Sitting outside a café in the sunshine with a beer, I watched children being collected from school, mostly by grandparents. The atmosphere of this area resembles not at all that with which I am familiar, and even in daylight feels quite threatening to an old codger from Cheltenham. I took refuge in the large church of St Vincent de Paul and found Mass in progress - peaceful and dignified, as befitted an elderly congregation, but with a young, rather traditionalist priest.
Emerging, and before walking the short distance to the magnificent Gare de l'Est, I bought apricots, bread and peppermints at a supermarket ahead of the rest of my long journey. Now I'm enjoying dinner in the station restaurant.