By Mario García Sánchez
Goussainville, France, Aug 27 (EFE).- Less than 15 kilometers from Paris lies the old town of Goussainville, which was left to fall into oblivion half a century ago during the construction of the Charles de Gaulle airport, a project that saw around a thousand residents abandon their homes amid pressure from the authorities.
The old town — which is known colloquially as the “Old Country” — stands as a dilapidated time capsule on the periphery of the French capital, a region that went through a process of rapid development in the 1970s.
Goussainville residents at the time opposed the construction of the ‘new town’ a few kilometers down the road.
The old part of the town was slated for demolition to make way for the airport, France’s largest and busiest.
But its residents found sanctuary, and a solution, in the Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul church, a historic monument since 1913, to put the brakes on the government’s plans, Philippe Vieilliard, honorary head of the neighbor association to save Goussainville, tells Efe.
Not all houses were spared. Buildings more than 500 meters away from the church were torn down and others bought by the state fell into disrepair.
The town’s image today is a far cry from what it was over 50 years ago. Once home to more than a thousand people, now just 300 call Goussainville home .
It has become something of an off-the-beaten-track tourist attraction but is also a place that draws in squatters, graffiti artists and drugs.