Journalist Mira Kamdar had a lovely story in a recent New York Times about the “Other” Paris that tourists rarely see, with its rich tapestry of immigrant peoples. One anecdote in particular:
I’ve learned a lot during my long commutes on the metro. One thing is not to underestimate the cosmopolitanism of my fellow travelers. I found myself sitting once next to a young French-African woman. I was stunned when her phone rang and she answered in serviceable Hindi. When she finished, I couldn’t help asking her how it was that she spoke the language. Oh, she explained, she belonged to an evangelical church and had learned Hindi, in Paris, to spread the good word among Indian immigrants. I knew evangelical Protestantism was flourishing in immigrant communities in France, but this cross-cultural example floored me.