Cergy-Pontoise, France
49° 0' N 2° 1' E
Mar 20, 2008 20:02
Distance 452km

Text written in: English

L'ami de mon amie: the last of the Francophobias

Ever since I first moved to France seven years ago, I have had what I call my "francophobias" - little things which make up daily life which I didn't feel comfortable doing and avoided, for example, going to the swimming pool, ordering a coffee at the bar in a tabac, etc. About two years ago, I decided it was high time to work on them and tick them off.

On the 20th, I completed the last one: a tour of Cergy-Pontoise, which is quite random. The story is that in French litterature class in 2000, we studied the film "L'ami de mon amie" by Rohmer, which is the story of three vacuous petit-bourgeois white suburbanites and the petty love-triangle which forms between them. The main theme of the film is the influence the urban environment can have on inhabitants. 

Cergy-Pontoise is a "ville nouvelle", built from the 70s onward. You may know that I am fascinated by:

A) Urban planning

B) Modernist architecture

and C) Failed public projects

(this may enlighten some as to a few reasons we've chosen Montréal as our new home).

ALL OF THIS TO SAY: I have always intended to visit Cergy-Pontoise following the film. But upon discovering the harsh realities of suburban Parisian life... I never made it out. Not to mention the haugtiness regarding the "petite et grande couronne" one inherits with a 75 postcode.

So I went out there with my dear friend Courtney. And we had a marvelous time. And I did note that Cergy-Pontoise is definitely no longer (if ever it was) the preserve of the stereotype portrayed in the film...

Photos / videos of "L'ami de mon amie: the last of the Francophobias":

[image] I liked the interplay of colours and forms between the ad and the building, and the juxtaposition of the imagery against the reality I was quite pleased with the effect I achieved here [image] [image] [image] [image] [image] The Prefecture Effective public space? One of the few attractive buildings/landscapes in the 70s zone [image] [image] [image] Faux heritage in the Cergy Pleasure Port area. Faux heritage is my most detested architecture. The Cergy Pleasure Port. [image] An interesting panel outlining the development of Cergy-Pontoise by decade The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village The original Cergy village (Mairie) The original Cergy village The original Cergy village La Grande Axe La Grande Axe La Grande Axe La Grande Axe La Grande Axe - note the grandiose buildings (close up follows) La Grande Axe - note the grandiose buildings (close up follows) La Grande Axe - note the grandiose buildings (close up follows) La Grande Axe - note the grandiose buildings (close up follows) Over-done Versailles inspired social housing at the top of the grande axe. Check out the trash in the windows. This is where the petitbourgeois lived in the film. Over-done Versailles inspired social housing at the top of the grande axe. Check out the trash in the windows. This is where the petitbourgeois lived in the film. Over-done Versailles inspired social housing at the top of the grande axe. Check out the trash in the windows. This is where the petitbourgeois lived in the film. Over-done Versailles inspired social housing at the top of the grande axe. Check out the trash in the windows. This is where the petitbourgeois lived in the film. The Cergy Saint Christophe Station featuring "the largest clock in Europe" Run down 20 year old over-done Versailles inspired social housing at the top of the grande axe. Run down 20 year old over-done Versailles inspired social housing at the top of the grande axe. Run down 20 year old over-done Versailles inspired social housing at the top of the grande axe. Run down 20 year old over-done Versailles inspired social housing at the top of the grande axe. The sign reads "no ball games" The largest clock in Europe Courtney at play The 90s zone (the most bland: very symbolic of the decade itself)