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Photographer's Note

The "Village des Olympiades", centre of the Parisian Chinatown, was build by the architect Michel Holley between 1968 and 1975 the refurbishing of the 13th arrondissement of Paris.
This housing complex is situated between the streets "Nationale" and "Tolbiac" and the "Ivry" avenue. This complex was build in place of the freight's railway station of the Gobelins. Warehouse to store coal for the factories in the neighbourhood could be also found there. The railway station was rebuild underground and covered by a huge concrete block on which was build the towers, a shopping mall and other buildings. This new district was supposed to attract young families that were looking for modernism. But it hasn't has the anticipated success. Because of the first oil crisis that causes the raise of the "rental charges" (literal translation of "charge locative", a better translation may apply here), all those building stayed partially empty for a quite long time. Eventually, Asian refugees, fleeing the war in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, will finally fill the housing complex. Those newcomers will accept to live in certain promiscuity and will soon take control of the local economy thanks to an autarkist financial system known as "Tontine" (basically, a groups of persons who pool their resources to buy a property, real estate, goods? and share the accumulated assets. When one of the associated dies, his asset is share among all the remaining associated).
This will facilitate the establishment of Asian goods importer that will make fortunes. The Tang brothers are a good example; any Parisian in need for exoticism knows their departments stores specialised in grocery and other products from every parts of Asia.

When I was still a student, I lived in a studio on the 20th floor of the tower in the centre of the picture (on the right side of the tower. I had an incredible view over Paris and I must say this was very useful when I wanted to try to seduce some of the girls from my school. I would invite them after school to come watch the colours of the sunset over Paris followed by the city lights to lit up progressively; the climax being the Eiffel tower to illuminate itself. I would lower the light of the studio, put some music and serve some coffee or some warm tea and the mood was set. I had the feeling to be one of those African Weave bird that build the most comfortable nest to attract its partner.

My little studio on the top of this tower was really a cosy little nest. It has a bathroom with a large bathtub, a well-equipped kitchen and large living/bedroom. Much more comfy than the service bedroom with all facilities on the landing where my fellow co-students lived in. However, those huge dark towers that are standing on these huge concrete block are not the most welcoming sight and almost gloomy on winter night when a strong wind is blowing through. But I would always leave a light on that allow me to spot my studio among all the windows on the tower façade. This would reassure me when I was coming home late.

I particularly like this picture because of the sole lighted up window among all the other windows on the towers facades. Could it be my ghost?
I have posted a black & white version of the picture in the workshop, as I couldn't decide which version was the best.

PS: This picture was also published on EyesWideShot photoblog.

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Additional Photos by Romain Donadio (green) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 235 W: 222 N: 121] (1014)
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