Meet Sarah Gensburger

Parisian Mama and Academic

It was serendipity that led me to discover this new initiative, which recently launched in Paris. It’s called Gens de la Seine; and thank goodness, or MLP wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting Sarah Gensburger.

In short, Sarah is a Parisian Mama of two, living here in the city of light. She is without question an inspiring individual who is incredibly driven and unbelievably passionate about Paris.

Since arriving in the city alone ( herself) at the age of 16, she has worked her way through school, garnered a degree, become a researcher & a social scientist, specialising in ‘social memory’; and she’s found the time to write five books!

Her passion centers on her Jewish heritage, obsession with history and her love affair with Paris.

Having never met anyone quite like Sarah, I was fascinated by her relentless need and desire to record and share stories, situations & occurrences that have shaped Paris over the years and formed a narrative, upon which this city has evolved.

For example. Last year as the world came to terms with the horrendous bombings that took place in Paris, Sarah was busy recording the reaction and the responses of people in her neighbourhood, as the fallout from the atrocities unfolded. She wanted to chart how her community felt in that moment and document how those emotions would change and shift, over time. Soon, this body of work will form the content for her sixth book!

All of the work she has achieved to date has this type of focus. Her most recent project which launched just a few months ago – after two years of hard graft – has involved recording the stories of everyday Parisians from the 18th century. Described as  ‘sound walking’  – Gens de la Seine creates a connection between the past and present, using audio to bring tales from the 1700’s to life.

Sarah felt strongly that the history of fairly unknown citizens of Paris, from way back when, should have their tales told. From a local  lottery ticket seller to passers-by on the Pont Rouge. Over the last 24 months,  she has brought together a team, to enable her to bring the experience and reality of everyday Parisians from the past, to the here and now. Using sounds re-created from that time period with detailed narration to supplement the depth of the research, Gens de la Seine is a unique way to enjoy a Parisian history lesson.

To get an idea of what this project is all about, all you have to do is go to the website and click on any one of the stories that you would like to hear. Cleverly curated, Sarah has launched this ‘walk down memory lane’ for all of us and having listened to several anecdotes, I have already learned so much about Paris.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to interview Sarah, for World Radio Paris, about her love for this city, her inspiring story and the launch of this wonderful Parisian History project.

You can listen to the interview here and capture the whole story as told by her. It is also available on the World Radio Paris website.

Gens de la Seine enables you to absorb the sounds and snippets of insight, from 18th-century life in Paris. You can enjoy it as you  walk through the capital,  or just tune in from wherever you are in the world. It’s totally free and it’s the beginning of a whole series of sound-walk themes, that are currently being planned for roll-out, over the course of the next few months.

MLP hopes you will listen to Sarah’s interview it is indeed eye-opening and totally inspiring.

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