Less than 500 meters separate the Stade de France — the sparkling centerpiece of the Paris Olympics — and the crumbling Francs-Moisins estate plagued by poverty and crime.

Samia Achoui, a secretary who lives in one of the grey blocks dogged by drug dealing, doesn't have a ticket to see the Games. Instead she will listen from her window to the cheers and applause echoing over the canal.

Despite its name, the Paris Olympics will take place mostly in Seine-Saint-Denis on the other side of the "peripherique" ring road that divides the French capital from some of its poorest and most notorious suburbs, known as banlieues.