Banlieue  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In francophone areas, banlieues are the "outskirts" of a city: the zone around a city that is under the city's rule.

Banlieues are translated as "suburbs", as these are also residential areas on the outer edge of a city, but the connotations of the term "banlieue" in France can be different from those in English-speaking countries. The "suburbs" in the United States, for instance, are generally associated with low population density, detached or semi-detached housing and middle and upper class inhabitants. On the other hand, in France banlieues are more frequently areas of low-income apartments and social housing. Thus, the equivalent of banlieues in the United States would be "the projects". In the UK, the equivalent would be a "council estate". The term banlieue itself comes from the two French words ban and lieue ("league", roughly four kilometers). The old French term for suburb was faubourg.

Banlieues do include single-family home neighborhoods known as quartiers pavillonnaires. And just like the city-center or the city at the core of an urban area, banlieues may be rich, middle-class or poor; Versailles, Le Vésinet, Orsay and Neuilly-sur-Seine are affluent banlieues of Paris, while Clichy-sous-Bois is a poor one.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Banlieue" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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