Tourists who wish to take a break from “traditional” Paris and the ones who wish to stay away from the crowded tourist attractions in the city should head straight to the La Chapelle (Little Sri Lanka) neighborhood in the City of Lights. The La Chapelle, which is popularly known as “Little Jaffna” among Parisians sits on the cusp of Paris’ 10th arrondissement.
The restaurants and shops in this neighborhood that reflects the prominence of South Indian and Sri Lankan culture will make you feel like you are in Sri Lanka. In addition to that, you will be able to see the Tamil language bouncing around you on all corners of the street. However, most of the shop owners speak good English and they are very friendly as well.
A large number of large Tamils from Sri Lanka fled their country due to the violent civil wars and ended up in France in the 1980’s. The French immigration authority was initially a bit hesitant to offer asylum to the Tamils. However, the Office for the Protection of Refugees finally opened their doors to the Sri Lankan refugees by the year 1987. Today, more than 100,000 Tamils from Sri Lanka live in France and the majority of them are in the La Chapelle neighborhood.
Visiting the Neighborhood
The La Chapelle neighborhood is relatively small when compared to the other neighborhoods in the city, yet it still has a lot in store for the tourists. If you spend a quality amount of time inside the La Chapelle neighborhood, you will feel that you are not in Paris. The good news is that you will be very glad for stepping foot into this district because the unique and interesting things to do and see in the neighborhood will make your Paris tour an unforgettable and everlasting experience.
How to Get to La Chapelle
If you are taking the metro, then you will need to make an exit either at the La Chapelle or at the Gare du Nord. From there, all you need to do is to take a short walk through the Rue du Faubourg St. Denis Street to get to the neighborhood. If you have time, try to explore the restaurants and streets in the Parisian street, as you will be able to find elegant souvenirs that you can take back home.