‘Négresse’ neighbourhood chains Biarritz to France’s colonial past

The n-word is alive and well-loved in Biarritz, reports Rory Mulholland from the south of France

Sunday 10 January 2021 17:23
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<p>La Negresse is a suburb of Biarritz, close to the French/Spanish border</p>

La Negresse is a suburb of Biarritz, close to the French/Spanish border

T

he women in the Pharmacie de la Négresse find it hilarious that anyone could be offended by the name. The shop lies at a roundabout in a suburb of Biarritz that bears the same name, La Négresse, a word which in today’s France is as offensive and taboo as the n-word in English.

“There’s nothing racist about it all!” said one woman working there who said she was a manager but who declined to give her name.  

“It’s named after a black woman who ran an inn near here in the 19th century. It’s just history. It’s not racist,” she said.

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