Eastern Paris Neighborhood News: February Edition

A new record store in town; the Night of Solidarity; a good news for bookstore Les Mots à la Bouche, and a certain lack of love for the new version of Place Gambetta — your neighborhood news from Paris Lights Up!

CULTURE. Attention Vinyl Lovers: Four years after opening its doors, Supersonic — an essential venue for rock and pop music fans alike — has just launched its own record store! Located in the same building at 9 Rue Biscornet, a few steps away from Bastille, Supersonic Records specializes in rock, indie, and pop vinyls. Visitors can also find specialized press and fanzines dedicated to alternative music.

CITY PLANNING. The renovation of the Place Gambetta seems to win unanimous support… against it! It did not take long for political figures to follow on residents’ heels. Frédérique Calandra — the 20th arrondissement’s incumbent mayor, this time a candidate for the presidential party En Marche — accuses the central administration of “turning a beautiful idea into a catastrophe.” “Never again!” proclaims a campaign leaflet, a far cry from the enthusiasm displayed on the local city hall’s website a few months prior. Also denouncing the Place as a “result that is not up to the residents’ expectations,” and a “botched consultation in the arrondissement”, Éric Pliez — the local candidate for Anne Hidalgo’s platform Paris en Commun — also calls to rethink the project. This rebuke is a perfect opportunity for other political rivals to criticize both the central and local mairies, neither wanting to be held responsible for the dubious refurbishment. Danielle Simonnet, the candidate for Décidons Paris, described the situation as a “sketch” — her movement is also calling for an improved version of the square. Despite the differing promises of the competing rival lists, one thing is certain: the Place Gambetta should soon be subjected to a second renovation!

LGBTQ+ PARIS. A solution has finally been found to save Les Mots à la Bouche. The iconic gay bookstore of Le Marais has been subject to the threat of rising rent in a neighborhood now rife with retail chains. The historical address will relocate in April to 37 Rue Saint-Ambroise (11th arrondissement), a few steps away from Square Maurice Gardette.

SOLIDARITY. Following the evacuation of the camps at Porte d’Aubervilliers and Porte de la Villette, families of refugees have been hosted at the Gymnase des Pyrénées (20th arrondissement) since the beginning of the month. Neighbors have already proven generous, yet some donations are still welcome: clothes for women and men, shoes, diapers, snacks for kids, and even strollers.

HERITAGE. La Flèche d’Or, former train station turned 1990’s concert venue, may soon find a new purpose. November of last year saw a collective of associations occupying the Rue de Bagnolet site to protest its two years of vacancy; the police later used tear gas to evacuate the crowd, following complaints from the venue’s current owner Keys Asset Management. The real estate group has since partnered with elected representatives at the 20th arrondissement city hall and the local association La Flèche Dort to launch a call for applications for temporary occupation of the site until October 2020. The winning project will be announced on February 15th.

HOMELESSNESS. Following its third edition on January 30th, the first results of the Night of Solidarity have been released. The number of people spending the night on the streets of the capital totaled 3,552 — a dreadful number, similar to last year’s results, still much worse than 2018. According to the numbers unveiled on January 11th, close to 12% of the homeless population in Paris are women. Meanwhile, dozens of thousands of Parisian apartments remain vacant.

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