Foreign News: Les Clochards

Along Manhattan's broken-spirited Bowery, they would be called bums, but the sentimental Parisians have a fancier name for those uncounted thousands of their compatriots who, unshaved, unwashed and unnoticed, scratch out a life al fresco in the shadows of Notre-Dame, the teeming Les Halles markets and the Seine bridges. The French of Paris call their dedicated bums les clochards (ones who limp), and think of them as the spiritual descendants of the great and vagrant Francois Villon.

To one Parisian, however, the bums of Paris are no proper bums at all, but merely aggravated psychological cases eager for reclamation. After a painstaking...

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