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About this City Journal

A collection of cities in a fictional Nouvelle France that never was.

Entries in this City Journal

ZeaMaize

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De L'Ouest, or the western Penninsula, is a largely agrarian part of the Baie.  Involved heavily in coffee production, one of the centers of life (albeit not the largest city in the region), is Côte d'Arbica.  Just shy of 100,000 people, the "city" is actually made up of three distinct communes.  The oldest commune is the northern-most one, known to locals as Coffee Town.  

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Little of the old sleepy beach town still exists, having been supplanted by high rises, whose construction is mostly fueled by Des Capitales citizens looking for beach-front property at lower prices.  But while the old beach town is long gone, the inland coffee processing district still exists, just beyond the highway.

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Newer homes dot the nearby hillside, overlooking this historic, if dirty, district, and the major western highway cuts in front of the district, separating it from the night scene in Coffee Town.

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Speaking of night scenes, there is no better time to see the Southern coastal commune of Nouvelle Nice, than at night.

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The beachfront comes alive with the Night Market, and local roasters light bonfires to roast their beans in the traditional fashion for tourists.

Most of the population lives in the final commune, La Ville Université.

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Surrounding Université de l'Ouest, the first land-grant University in the Baie, the commune is predominantly wealthy, and supported by coffee growers, and the agriculture and science programs at the beloved University.

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Students live mostly west of the University, in a dense low-rise neighborhood.

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The whole region benefits from a rather forward thinking transit system, with subway access despite the smaller population.

ZeaMaize

Today's travels to the Baie de Métropolitain focus on an island in the southern part of the bay, the  Île d'Azur.  Made up of two communes, Côte d'Azur and Baie de Decorah, the Île d'Azur is a vibrant, dense, but geographically small community that serves as a counterpoint to the seemingly endless sprawl of the capitol.

The commune of Côte d'Azur is well known for its focus on environmentalism, and high tech industry.  Very little manufacturing occurs in the commune, with most jobs being in software, commercial enterprise, or tourism.

The northern coast is home to the famous Aquarium de la Baie, beaches, a posh night scene, and three ferry terminals serving nearly 40,000 individuals daily.

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The CBD is home to the famous tourist attraction, Tour d'Azur, which offers commanding views of the Bay, and of Des Capitales to the north.  The relatively small public/private University partnership of the Université de la Côte Azurée, usually referred to by its nickname Côaz offers programs in business and hotel management, serving around 500 graduate students in the city.

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South of the CBD is the city Airport, and part of the large High-Tech park that occupies about 50% of the island.

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Local industry is dominated by high end commercial office, and high-tech jobs.

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The commune also consists of two coastal areas on the mainland, connected to the Island by bridges and ferry.  To the East is the semi-autonomous arrondissement of Atterrissage de l'Est.

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Atterrissage de l'Est is subdivided into a north and south neighborhood, with the southern being far more wealthy and affluent, and the northern neighborhood depressed economically.

South of the Island is the semi-autonomous arrondissement of Les Doigts.

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A narrow, dense, mixed income, neighborhood Les Doights is popular with middle income families and young urban professionals.  While it lacks the nightlife of the CBD, or Aquarium neighborhoods, the Ferry and Lakeland districts are home to a growing and hip fusion cuisine which mixes the traditional culinary history of the capital region with the exotic foreign flavors of the Iron Keys.

Just west of the commune of Côte d'Azur is the second half of the Island, the commune of Baie de Decorah.  Baie de Decorah consists of both the western half of the island, and the mainland bay region.  Far more industrial than the Côte d'Azur, it has less of a reputation for environmentalism, especially in the polluted south-eastern bay.

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This environmental hazard so close to the Les Doights arrondissement in Côte d'Azur has been subject to a 50 year court battle.

Baie de Decorah's island arrondissements are separated by the Crête de la Ligne Médiane mountain range, a small but thankfully inactive fault line in modern times.  Known regionally as La Médiane, this arrondissement overlooks the Courbe Nord arrondissement to the northeast, and Courbe du Commerce to the southwest.  Predominantly wealthy with high levels of tourism, most inhabitants of these neighborhoods work on the island, or in the Iron Keys, Des Capitales, or Côte d'Azur and commute by ferry, creating a sharp class divide with the mainland.

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The mainland is collected into a single arrondissement by the commune through an act of pure, unabashed, gerrymandering to reduce the more working class neighborhoods' impact on commune politics and elections.

