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Trip Report France- Gens du Voyage Camps

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The recent flap over French President Sarkozy's campaign to rid the country of illegal Romani immigrants, with orders to close hundreds of 'gens du voyage' camps - gens du voyage being the French colloquial term for Romani (or the perjorative 'gypsy') brought back memories of my recent visit to France where right near the house i was staying in in Orleans there were two gens du voyage camps - typical of ones i have seen for years all over France.

And having seen these two camps for years i am always appalled at their allowed existence. (I know towns of over 5,000 residents legally must provide areas for such camps - i have no problem with that - but with the awful sanitary conditions of these camps as well as the threatening nature of some of the residents.

Both camps near the house i stay at seemingly have no sanitary WCs as everyone it seems just defecates on the camp periphery - sometimes IME right out in the open as i have seen several times - and that is not a pretty sight! Soiled TP is strewn everywhere around, etc.

And one camp is on a public venelle (sp?) - or alley that i like to take as a short cut to the train station - but i have had so many catcalls going by it i no longer take that route - mangy roaming dogs are a problem as well.

So though i am fine with such camps, full of dozens of old caravans, i just cannot understand why local governments do not supply if needed a sanitary WC system and enforce obvious existing laws about just defecating anywhere.

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