Monday, June 05, 2017

The Babayagas’ house, a feminist alternative to old people’s homes, opens in Paris

By Alison Hird Issued on 05-03-2013

It’s been 15 years in the making but the Babayagas’ House, a name taken from Slavic mythology meaning “witch”, has just been inaugurated in Montreuil, on the east side of Paris.

It’s a self-managed social housing project devised and run by a community of dynamic female senior citizens who want to keep their independence, but live communally.

“To live long is a good thing but to age well is better,” says 85 year old Thérèse Clerc who dreamt up the project back in 1999.

“Growing old is not an illness,” says the elegant, feisty Clerc. “We want to change the way people see old age,” and that means “learning to live differently.”

The building houses 25 self-contained flats. 21 are adapted for the elderly and four are reserved for students.

Residents pay an average of 420 euros for 35m2.

The five-storey building is in the heart of Montreuil, just a stones throw from metro, shops and cinema.

Being central was important. “The message is 'you will go out, you have a right to be active',” says Jean-Paul Blery from the town’s housing department.


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