Five squalid acres at the edge of the city are home to France's largest open-air crack market — an "apocalyptic situation," the local police chief says.

The bare, dusty ground is littered with rusty blades and crack pipes. The area reeks of urine and garbage.

At least three times a day, Charly Roué is drawn to this neighbourhood, one of the most sordid in Paris, always following the same ritual.

After panhandling tens of euros at cafes not far from some of the city's most popular tourist spots, he heads to the northern edge of the city, where he can

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