The Women of the Pavillons

A Case Study

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
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This article investigates the experiences of French women in communities of single-family homes by analyzing Villagexpo, a model subdivision built in the Paris suburb of Saint-Michel-sur-Orge in 1966. Drawing on archival resources and recent interviews with original inhabitants, the article argues that the “village“ model of Villagexpo attracted a nucleus of couples with deep roots in associational movements. Committed to the concept of village life, they facilitated social activity in the subdivision, helping female residents overcome a sense of isolation. The article modifies previous, and largely negative, depictions of the experiences of women in communities of single-family homes and places Villagexpo in the context of broader urban trends.