Probably the most unlikely place I’ve visited in Paris so far and certainly one of the most interesting. Although it is hard to list everything that is going on there, I will give it a try. It is a shame that I can only include one picture!
Les Grands Voisins is above all a social project, located in an abandoned hospital. It brings together social housing, NGOs, artists and campers, because amongst the many things it does, it also houses the only Parisian intra-muros campsite.
When you enter the area it feels like you’ve left Paris: its spacious and somewhat neglected buildings are decorated with self-made art. Most of the buildings are reserved for housing women, young adults and immigrant workers – adding up to 600 persons in total. Just next to that you will find artists doing their job and various people having outdoor meetings – a rather unique mix.
Do not hesitate to talk with the people here: all the people I talked to were very happy to tell me about their work and seemed to be rather proud about their part in this unique project. You can also visit an art installation inspired by Russian steam baths, that aims to be social pressure cooker (‘Banya’, only open Thu – Sat evening).
Les Grands Voisins has a bar that is open from Wednesday till Sunday, a really nice second hand shop, and a plant shop that sells original plants, but only during the weekend, which is the best time to go!