Goussainville-Vieux Pays was once a farming village north of central Paris but it’s now a ghost town. It was abandoned in 1972, according to Messy Nessy Chic, when Charles de Gaulle Airport opened. Goussainville fell right under its flight path. Residents who were able to stand the constant noise of low-flying planes still ended up leaving a year later, when tragedy struck: during the Salon de Bourget airshow, a Soviet plane crashed into the town, crushing multiple houses and a school, killing all six passengers and eight townspeople on the ground. Messy Nessy Chic’s photographs show an abandoned chateau, a historic 14th century Renaissance church and vintage street signage.
Reading about Goussainville, we were reminded of Surfridge in Los Angeles, another town abandoned due to the intrusion of an airport. In 1965, using eminent domain, the city relocated 2,000 residents of the neighborhood so that LAX airport could expand. The houses were demolished, but street lamps and driveways remain. Despite a recent multi-billion upgrade of Tom Bradley Terminal, Surfridge has been left out of the master plan for the LAX area for environmental reasons–it’s the natural habitat of the El Sagundo blue butterfly.
The site of the former LA neighborhood of Surfridge
In Paris, the airport was forced to buy and care after the town buildings, but they left it to decay in a classic case of abandonment by neglect. Some former residents have moved back into town, with local officials making some efforts at restoration. But unfortunately, nothing has changed the noise. See more photos of Surfridge here and of Goussainville-Vieux Pays on Messy Nessy.
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