Planned Epicurean District in Paris Raises the Specter of Gentrification

A new corridor planned as a haven for local gourmet food in the quiet Haut Marais neighborhood of Paris concerns residents with the threat of gentrification.
August 23, 2014, 5am PDT | Maayan Dembo | @DJ_Mayjahn
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As reported by Liz Alderman of the New York Times, a wealthy French entrepreneur Mr. Cédric Naudon "snapped up about half a neighborhood north of the Marais, one of the city’s trendiest districts, with plans to restyle it into a sleek epicurean village called La Jeune Rue, or Young Street, dedicated to farm-fresh gastronomy and the culture of chic."

Although Parisians are pleased to see life emerge in a quiet and dead neighborhood, "the redevelopment has also touched a nerve among residents who worry that Mr. Naudon, with his deep pockets and taste for high design, will turn the area into the latest in a string of bohemian bourgeoisie enclaves that have sprung up around Paris, driving the working and middle classes ever farther out."

Indeed, according to Anne Clerval, an associate professor at the Université Paris-Est, "the essence of Paris has hardly disappeared, [but] property prices have jumped an average of 165 percent in 20 years, with a 30 percent surge in the last five. The impact has been striking, cutting Paris’s working-class population to 27 percent from more than 40 percent over the same period."

However, French authorities are insuring the project through the state-backed public investment bank, claiming the district will create more than 200 jobs and support local farmers.

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Published on Saturday, August 9, 2014 in New York Times
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