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Day 33: CNY in Paris

It’s the eve of Chinese New Year. Traditionally, family reunions/dinners are held today and downstairs, I think there’s a party somewhere, with cheesy Alan Tam music on. A number of Chinese residents (and friends) have been going in and out of the corridor where the music is blasting out loudly. I debated gate-crashing it, but as a newbie, it’s probably frowned upon to be quite that forward. Never mind, I’ll be getting my New Year dinner fix tomorrow with my friends back in Dublin.

There are 3 Chinatown areas in Paris. The largest of them is in the 13th arrondissement, mostly concentrated in around Avenue de Choisy, Avenue d’Ivry and their environs. These streets are currently lined on both sides with large greeting banners and lanterns in red, with the Chinese community flocking the major Asian supermarkets to complete their shoppings for the festivities, from food such as roast pig – yup, the entire animal – and nian gao to decorative items including New Year picture and plum blossom. There will also be a Chinese New year parade this weekend, which alas, I won’t be here to enjoy. Quel dommage.

The second Chinatown is in Belleville and it is actually a lot more diverse and multi-cultural here with a relatively high number of African ethnic groups also living here. A third and much smaller Chinatown can be found in the 3rd arrondissement, near Rue des Gravilliers. They each will also have their own parades to welcome the Year of the Rabbit.

For a complete programme to CNY celebration in Paris, check out this link (it’s in English) from the Mairie de Paris. Happy Chinese New Year!

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