Paris Is Not Dead

Surviving Hypergentrification in the City of Light

A street-level people’s view of one of the world’s beloved cities, in a stunning debut that blends cutting-edge reporting and sweeping political analysis of a changing Paris

“Working-class Paris is still around today, as real as the cobblestones, gray zinc roofs, and dusty railyards cutting through its neighborhoods.” —from the introduction

The Paris of popular imagination is lined with cobblestone streets and stylish cafés, a beacon for fashionistas and well-heeled tourists. But French-American journalist Cole Stangler, celebrated for his reporting on Paris and French politics, argues that the beating heart of the City of Light lies elsewhere—in its striving, working-class districts whose residents are being priced out of their hometown today.

Paris Is Not Dead explores the past, present, and future of the City of Light through the lens of class conflict, highlighting the outsized role of immigrants in shaping the city’s progressive, cosmopolitan, and open-minded character—at a time when politics nationwide can feel like they’re shifting in the opposite direction. This is the Paris many tourists too often miss: immigrant-heavy districts such as the 18th arrondissement, where crowded street markets still define everyday life. Stangler brings this view of the city to life, combining gripping, street-level reportage, stories of today’s working-class Parisians, recent history, and a sweeping analysis of the larger forces shaping the city.

In the tradition of Lucy Sante and Mike Davis, Paris Is Not Dead offers a bottom-up portrait of one of the world’s most vital urban centers—and a call to action to Francophiles and all who care about the future of cities everywhere.


“A fascinating journey into Paris on the other side of the tracks. Stangler’s lively and informative work delves into the rich history of the forgotten side of Paris and asks important questions about whether, in this age of urban gentrification and late-stage capitalism, the beating heart of the city can survive.”
—Catherine Norris Trent, senior correspondent, France 24
“Cole Stangler has had his finger on the pulse of uprisings in France and the U.S. for as long as I’ve known him. His writings on the struggles of people in and around Paris combine a unique sense of place with sharp insight into a global phenomenon: the unsustainable inequality destabilizing cities around the world.”
—Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won’t Love You Back
“Cole Stangler succeeds wonderfully in capturing the contradictions of the most visited city in the world. Paris is finally introduced as it is: the heart of the conflicting transformation of Europe’s identity, and the place of a fascinating reinvention inspired by its margins.”
—Rokhaya Diallo, writer, filmmaker, and activist
“Stangler shows himself to be a reporter indefatigable in seeking out the signs of a vibrant, living city beneath the dry husk of museumification, Disneyification, touristification, and neoliberalization. . . . Stangler’s well-researched and well-told story of selected parts of the French capital is worth reading for its vivid descriptive prose and militant sympathies.”
Tocqueville 21
“As radically powerful an analysis of urbanity as we have seen since Mike Davis’s classic City of Quartz . . . Cole Stangler presents a Paris that bursts with life—a city many privileged Parisians do not know exists. The writing is vivid. The stories are at turn joyous and wrenching. The politics, razor sharp. This is a book that unlocks the truth of a great global city, exposing every contradiction. But Stangler’s gift is leaving the reader not with doomsday scenarios of the future, but with something akin to hope. All have ‘the right to Paris’ —and that rallying cry stays with you long after the last page.”
—Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation and author of The Kaepernick Effect
Paris Is Not Dead invites us to a fascinating journey through Paris. This book is an original portrait and a beautiful take on a largely unknown and misunderstood city.”
—Philippe Marlière, professor of French and European politics, University College London
Paris Is Not Dead reveals that the causes of so much social unrest are the harsh living conditions and the punishing wage-rent ratio. . . . [Stangler] looks back to the historic roots of social conflict and is witness to the creative vitality of the oppressed.”
—Edmund White, author of The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris
“[This] astute and accessible mix of history and policy . . . will persuade readers of the positive impact affordable housing has on the character of a city.”
Publishers Weekly
“As the rapper Médine sang, the suburbs influence Paris, Paris influences the world. . . . Cole Stangler’s Paris Is Not Dead magnificently illustrates this sociological and aesthetic truth and reminds us how much working-class Paris is still a tangible reality and a political ideal to cherish.”
—Abdourahman A. Waberi, author of In the Unites States of Africa and Transit

News and Reviews

The New York Times

Read an excerpt adapted from Paris Is Not Dead in The New York Times.

Publishers Weekly

Read a review of Cole Stangler’s “impassioned debut,” Paris Is Not Dead in Publishers Weekly

Goodreads Reviews