Restaurateur and neighbor of the Olympic village, Paul Chemama is banking on the post-Games

Paul Chemama has a nose. When, in 2015, this smiling sixty-year-old opened the first franchise of the BCHEF “gourmet” burger restaurant chain, in Ile-Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), he had not imagined that the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games would settle down a few steps from his establishment. The latter, a cross between fast food and a cozy restaurant, is located in the heart of the Marques Avenue shopping center, which has made sport one of its development axes.

A few minutes’ walk north of the shopping center, the Olympic Village will host approximately 14,500 athletes and executives during the Olympic Games (July 26 to August 8) and 9,000 during the Paralympic Games (August 28 to September 8). The Nike, Adidas and Le Coq sportif stores could attract these visitors who love sporting goods to the shopping center, but Paul Chemama prefers to remain cautious: “Will Olympic Village security make the shopping center accessible to visitors and athletes? »he asks himself.

Paul Chemama in front of his establishment in Ile-Saint-Denis.

For this reason, this sports enthusiast, who plays golf and chaired a football club for fifteen years, does not expect an explosion in the number of his customers during the Games period. He nevertheless plans to install a screen to allow his customers to follow the Olympic events live and to have additional tables if necessary.

The prospect and proximity of the Games excite him. “I want to be an actor in this event at my levelhe said. I signed up for the Transportation and Hospitality Volunteer Program. » If he was selected as a volunteer, Paul Chemama planned to recruit additional staff in order to free himself from the daily management of his restaurant.

The Games constitute, according to him, “a fantastic opportunity for Seine-Saint-Denis and the neighborhood”. But it is especially after the Games that the repercussions will be the most significant. He is delighted that the neighborhood is “opened up” with the development work carried out for the Games, the creation of a new footbridge connecting the two parts of the Olympic village located on either side of the Seine and the arrival of new businesses and residents.

In 2025, the Olympic Village will become a new “eco-city” with 3,500 housing units. Life in the neighborhood will be turned upside down and Paul Chemama expects a significant increase in attendance at his establishment, which currently welcomes 60,000 customers per year. “In the eight years that I have been here, I have seen the city transformhe notes. My clientele has already changed considerably: there are more Parisians and people who come to invest or buy accommodation here. »

The work carried out in recent years to prepare for the Games has penalized the shopping center, making access more difficult. Paul Chemama was then able to observe a clear loss of attendance: “It was a very complicated period and we suffered considerably from this situation”affirms the restaurateur, who is banking on the post-Games period to “bounce back”. Optimism seems second nature to him: ” It’s going to be awesome “he ures.

Operation Playgrounds

This subject was carried out as part of the Terrains de Jeux project, supported by Visa, global partner of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Until November 2024, eight young people, accompanied by journalists from World, tell the story of the Olympic year seen from Seine-Saint-Denis in the form of articles, videos and podcasts. They were identified by the Sport dans la ville ociation as part of a partnership with Visa whose objective is to promote the professional integration of young people from priority neighborhoods. The writing of the World is responsible for the choice of topics and editorial content.

Lou Seigneur-Vitellius

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