Château Rouge, where I lived for 2 years, 20 years ago

I just can’t believe it has been 20 years.

After staying for a couple of months in a company-supplied apartment near the Château de Vincennes area (Southeast), I moved to 13, Rue de Suez near the Château Rouge métro (Northeast). It was, and is, an African and North African neighbourhood. People I worked with were relieved every day that I arrived (late) for work – they were worried I wouldn’t survive. While it was not what you think Paris is, it was a safe area – I never had any trouble and never saw a fight. The worst that happened, happened once: my roommate Yasmeen was whistled at.

I lived on the fifth floor – no elevator. I actually exercised for a bit (the Canadian Army 5BX method) and was so energetic that I ran up the stairs and sometimes found myself on the sixth floor!

I took a walk around the neighbourhood, and after 20 years, just like the rest of Paris, some things are the same and some things have changed. I’ve done this so you don’t have to.

There is a story about Oscar Wilde living (and dying, I think) in a hotel near here. I’ll have to do some research on this.

The entrance to métro Château Rouge, which I used every day for two years. There used to be a boulangerie here where I would buy two croissants every day for my journey to work. Because I was a regular customer, the croissant girl would slip an extra free croissant in the bag. When I said I didn’t need a third croissant, she would say to give it to the homeless – but I never found the homeless up at that hour!

The entrance to métro Château Rouge


The launderette I frequented is no more – it was very convenient, where I could have my clothes washed and folded for an unreasonable fee, though it seemed they beat the clothes to a pulp. It was the only launderette in which I saw someone reading the Holy Quran. Next to the launderette is this little resto, where one could find the cheapest couscous in the city.

au rendez-vous des amis


The market street, Rue Dejean

The market street, Rue Dejean


13, Rue de Suez. Tug on my coat-sleeve and I’ll tell you about a fire that broke out in the apartment next to mine.

13, Rue de Suez


Navel is an Indian resto on Rue de Suez (I can’t believe it’s still here). I was so excited to find an Indian restaurant five steps from home, but soon found that the Marks & Spencer frozen Indian meals tasted better!

Navel, specialités curry et tandoori


Shopfronts are quite different here (many are closed on Mondays).


Chez Willy & Fatou

Suez Bazar

Viande à Gogo


Two things that have changed: every shop is either a hair extension place or a mobile phone store.

Blvd Barbès is Mobile Central

Hair extensions


7 thoughts on “Château Rouge, where I lived for 2 years, 20 years ago”

  1. Francis, you realize that your old neighborhood could be St. Michel! By the way, is that a KFC I see there….I bet it wasn’t there 20 years ago. How times change.

  2. Yes, it does look a little like St. Michel! And to realize Debi thought the song lyrics from “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)” that mention Blvd. St. Michel was about her St. Michel!

  3. Francis, your photos are beautiful. And it is absolutely killing me to look at them. You are 16 years ahead of me as an ex-Paris expat. Do you understand? Being there would be bittersweet but wonderful. Observing from afar is just too much.

    1. Nancy, you have to come back! Paris fits like a glove, once you’ve tried it, it’s easy to wriggle yourself into it again and again. You have to keep the friends that have apartments here – it’ll be a lot easier to slip and out!

      Thanks for your comment.

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