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Dense, urban and dirty, life can be difficult in the worst neighborhoods where crime is more common than elsewhere in the region.

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Housing projects in once wealthy portions of the mainland have had considerable impact on the standard of living in the region, but provided affordable housing to the over 200,000 inhabitants of both Côte d'Azur and Baie de Decorah.

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ZeaMaize

Des Capitales has grown to nearly half a million residents, and many of the arrondissements have changed significantly in that time.  Most significantly has been the somewhat controversial decision by the city to build the off-shore artificial island of Île de Monument Sud.

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Home to a few wealthy tech companies, and the elite, only a small fraction of housing has remained affordable on the booming island.  But while developments in Des Capitales have been exciting, today I wanted to take you on a tour of the second largest city in the metropolitan area, officially known as Clé de Fer.

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The Island, or rather collection of Islands, is better known to locals by it's English name, "The Iron Keys".  When it was first founded, the Iron Keys were a primarily industrial mining locale, and attracted immigrants from other countries with promises of employment and a new life.  As the name suggests, the keys were, and still are, home to a large metals extraction industry.  Local custom eschews traditional geographic notions of viewing north at the top of the map, due to the importance of the bridge to the mainland from the southwest side of the main island.

The Iron Keys themselves consist of four islands, and a large portion of the coast of the Iron Peninsula.

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This map shows the major settlements of the Baie itself.  Des Capitales can be seen on the eastern shore, with both of the Île de Monuments off the coast, giving way to the Baie itself, and its many islands, before coming to the Iron Peninsula which separates and protects the Baie and its communities from the Ocean.  

Life on the main island, called simply "Iron Key" is dominated by harsh and unforgiving geography.  Here we see the island's sharp rise from Mondamin Square, the financial heart of the city:

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Roadways on the Keys push the limits on modern vehicles, causing high turn over, a factor which adds to the island's healthy automobile manufacturing sector, and was a major influence in the building of the Fenlon Elevator Company, which runs the cities underground funicular subway system.

While most of the city commutes by car, the islands see a high level of ferry use, and pedestrian traffic as a result of both the overall density of the 250,000 inhabitants, and the geographic constraints.

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Located near the highest point of the Island is the Université Scientifique et Technique de la Baie, or USET.

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USET is located near the modern airport and convention center, at the site of one of the original strip mines.  Older industry was cleared for the airport complex after the University was founded to train the children of the original English speaking immigrants.  The official language of instruction at USET is French, but custom allows for English instruction in most of the courses.

South of USET, and at the summit is the USET Technology Park, home to many high tech companies which have helped move the Keys economy into the 21st century from their earlier mining and manufacturing roots.

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Descending from the tech park to the South is the popular, albeit dangerous, Vista Avenue.

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Properties along Vista Avenue are among the most expensive on the Island, and at their base is the famous Studio Beach, home to a movie production industry, and booming nightlife.

The east side of the Island is home to the Club de Loisirs, and associated port and beaches, popular with the elite of Des Capitales, and other cities in the metropolitan area.

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Off the coast of the water front is the elite community of North and South Providence Islands.

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which form the third and fourth largest islands in the Iron Keys.  Separated from the mainland, except by ferry, the culture remains distinct, and the Island has fought against service by the Fenlon Elevator Company, largely due to the revenue generated by the Ferry system itself.

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Ports for shipping and transit play a large role in life on the Islands, as the only means to move goods on or off, without a length trip to the Eastern Peninsula.

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Industry still plays a large role in the local life, with much manufacturing still done in the city, whether on the main island's old strip mine sites, the heights of the high tech parks, or Airport Island's manufacturing industry.

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Site of the original airport, which still sees quite a bit of business travel, Airport Island is home to some of the largest manufacturers in the region, and unlike Providence Islands, is connected by a large bridge, and an elevated rail bridge which serves to provide the city with services from the Fenlon Elevator Company.  Much to Fenlon's chagrin, however, while subway use is popular on the Island, locals have been somewhat reluctant to use it as a connection to the mainland, or vice versa.

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The last part of our tour considers the perpetually disenfranchised South Shore of the Keys.

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Looked down on by residents of the islands, the South Shore is part of the Iron Keys, but culturally and economically divorced from the Keys.

While there is some commuter traffic to and from the South Shore and the Keys themselves, it is dwarfed by the economic connection to the mainland.

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The South Shore is viewed as uncultured, dirty, lower class, and uneducated by the keys themselves, with "Southie" a common insult on the Islands used to denote someone who is uncouth, violent, or unwanted.

