From life on the road to housing estates: the uneasy transition for travellers

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All across France travellers – including Gypsies from various different communities – live in caravans at makeshift campsites with the bare minimum of sanitation and other facilities. A few local authorities have decided to rehouse them in new, permanent homes, and Strasbourg in north-east France is currently building the largest traveller estate of its kind in the country. But as Noemie Rousseau reports from there, even when new homes are available, it is not always easy for people used to the open road to adapt their culture to living between four walls.

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The three men come every day to this patch of mud to see the diggers at work. It is as if they want to check that it is really happening. The trio are watching their new permanent homes being built, houses for which they have been waiting for 15 years. They are Gypsies, who have been living '”forever” at a site called Polygone at Neuhof on the edge of Strasbourg in the north-east of France. For some of their families that means half a century.