Post by kerouac2 on Apr 14, 2019 5:54:04 GMT
Ivry-sur-Seine is one of the suburbs snuggled up against Paris, but there are a few details about it that sometimes make is seem like it is from the other end of the planet. For one thing, it has been a major stronghold of the Communist party since 1920 and continues to have a Communist mayor. It was the electoral district of Maurice Thorez, a great admirer of Stalin. Thorez was general secretary of the French Communist party from 1930 until 1964, but Ivry was a revolutionary city before his arrival. For example, in 1929 the city elected a woman to its municipal council to protest the exclusion of women from politics. She was invalidated by government order.
Anyway, as a heavily industrial suburb, Ivry initiated vast housing projects and one of the biggest was the Cité Youri Gagarine in 1961. The first man to make a space flight and actually orbit the earth will never be forgotten in the Red Belt surrounding Paris since so many streets and buildings bear his name. And in fact, he made a special visit to Ivry in 1962 to receive full hnours from Maurice Thorez and see the glorious achievements of the city.
The Cité Youri Gagarine is finally going to be demolished this spring, just like so many other buildings before it, but I wanted to see it one last time. Many families lived in the complex for over 50 years, raising children and grandchildren, and no matter how decrepit such buildings become, it is nearly always heartbreaking to be forced out of one's home. Actually, the city began to relocate people starting in 2014 but from whay I read, there are still five flats occupied until the final moment.
I took the metro to Mairie d'Ivry. A huge apartment complex was built right on top of the metro station in the 1970's. It has such brutal architecture that it was one of the main filming locations of the movie Hunger Games 3.
Things built in the 1930's have aged more gracefully.
So, here is the object of my visit, the Cité Youri Gagarine in full solitary glory.
There is quite a bit of street art in Ivry but almost no graffiti. I have noticed the same thing in most Communist towns in France.
In Paris, the bottom of the building would be absolutely smothered in tags and other graffiti.
Naturally, just about all of the entrances have been totally blocked.
Frankly, I think they took good care of the building for 58 years.
This fire escape (or perhaps just faster access to the car park) looks like it was added at a later date.
No, you're not sneaking into the building this way either, you urbex people!
I still remember France before 1961, and it must have been so wonderful for people to move here.
Nature makes its final attempt to take over before demolition.
And then it was time to leave. After all there wasn't really all that much to see, just a whole lot of atmosphere to absorb.
The next time I see this building, it will be to see the implosion on television.
back on the way to the metro
There are quite a few communal gardens in empty lots.
The chickens came running to me as I passed by. I bet that a lot of people give them stuff when they see them.
I think that a hen may have had an illicit affair with a poodle to produce this creature.
And then the metro took me back where I belonged.