ZeaMaize

Bienvenue!  Whether you are here to visit, do business, or stay the people of the Baie de Métropolitain welcome you!  The region is still young with just less than 900,000 citizens, but it offers an outstanding quality of life in a variety of environs.  Today I'll be introducing you to the Capital region of Baie de Métropolitain.  While not the oldest city, it is the largest, the center of commerce, and more planned than many of the cities in the region.  Officially one city, Des Capitales is made up of devolved and largely independent départments, which are further divided into arrondissements.

The population of Des Capitales today is 311,000, and life is centered around the départment of Etoille:

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Etoille is the central business district, and the core of life in Des Capitales.  Tech parks surround the départment on nearly all sides.  To the west of Etoille is the coast of the Baie itself and the départment of Ville de Université.  Université, while smaller in population and size than Etoille is home to three distinct arrondissements with distinct character.  The center of life is the Université Des Captiales itself, and it's surrounding tech park.

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The University focuses on science and technology and has resulted in numerous startups both in the industrial and commercial sector.  A ferry and docks helps connect the University to the larger region.  The south arrondissement is called Plage Sud.

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Few live in the exclusive neighborhood, which is home to some of the most successful companies in the region, and the beautiful beaches that give the arrondissement its name.  North of Ville de Université is the Plage Nord arrondissement.

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A reasonably exclusive address, Plage Nord is separated from the rest of the University District and accessible only by highway.  The Plage Nord business district runs into the main Etoille district, and is one of the premier shopping destinations in Baie de Métropolitain.

Moving east of Etoille we encounter the départment of Vieux Aéroport.  Once simply called the Aéroport district, and home to one of the city's most affluent business districts, the region has been repurposed many times since the new airport was added to the south side of the Limites départment.

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The départment is still struggling somewhat, with recent new residents and businesses benefiting from the new city zoo, and the tech park which separates it from Etoille.  The airport itself is still heavily utilized, providing servicing for the eastern industrial areas.

Moving north we come to another arrondissement of Etoille, the Foreign Quarter, also known as Midtown.

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Midtown is a largely English speaking part of the city, and varies between suburban on the south, to urban and slightly decayed north of the highway.  This highway, Routes des Etoilles separates the southern reaches of the city from the newer and once fully separated communities of the North.  Most of midtown and these northern départments were farm land until recent expansion drop citizens north.  To the far east we have La Bande.

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Many people had high hopes for La Bande which was supposed to be a rural retreat of sorts.  As industry moved in, and the district became more dense and industrial, urban blight set in and it became a mostly lower income neighborhood.  Many of the middle-class flocked westward to the newly constructed Ville Solaire.

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Once home to nine solar energy plants, the region recently got its first hydrogen plant.  Numerous energy-focused tech companies exist in this region, along with a thriving commercial market, though many citizens believe it is getting too urban, and far from its roots. Continuing our tour of Des Capitales, just west of Ville Solaire is the high growth and energy district of Passarelle.  Part of the same départment as Ville Solaire, this arrondissement is the new nightlife center for young urban professionals.

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Owing to its proximity to the Foreign Quarter, a wide variety of cuisines are available, and a variety of housing exists, from soaring and expensive, to low-rise affordable tenements. 

The Limites départment lies just to the west of the Route de Baie highway which separates it from Passarelle.

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The northern arrondissement of Haute Ville is the oldest in the départment and was originally thought of mainly as a commuter suburb for Des Capitales.  North of the Route de Premier the arrondissement is largely working class and depressed.  South of the highway is a thriving commercial district and tech park which gives way to the low rise and wealthy estates, and eventually the Ville du Stade arrondissement surrounded by a thriving commercial section of the city, and a major tourism attraction with the stadium of the Des Capitales Faucons.

To the South of Ville du Stade is the arrondissement of Nouvel Aéroport.

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The southern portion of this neighborhood thrives around the Studios Des Capitales, home to movies and television for the entire region, and the famous St. Etienne Cathedral.

While many more locales exist, the final destination on our tour today is Île de Monument just west of Nouvelle Aéroport and Plage Nord.

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An exclusive community, and home to a tech park focused around data science and engineering, the island is connected to the mainland by ferry and subway only.  Cars, while allowed on the island, are rarer than would be expected, and rents are extremely high.  The northern most beach of the départment features a unique below sea-level beach front, surrounded by seawall to help prevent pollution from the nearby port.

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