Fifteen years in the making, the Babayagas’ House—a feminist alternative to a retirement home—has opened in Paris. This self-managed social housing project is run by its community of inspired female senior citizens that want to maintain their independence. “To live long is a good thing, but to age well is better,” says 85-year-old Thérèse Clerc, who initially conceived the project as a means of combating the idea that growing old is an illness and that retirement homes are a kind of prison. “We want to change the way people see old age, and that means learning to live differently,” she says.
The five-story building houses 25 apartments located at the center of Montreuil, just blocks away from shops, a movie theater and the metro. The project cost just under 4.4 million dollars and was funded by eight public sources, including the city council. Two similar projects are now underway in Palaiseau and Bagneux.