I was looking for manouches, French gypsies last year, and couldn't find any in Paris. So hopping on the train for the Essone region, about 40 minutes outside, I got off at Longpont-sur-Orge where my friend lives. The medieval cathedral almost rivals Notre Dame.
This is the country; horses, farms and not so, so long ago people wore the traditional sabots, wooden clogs.
Martine, my friend, worked as a home health nurse in the Longpont village and surroundings. Retired now, she still kept in contact with all her former clients - les manouches. Martine had been the only French home health nurse to treat them as the other nurses refused. She knew I wanted to meet les manouches at home, see their life. Lucky me, since they're not prone to talk to outsiders and curious Americans. Les manouches, are French-born citizens who don't mind being called Roms but not Roma, the Eastern European gypsies.
Martine had lots of stories. For more than 20 years she'd visited their caravans and treated their babies. I tagged along with Martine.
They don't live in these wooden caravans anymore but the ones I met lived in sparkling clean caravans/motor homes.
It's hard to see here, but the family, which seemed like a loose clan of related family, lived in caravans in a long compound and with that smaller house on the right where people cooked.
This family were related to Django Reinhardt, the hot jazz guitarist, and it seems everyone in this village had some connection to Django.
We spent an hour with this couple who proudly showed us their wedding picture and have great-great-great grandchildren. He carved the wagons and she laughed all the time.
Cara - Tuesday