When you step into the 10th arrondissement of Paris, you would be instantly transported to the kind of ambiance reminiscent of some South Asian nations, more precisely Sri Lanka. Because of this, the premises are perfectly labeled as ‘Little Sri Lanka’, or less often as ‘Little Jaffna’, alluding to the old name of the capital city of Sri Lanka. At any rate, there comes a moment when you lose sight of anything Parisian when strolling around the neighborhood of La Chapelle.
On these streets you get to hear a range of dialects in the Tamil language from all the nooks and corners. Tamilian restaurants and shops in the neighborhood would be bustling with all of culture, color, and activity.
The Historical Background of La Chapelle Neighborhood
The eventful civil wars of Sri Lanka in the 1980s, made the ethnic Tamils fly to France and settle in this 10th arrondissement =. It was the Protection of Refugees’ office in 1987 that further supported the refugees to carry on staying in asylum. Currently, Sri Lankan Tamils numbering about 100,000 still live in France, with Paris city accommodating the highest population of them.
Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam: Situated in the 18th arrondissement and adjacent to La Chapelle, this spiritual center of the Hindu religion celebrates numerous events all through the year. The temple conducts the festivals of Tamil New Year and Diwali, apart from the regular ‘poojas’ and plain daily worships.
Ganesh Festival: In honor of the popular Hindu god ‘Ganesh’, a festival is held on these streets on his birthday. The auspicious day always falls on some day in the month of August. Sri Manicka Vinayakar Alayam is the venue of this festival. In the celebration, a statue of Ganesh made out of bronze gets paraded through the streets while mounted on chariots adorned with flowers, which are pulled along by ardent devotees.
Special Eateries and Shopping Centers
Finding a pure vegetarian restaurant is a rarity in a city like Paris. However, once you get into Little Sri Lanka, you get to eat your favorite South Indian dishes like samosas, thaali meals, masala dosa, chai, and many more. The most popular restaurants in the area are Krishna Bhavan, Muniyandi Vilas, and Restaurant Shalini.
Some authentic Indian food products can be procured from the shops in the street, namely VS.CO Cash and Carry, and VT Cash and Carry. Moreover, from Singapore Silk Point, you may try on different Indian-made clothing in western styles. Apart from that, you get to experience everything Indian here, ranging from traditional Indian sitars and tablas drums, to a wide selection of Indian jewelry.