At La Guillotière, certain personalities stand out. An association manager, a cafe owner, a religious leader… And then there is Romain Blachier, former elected representative of the 7th arrondissement of Lyon, who has been defending his district for years. The opportunity to discuss with him the Guill ‘seen by a lucid person, but also curious enough to see beyond the Place Gabriel-Péri.
The love story between Romain Blachier and la Guillotière begins on July 23. He was born then that summer day, at the Saint-Luc Saint-Joseph hospital. Life will then lead him to discover other horizons, especially in Africa, before returning to Lyon for his studies. “I was a penniless student and I had found a studio at 36 rue de Marseille. At the time, I was paying 1,500 francs in rent”, tells us the famous blogger from Lyon. He has since lived in several places in the neighborhood. Was elected, deputy mayor of the 7th and even wrote a book on la Guillotière, “a collection of short stories which questions the ill-defined borders of the Guill ‘and the unsatisfactory origin of its name”.
To groups of residents who complain and advocate “it was better before”, Romain Blachier reminds us that Guillotière was a popular district at the beginning of the 20th century. “But from the 60s to the 90s, nothing was happening. There were a lot of craftsmen. But to have a drink after 8 pm, we had to change neighborhood. La Guill ‘was dead. The extreme left collectives who say that before it was a living working-class district and that the gentrification to come is a danger, I answer them that there have never been so many cultural and alternative places, and bars than today in 2020 “. Romain Blachier recognizes, however, that “The multiplication of these places also means that we meet less. When there were five or six places of socialization, we dispersed less. People know each other less, even if we keep a village side”.
Its attachment to the neighborhood is precisely this proximity between the inhabitants, “the great wealth of La Guillotière”. “On our Facebook group” Life in Lyon 7e “, people help each other. There are a lot of cultural and life activities. There are values of solidarity, of ecology. There is a development of cycling which is very strong. La Gonette, the local currency of Lyon, is also very present “.
The former borough councilor, however, has no blinders, he readily admits that “The neighborhood is becoming more and more fragmented. When I moved there, people didn’t talk much to each other. We had a village period with gossip, but also real moments of conviviality and solidarity. And now, I look at the cafe terraces, the activities of the people, the groupings are made according to sociology, political opinion… There are also more closed places. Before, the worker and the boss had a drink at Chevreul . Now there are places intended to accommodate people in the inter-self “.
“Place du Pont is not all of the Guill ‘”
What about the traffic at Place Gabriel-Péri? “There always has been, and since the beginning of the 20th century!”, he exclaims. “They weren’t Romanians or Algerians at the time, but young men who came from Lozère, who were pissed off, who drank and who trafficked. The change from before is the concentration of problems. on the square. There has always been trafficking in cannabis. But there have also been clandestine markets, smuggling … But the Place du Pont is a place in La Guillotière, it is not all the Guill ‘”.
We tend to forget it, especially because these famous neighborhood borders are blurred: the territory is large and can extend, according to some, to the place Jean Macé or the place Guichard. What to open horizons. As a good connoisseur of the place, Romain Blachier obviously has some favorite places that he willingly shares with people who want to have a good time riding in the 3rd and 7th arrondissements.
The Elysée Theater, rue Basse-Combalot, to start. “It’s great because it’s both a theater, one of the most creative in Lyon, which attracts programmers from large venues who come to see the plays, and it’s also an associative nursery with audiovisual associations . I highly recommend this great place “, begins Romain Blachier.
At noon, direction Ô Ma Café, at 10 rue de Marseille: “An Asian Bar ‘, nice, crossed out, multicultural, opening door to the Asian quarter. The owner is colorful. It’s cosmopolitan but not closed to others. I recommend the bò bún”.
Romain Blachier is more annoyed when it comes to talking about a bookstore. “If I quote one, the others will yell “, he laughs, before recommending the La Madeleine bookstore.
And to finish with the Vercoquin, natural wine cellar at 33 rue de la Thibaudière. “One of the characteristics of La Guillotière is that almost all of the wine cellars are natural wine cellars. It’s more than organic, it’s grapes and nothing else. a very important movement among bobos, they refuse to drink anything else “, he concludes.
“Increase the number of meeting places”
If he no longer has any mandate, after having decided not to be on any list in 2020, Romain Blachier remains very aware of the political projects to come. So much so that he was asked what he would do for La Guillotière, if he was one day mayor of the 7th district. “As a deputy, I created a festival called Nuit nomade. We must multiply the initiatives that make everyone work together: MJC, theaters, associations … We need a big carnival of La Guillotière, this would be very important to me “.
The man attached to culture, believes that it is also necessary “to increase the number of meeting places between people. And more initiatives so that the different communities and social backgrounds come together. Place Gabriel-Péri should also be redeveloped to make it something where there is a regular cultural imprint, for get out of this anxiety-provoking side. Even if the south of the 7th arrondissement is rich in this, it would take a real secure concert hall that meets standards while supporting the cafes by helping to organize more open stages “. Finally, and it is likely that the ecological municipality thought about it like him, Romain Blachier would like to make more pedestrian streets, “because when you live in the 7th, you don’t need a car very much”.