The Chinese New Year was celebrated in style yesterday in the streets of the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris.
Celebrated for the first time since 2019
For the first time since 2019, due to the health crisis, several thousand spectators were able to attend the celebrations this Sunday afternoon in the 13th arrondissement, the district where the Asian community is concentrated.
The parade, organized in the 13th arrondissement since 1989, had not taken place since 2019 because of the health crisis. The Arfoi association (Association of residents in France of Indochinese origin), which organizes it, was finally able to get all the costumes out of the boxes. In the neighborhood, without a car for the occasion, thousands of people gathered around the security barriers that surrounded the parade. The crowd was such that it was difficult to make out anything, many people had to climb on the chairs of the restaurants in the street, on railings, and even in trees! But it was worth it, the procession amazed !
The first Chinese arrived in France in the 19th century
The Chinese community in France would today be made up of more than 450,000 Chinese. 80% of them live in Ile de France, including 40% in Paris itself. Outside the Paris region, there are other Chinese communities, the main ones being located in Lyon and Lille.
The first Chinese arrived in France in the 19th century. They were itinerant traders. A little later, a few thousand Chinese, enlisted by the English and French armies during the First World War, remained in France after the armistice in 1918 and thus formed a nucleus which later became the Chinese community.
The first “Chinatown” in Paris was born in 1973 in the 13th arrondissement of the capital.
The Chinese New Year parades in Paris are among the largest in the world. Each year more than 200,000 people travel from all over France and even from Belgium or Switzerland to take part in the main parades in the 3rd and 13th arrondissements of Paris.
The largest parade in 2004
In 2004, the finest and largest Chinese New Year parade in Paris in all history was held. Indeed, on January 24, the parade, strong of 800 artists and almost 8000 participants, was invited on the main avenue of the Champs-Elysées on the occasion of the year of China in France. The Eiffel Tower was, for the occasion, illuminated in red. The festivities had then been organized by 45 Franco-Chinese associations and had cost “the trifle” of around half a million Euros.
Until the early 2000s, the 13th arrondissement of Paris hosted the only major parade for Asian communities in France. Since then, there have been other parades in France, mainly concentrated in the Île-de-France region.
In 2008, the town hall of Paris 3 inaugurated the second largest annual parade in the capital for the Asian New Year.