How to describe the Grands Voisins, a place that changes every time I visit it? Although it is hard to list everything that is going on there, I will give it a try.
Les Grands Voisins is 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 behind and have entered Berlin. 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. Do not hesitate to talk with the people here: all the people I talked to were very happy to tell me about their work.
Les Grands Voisins has a bar that is open from Wednesday till Sunday, which started as a little squat but has quickly grown to be a popular hangout. The second hand shop is well visited and well priced. If you’re in Paris during the weekend, make sure to visit plant shop Mama Petula where I go to find an original plant, or just some inspiration. Also check the events on the Facebook page to see is anything interesting is going on during your visit.