Yvania Muscadum: Paris 2022

Over and Under

Attention a la marche, Reality is at the end of the steps

by Yvania Muscadum fiu France 2022

Looking at the metro 7, the first thing I expected to be was a rich neighborhood. Many can say that Paris is a historical place and everywhere tells a different story. For me, I wanted metro line 7 to be different than other metro lines and to have a different story then them. I do not know why I wanted something different nor understand my ambition. Maybe I wanted to tell my people back home that I went to the richest part of France. I believe I was living in this fantasy world and was expecting it to be fulfilled by metro line 7. It was a fantasy far from reality. However, When I step down the metro my perspective totally changes. I saw different cultures, religions and the real world. 

Place monge

The moment I got down from the metro, walking toward the escalator I saw beauty. Nature was calling me as well as the market. My personal connection to this stop was greater than I expected. It reminds me of my country. Growing up from a third country many things look poor. Usually, a market would indicate we do not have a Walmart like other countries. The products are better and fresh but that does not make us seem less poor in the eyes of others. When I saw the market in this big country, my perspective changed. I ask myself why was it so wrong in my country? Walking through the market, I saw beauty, fresh and clean products. Why people in my country cannot see that? Is not about being rich or poor but it is the ideas that enriches the culture. I thought the market was the greatest thing I ever saw. However, with the help of my professor, I was introducing to the Muslim religion and had the best tea ever. It was a surprise, so I would not spoil more for the upcoming student doing the program. But I enjoy it because it changes my views on how I see the world. The best connection to that metro line was the mint tea. As I took a sip, I tasted a different culture, and learned about a different culture.

Maison Blanche

The first place I stopped for my project was Maison Blanche. With my bad translation I thought I was going to see the white house. The first thing I reliazed was that the architecture was different then the original Paris looks. As I looked around I saw a plaque that had someone’s name who I was not familiar with. I decided to do some research and saw that the person was a resistance fighter who was killed august 22, 1944. During my stay in France, I learned a lot of things I did not know. To be able to see a plaque of a resistance fighter was special to me. I may not know him but he was a hero. He fought and died for his country. Many may not know him as I was at first, but I know one day I will tell my children about his country’s history and his name will be mentioned just like the other hero. 

Porte d’italie 

For one month in Paris , I saw different art and was even exposed to more churches than ever. I chose this stop because I felt like there was a connection with Italy. Doing my research, I found out that this stop is the center of the 13th arrondissement. To me it felt different than everything I learned about Paris. It was not about a king, christianity, not war. It was just a place where people live. This is my personal connection with this place 

Porte de choisy 

Porte de Choisy was one of the most choking places ever. Not in a bad way, I was just shocked by a different culture. As I stroll down the street another version of Chinatown in NewYork. I was happy to see different asian people living in this area. With everything going on in the world and people blaming asian people for the coronavirus. I saw a safe world for them.  I sat down in different restaurants not only to enjoy their food but I felt like I could see and learn one or two things from their culture. If you are, I’ll say their seasoning is different, but they are the same human with a different history. I coul not sit down and just compare any of them. With all the respect I have for their culture I saw one group of people enjoying life. 

Porte de la villette

When I looked up in the metro I saw Porte de la Villete cite des sciences et de l’industrie. I smiled and said to myself that this stop contains more than one connection. As a Stem major myself, I wanted to see something scientifically related. I myself chose this stop. When I stepped down I took the first exit I saw. It was the wrong exit but I saw more than what I expected. The exit was Centre des événements. I started thinking maybe it will lead to a place that has different events in history. I was excited to learn more about those events. However, when I went out it was different. To me it felt like a different world. My curiosity got the best of me and I started walking more. I saw a different Paris that most tourists won’t go to. Maybe they will feel like it is not safe or not pretty enough. Was I scared? Of course I was. I was petrified but my curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to see more. This part of Paris was never on television. It was a part excluded from the country in my opinion. Many may ask if there was a personal connection. From what I saw, there’s more than just connection. To me this was a reality hidden from the world. I saw tents and I realized people live here and it was their reality. It reminds me of 2010 in Haiti. I was one of the survivors of the earthquake that happend and I lived for more than a year under a tent. I could give more than one reason why I spent those times under this thent. One thing I realized, whether I stay there because I did not have a place to live or I did not feel safe inside my home. I knew for sure that living under the tent was my new reality. When I saw those tents in Paris after getting down at Porte de la Villette. It brings back good as well as bad memories. Sometimes we need to adapt quickly to new life in order to survive, which I did in 2010. Many of us had no place to stay and we stayed under those tents for more than one season. The day I saw the tent in Paris, I realized how corrupted the Haitian governments are.  It may have been seen as one place where people stayed under a tent but in Haiti half of the country was. To see that the government did not do anything to help, make me understand that Haiti will never change. I felt connected to this stop because I know how it feels living in a condition like this. I felt like the government turned on them as well and I could hear them scream for help. 


The one thing that caught my attention was the academie. I chosed this stop because I felt like it would showcase music, plays, etc… When I went up the stairs, it felt like I felt like I was in a musical piece. I do not know if it was the gold sculpture I saw or the different art. I just fall inlove with the place. If I were to choose a romantic place in Paris, I would choose this one. It inspired me to express my feelings as well as doing what I want to do in life. For the first time doing this project I Felt an emotional connection. 


This place to me felt more like the United state. The architecture is totally different. I do not know if it is because I saw similar stores like Pizza Hot. I did not feel like I was in Paris more like Miami. Just by looking at the building I could tell they were more spacious and it was far from any art. 


This is one of the best stops in my opinion. Many may talk about the mall or the history. But to me, what captivated my attention was the diversity, the ambiance, as well as its own culture. When I was at the chatelet I saw a group of black folks with a radio and dacing to the beat. This was an event I thought I would never be able to see. With technology, kids nowadays spend more time on the internet than anything. I felt like I was going to see more of that in Paris. However, I was wrong. I saw people singing, dancing, and others exploring. When I saw the boys dancing, I wanted to join. It brought back memories. Before we had cell phones, we could spend more time with each other. We were able to communicate better and we understood each other better. The joy I saw in those boys’ faces became a virus as I caught myself smiling as well. I stood in one spot but my spirit was dancing with them. It was like a childhood memory. Dancing under the moonlight with family and friends.

Pont Neuf 

The best part of this stop is the bouquinistes. As I explored this beautiful bridge, I talked with more than three bouquinistes. It was magnificient. Many know so much about books, it felt like I was in an outdoor library. It was not about the place nor the equipment but the passion that they have. My professor explained that it is a tradition that they kept and they would usually sell banned books. I was excited to go and see for myself. What I saw was a different world where nobody felt trapped nor in chains because of society. To me those banned books represent my life. Someone may not like how I live my life or how I share my experience with others. They may try to hide me or push me away. One thing they may not know is that somewhere I matter. 

La courneve ( 8 Mai 1945)

The first thing I saw in this stop was the date. I decided to look into and found out it was the day Charles de Gaulles announced the end of WWII. As I previously mention I wanted my line to be a rich neighborhood. instead, it was more than that. To see that one of the stops had the most important date in France history was amazing. also, the other thing I saw, maybe it was because I was homesick and wanted to go back. I promise you I saw Miami beach. I may sound crazy but the building I saw had these rainbow colors, it was the neon colors. I stood for more than five minutes looking at the building. I was intrigued and perplexed, for a moment I thought I was dreaming. This stop may have been known for its historical events. However, it will always be the second Miami Beach, or maybe more. It was an appreciation of art. It may have looked like different colors in a building but to me it was close to home. Just a couple miles and I will be able to go to exit one. 


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