This is a location known by fans of Urbex (Urban Exploration), and other abandoned places. Goussainville’s Vieux Pays is set a few streets from the modern city center, and especially 5km (3.10 miles) from the end of the runways of the Roissy airport, created in the early 70’s. And this location comes with consequences… The intense noise pollution caused by the unremitting flights of Roissy planes pushed many locals and storekeepers to move out the neighborhood nicknamed by many people as the “ghost town” of Goussainville.
Tour recommended by the Grand Roissy Tourist Office; we decide to give it a go. And it was a total surprise when we entered the Vieux Pays of Goussainville. For this village is not entirely abandoned as some can think. Inhabitants – in love with this picturesque place – still live there. As a matter of fact, out of the 1,000 inhabitants reported prior to the opening of the Roissy airport, only 300 of them decided to stay, despite the proposition made by Aéroports de Paris to buy their houses. There is even a school in the main street. As for stores, a bookstore (closed the day we came) seems to put up resistance. And there is a bit of a traffic with curious or sometimes lost drivers.
In this Vieux Pays de Goussainville (the French name), there is a very special spirit, with the strange feeling of discovering a village stuck in time. One can see many walled-up buildings and other sites falling into ruins.
“When an airport is built, there is a decree from 1973 forcing Aéroport de Paris to buy houses in the first noise belt to demolish”, Vieux-Pays de Goussainville association chairman Philippe Vieillard told BFMTV in 2019. But, there is a problem. The village’s church is listed as historic monument and prevents the demolition of anything set in a 500-meter radius around this very church. “There was only one solution left for the airport, walling up the houses”, he added in the interview. From this moment on, many walls have been taken over by passing graffiti artists and some houses turned into squats.
But there are yet a few gems left, like “Au Paradis” that seemed to be the village’s former bar. Listed as historic monument then, the church towers over this Vieux-Pays de Goussainville.
And there is the famous castle dating back to the 18th-19th century, inhabited until 1983. Now, the castle – set in a very flowery parc – falls into ruins too. And wilderness seems to take over this former building.
With the curious feeling of having experienced a dive into a universe at the very border of real, this uncommon stroll in Vieux-Pays de Goussainville is worth the trip, for its story and its almost supernatural spirit. So, are you ready to visit this “ghost town” in Île-de-France?
Dates and Opening Time
Starts 7 April 2022
Vieux-Pays de Goussainville
6 Place Hyacinthe Drujon