Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Tamils of Paris

Little Jafna Paris
Originally uploaded by malias.

In the 10th arrondissement, between metros Gare de Nord and La Chapelle you will find Paris’ Tamil community which numbers around 40,000 people. This area has mistakenly been referred to as “Little India” but the vast majority of the Asians in the neighbourhood are Tamils from Sri Lanka. “Little Jafna” is the more appropriate name for the area.

Most of the Tamils came to France during the 1980s to escape the civil war raging in Sri Lanka. Many were granted refugee status. However, rules have been tightened since 1991. The neighbourhood is an interesting one to explore. Most of it is situated on and around Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis, Paris 75010. If you want to buy a sari, bollywood DVDs (normally sub-titled in English) or souvenirs from the Asian sub-continent then this is the place to head to. It’s also the best place in Paris to get a curry and vegetarians need not be aware since many Tamils being Hindu are themselves vegetarians.

You can also visit the area's Hindu Temple, Sri Manicka Vinayakar, 72 Rue Philippe de Girard paris 75010 open every day between 9:30 am and 8:30 pm. Visitors welcome. And once a year during the festival of Ganesha Chathurthi which falls between the middle of August and the middle of September. The highlight of which is the Chariot procession.

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