Mira Kamdar writes about her experience of living just outside of Paris in a banlieue (suburb, often with the connotation of poverty and non-white residents). There was an unexpected paragraph in the middle:
I’ve learned a lot during my long commutes on the metro. One thing is not to underestimate the cosmopolitanism of my fellow travelers. I found myself sitting once next to a young French-African woman. I was stunned when her phone rang and she answered in serviceable Hindi. When she finished, I couldn’t help asking her how it was that she spoke the language. Oh, she explained, she belonged to an evangelical church and had learned Hindi, in Paris, to spread the good word among Indian immigrants. I knew evangelical Protestantism was flourishing in immigrant communities in France, but this cross-cultural example floored me.
Also, I linked to a much darker picture of contemporary Paris about two years ago here.