Hidden gem in the deepest Paris banlieues
Postcard from... Paris
My mobile phone is under constant harassment from a company called Bennytex. “Hurry, hurry! New material arriving every day! Prices lower than ever before!”
Bennytex is a small, lock-up warehouse in the deepest Paris banlieues or suburbs. It sells material for dress and curtain-making at a fraction of the prices demanded in the Paris street markets. Bolts of cloth, ranging from the tacky to the sublime, are heaped in chaotic abandon on metal shelves. There is a small office and a concrete floor. That’s it.
The messages are meant for my 19-year-old daughter, Clare, whose idea of a fun day out in Paris is a meandering trip over the potholed roads of obscure industrial estates to Bennytex.
The French economy is struggling? Not here, it isn’t.
Each tiny unit is a thriving business. The owners are Jewish, North African, Indian, Pakistani, African and Chinese.
Bennytex is run by three Jewish cousins who call everyone “mon frère” or “ma soeur”. Most of the Bennytex clients are North African. Everyone gets on fine.
I’ve driven Clare out to Bennytex three times to buy material for a fashion show that she helped to organise at her university in Britain (a great triumph, now featured on the Bennytex website).
The turnover of stock at the little company is bewilderingly fast.
We arrived on one occasion to find a truck parked outside piled with bolts of cloth. “This is the stuff we can’t sell by the metre,” explained one of the three cousins. “We sell it to Algeria. By the kilo.”
- 1 PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Vagina canoe artist defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
PlayStation and Xbox hacked by Lizard Squad
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Katie Hopkins speaks out on childhood obesity: 'Parents of fat children should be prosecuted for child cruelty'
Boxing Day snowfall set to push even more bargain-hunters online for sales
The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...
£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...