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Journal entry 1: March 3, 2020

Hurrying by Josué Gimel

It's just before 8 AM in the morning.

As I walk out of my apartment, I meet Valentine, my neighbor who teaches at primary school. She brings her daughter to the municipal nursery before reaching the school where she teaches and where she must be before 8 AM. Lessons start at 8:30 AM. The school is at Place des Fêtes, a working-class area of the 19th district. Valentines rides her electric bike to get there.  

She is the third person I know in the neighbourhood who managed to get a free place at the municipal nursery. Most public nurseries are full in France, especially in big cities and that makes huge inequalities among families. Especially for poor mothers who cannot afford a private nurse.

As I walk towards the subway entrance, I notice that there are more people entering the station than people going out of it. I will check the precise figures one of these days. This can be explained by the fact that this zone is mostly residential. Most people go to the city center to work using the “métropolitain” or “métro”. However, the neighborhood hosts two major public buildings where about 4000 people work. On the south, Paris region healthcare fund and on the north the national pension fund. Recently, the very north of the neighborhood was completely transformed and old warehouses alongside the canal were renovated to be a part of a new business district. A new railway station was also created there and a pretty high-standard residential zone. This renewal is part of a metropolitan strategy to transform all residual parts of Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis industrial neighborhoods (GPRU). This part of the neighborhood, pretty insulated, looks like another town and is not very well integrated to the rest.