Search This Blog

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Two Worlds Apart.

One thing I've noticed since I've been here in Paris is the amount of homeless people there are here.

I was walking home from class the other day in St Germain des Prés, which is one of the most upmarket areas in Paris. I noticed this man sitting across the road from an Emporio Armani store, with a plastic bag of jumpers and a bottle of wine in between his legs. He was "harassing" everyone that walked past him for food. Meanwhile, all around him were these expensive fashion shops, symbols of extreme opulance, Cartier, Prada, Armani, Gucci... Anyway, thought it was an interesting juxtaposition. I haven't managed to capture the situation very well with my camera but perhaps you can get a glimpse of a cold winter day in St Germain des Prés.


Robbie said...


"Which one of us is truly homeless?"

"you are. unless of course you construe the term 'home' so broadly that it it takes all comers, which would of course completely upset the notion of 'keeping house' in insolvency law."

I was walking near pere lachaise one evening with katie the last time i was in paris, and i walked past a homeless man, stading dead still in the middle of the footpath, head bowed, holding a sign: "j'ai faim" - and i could give him money, so he could eat, but i couldnt fix the problem, not even for that one person. talk about helplessness. Maybe you (plural) (stupid english) need to get calous and stop caring, simply because if you run the thought process through you cant actually do anything, so why try?

i'm not sure i agree with that.

I think those people do exist in australia, but its not socially acceptable for them to be on the streets. In france the homeless man or woman might get some money, or a sandwich, or a loaf of bread from the bakery when it shuts down for the night. In australia, he or she would get scornful glances, "get a job" and not much else.

But you're right, how can you help but be confronted?

Ahh i have competition law exam tomorrow - my last ever law exam. yes, 7 years later, and its finally over. Hence i'm writing you an epistle 19 hours out from the start date, and i could really use a run through 'misuse of market power' again, but hey, priorities are priorities.

A big *high five* on this tremedously classy procrastination device you've installed into your life. I'm seriously impressed, and had i had the knowledge or the foresight, or both, i would have bugged it and you, many times more.

Fiona said...


From years of living in opulance surrounded by poverty the question of "What can I do? What can be done?" is one I'm familiar with.

I decided that small acts of kindness (an orange, a boiled egg and a piece of bread, a smile) can be just as great as changing economic systems and establishing social support. For today is just as important as tomorrow.

Sometimes it is not about solving, just walking the journey. Just letting someone know that they are visable, whilst we work to demand change in the long-term.