed me up. It was like getting up at midnight my time. Well, still had to fight through it. One of the down sides of constant travel, your body has to get used to the time zone changes. If it doesn’t, you are in for a rude awakening.

Farmer’s market in little Africa Taken by Hugo Morel

Walking like a zombie, I met up with my local friends. They wanted to show me around little Africa in Paris. One of my friends was half Senegalese and half french. So, she promised to show me how the Senegalese eat their food. Of course, we ended meeting up at the local KFC. Since that’s what the French think about Americans. McDonald’s and KFC are jokingly claimed as the American embassies.

Another shot of the farmer’s market taken by Hugo Morel

As we were on our way to find the Senegalese restaurant, they showed me the real life of immigrants in Paris. Paris is not a nice place to live, if you are from one of the former French colonies. Life is rough in Paris. They told me employment is difficult for immigrants. Got to see a side of Paris, not many tourists have access to.

Little Africa logo brought to you by google

Now, as we were going toward the restaurant, we finally came across some American posters. In Paris, people want to speak English like they do in Wall Street, New York City. If they only knew, how little English is spoken there and how many curse words are used instead. This experience was such an awesome culture exchange. They got to learn about the USA and I was exposed to a new side of the french capital.

The poster I was mistaken as a racist advertisement taken by Hugo Morel

We started walking towards the Senegalese restaurant and we noticed this poster. At first we were mistaken at the time as it being a black face racist advertisement. I was corrected. However, I still noticed the undertone racism that goes on in France. It was like connecting the dots. For a country that has only one race, you can’t help but notice the hypocrisy. Inequality, still goes on strongly here. Even, if “race” is just the human race in France on paper. From the gypsies to the immigrants of the former french colonies, people are discriminated. Hope one day, people can stop seeing the differences and end discrimination. We can all learn from each other and help build a better world for the next generation. That’s my wish for humanity. This is why I encourage others to travel. You will learn to understand others different to you. Eventually, you will learn to love humanity. Even, if we are very flawed.

Ps. We never got to eat at the Senegalese restaurant. It was opened when called them but closed, when we got there. According to my half Senegalese friend, they didn’t feel like being open on a Sunday. 😆 Apparently, Senegalese people change their minds like race cars change tires. She did warned me though.

Thank you for reading. Much love and safe travels!

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16 thoughts on “Meeting up with friends in little Africa, Paris: seeing the hidden ugliness

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  1. That poster you reference is a skin mask as in a beauty mask. You put the cream/formula on, it dries, you peel it off and it helps either cleanse or moisturize the face. It isn’t a racist thing.

  2. Sure. I’ve used similar masks that are green clay. They dry and you either wash it off or some you peel off. Personally, I’d question what was in something that you can peel off 🙂

  3. Indeed, immigrants from former French colonies have it rough in terms of finding work, being treated fairly, and even integrating into French society. I have tried Senegalese food in Paris, and it’s really good. Should you ever go back, definitely try it!

    1. Nice! No, I don’t have family in Paris. I’ve been living in France for four years now, so I’ve been to Paris many times and have insight into French culture. I’ll also be in Paris later this month, and I hope to return to try Senegalese food likewise. Enjoy your stay!

      1. It’s been an adventure, but for the most part, I enjoy living in France. If you’re in Paris, definitely go early to Waly-Fay Senegalese restaurant (or otherwise reserve in advance). There are lots of hidden gems in the 18th and 19th arrondissements, tons of cool speakeasies in the 10th, and definitely explore other parts of France (e.g. Normandy, Alsace, Lille, which are easy trips from Paris). Can’t wait to hear about your trip!

  4. I love Paris. Spent a long week there with my oldest daughter in 2007. We enjoyed it so much! We also had a rough time finding a restaurant open on a Sunday.
    I’d love to go back with hubby but I don’t think we would find the ‘new’ Paris as wonderful as I did back in 2007. My friends tell me Paris has changed A LOT! And as I can see, it has.
    I am a child of immigrant parents. Not even till my dad’s death at age 92 did he ever feel welcome here in America (he first came to America at age 16). In retrospect, I wish he had never left his homeland. I would have loved growing up on the Adriatic Sea in a little tiny fishing village from where my dad came from. Who knew?

  5. Well, that face mask sure caused a stir! 😬 Agree that there is a lot of racism in France, and that Paris behind the romantic image is a tough city for immigrants.

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