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Jacobo Fernandez

La Goutte d'Or is a unique quarter, both popular and exotic


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Away from downtown Paris ? :

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Jacobo Fernandez

Follow the route up and down, up your desire.

Paris Ile-de-France as seen by...

Jacobo Fernandez

Paris Ile-de-France as seen by... Jacobo Fernandez

La Goutte d'Or is a unique quarter, both popular and exotic

Jacobo Fernandez, a native of Galicia, moved to Paris in 2006. He answered our questions in one of his favourite cafés, a stone's throw from his home in the Goutte d'Or quarter.

Tell us about your first stay in Paris Ile-de-France...

The first time was in 2001. I was really excited about being here... Of course, I went to visit all the well-known sights, like the Eiffel Tower. I wanted to see everything but as my visit was only for three days, it was a real race against the clock. To be sure I didn't miss anything important, I simply had to come back!

What was you perception of our destination before your came to live here permanently?

Paris sounded like music to my ears, a mythical city because of the films and literature. I was impregnated by Nouvelle Vague films, especially A Bout de Souffle and Jules et Jim. I also adored the Mano Solo song, Barbès-Clichy, and I imaged Paris as a bohemian city that attracted artists...

Has your perception of Parisian life changed in the mean time?

Yes, and the Goutte d'Or quarter is the main reason for this. Here, almost everybody knows each other and it feels like one big family. I particularly like this aspect. What's more, it is a quarter with mixed roots and I was able to discover cultures from all around the world. It is by living here that I was also able to understand what “quartier”, which the Parisians are always going on about, really means: a “quartier”, is a veritable village within the city!

In your view, what is the most unusual place?

Without a shadow of a doubt, the Barbès market on Saturday morning! People are shouting, there's lots of movement and everything is dirt cheap. Even if it is right under the overhead metro track, the atmosphere is very exotic.


Do you have a favourite place to walk?

When the weather is good, I love to walk along the Ourcq canal. It is a particularly peaceful place and you can go all the way to La Villette from there, either by foot or on bike. Furthermore, in summer, there's Paris-Plage! I also like to walk to Montgallet with all of the computer shops, owned for the most part by Asians. This concentration of shops fascinates me!

Are you more of a morning, afternoon or evening Parisian?

It depends on the day, but in general I prefer the nocturnal atmosphere. In the evening, I like to go into the bistros, especially those on Rue Oberkampf. Indeed, the Spanish, who are often of a festive disposition, love these kinds of places!

What is your favourite pastime?

Walking, getting lost, discovering new things and finding surprises again and again. I am a great stroller.

Which quarter would you recommend to somebody wishing to spend a few days here?

The Goutte d'Or, as it is a quarter that I know well. But there are other quarters with lots of character: for example, Le Marais is very pleasant with its narrow streets and boutiques.
And if I had to recommend a place, it would be Le Cent-Quatre. In this place, art is in the process of being created, and the works do not necessarily have to be finished to be seen. I also like the Quai Branly Museum. At night, with the illumination designed by Yann Kersalé, it is a sumptuous spectacle!


Jacobo Fernandez

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