Paris Local Custom Tips by Nemorino Top 5 Page for this destination
Paris Local Customs: 774 reviews and 797 photos
1. Banner on the school fence
One of the fastest ways to unite a squabbling school class is to threaten to throw some of its members out of the country.
This banner at the Bullet School (named after Pierre Bullet, a French architect who lived from 1639 to 1716) in the 10th arrondissment reads:
"The Bullet School says NO to the expulsion of the children of the families without papers" followed by the names of some of the kids who are threatened with deportation.
This is a perennial issue in both France and Germany: what to do with people who have lived here for years or decades but do not have the proper paperwork to allow them to stay on permanently.
Prominent reactionary politicians in both countries claim they would like to have all these people put on planes and sent back to where they came from, err, where their parents or grandparents came from. For the children this would be especially bitter because many of them have lived here for most or all of their lives and don't even know the countries they are being deported to.
In both France and Germany there have been numerous newspaper stories about this in recent years. For a journalist looking for a good story, it is of course ideal if one of the children happens to be a photogenic seventeen-year-old girl who speaks fluent French*, gets straight As in school, is president of the student council and is dating a nice French* boy from a prominent local family. But even if the kids in question are only average or whatever, their classmates are determined not to let them be deported if they can help it.
*Or German, as the case may be.
Second photo: This sign on the City Hall of the 14th arrondissment says: Against the expulsion and for the legalization of the pupils and their families "without papers". (The mayor of the 14th, Pierre Castagnou, is a member of the Socialist Party, otherwise he probably wouldn't have put up that sign.)
Third photo: This "mobilized school" in the Rue Sorbier, 20th arrondissement, declares its solidarity with the people without papers.
In the summer of 2006 I initiated a forum thread called One thousand one hundred and seventy-eight, which was the number of Eiffel Tower tips in VirtualTourist at that time.
My question in that thread was: "The Eiffel Tower in Paris currently has 1,178 tips here on VirtualTourist, in seven different categories. Is there any other single attraction on VT which has more tips than that?"
It took a while for everyone to understand that I was talking about tips on VirtualTourist, not hits on a search engine, but after we got that straightened out the consensus was that the Eiffel Tower does indeed have more tips than any other single attraction in the world. "A French victory!!" as pieter_jan_v commented.
Every year since then I have done a re-count at the beginning of September. If for some reason you want to see the figures for the years 2006-2012, you can find them here (second photo) or in my updated travelogue which is now called "The Eiffel Tower now has 1,420 tips here on VT” – up twenty-five from last year.
As in previous years, the figures for 2012 include tips a.k.a. reviews from seven different categories.
There are currently 1,076 Things to Do tips about the Eiffel Tower, 26 Nightlife tips, 14 Off the Beaten Path tips, 62 Tourist Trap tips, 8 Warning/Danger tips, 229 General tips a.k.a. Favorites and five Local Customs tips (including this one).
By the way, these figures do not include the 23 reviews (mostly negative) of the restaurant Altitude 95, which is in the Eiffel Tower. This restaurant is now under new management and has been re-named 58 Tour Eiffel. The old name referred to its altitude, 95 meters above sea level, and the new name also refers to its altitude, 58 meters above ground level. (So it hasn't suddenly dropped thirty-seven meters, in case you were worried.)
1. Love locks on the Pont des Arts
Here's the cheapest way to declare your eternal love for that special person in your life, the one you met this afternoon and are trying to maneuver into bed.
Instead of spending forty Euros on flowers, buy a padlock at Monoprix for five Euros -- or, to make a really good impression, get the € 16.50 model from Fichet-Bauche -- write or inscribe both your names on it, have a romantic stroll along the Seine on a romantic evening, go out onto the romantic pedestrian bridge called Pont des Arts, declare your eternal love in whatever common language you have, if you have one, then solemnly snap the lock onto the bridge and throw both keys into the Seine.
A couple years ago someone from the Mayor's office was quoted as saying that all these rusty locks were an eyesore and might even endanger the stability of the bridge, which after all was part of the "national patrimony". So when about two thousand of the love locks disappeared one night in May 2010, the opposition parties promptly blamed the mayor, saying he was trying to control everything in the city, even love. But the mayor denied any responsibility, as did the police, the art museums, the Direction de la Propreté et de l’Eau (D.P.E.) and various other city agencies that might conceivably have been involved.
Actually it's somewhat far-fetched to call the current bridge a part of the national patrimony, because it is not even thirty years old. It was built in the 1980s to replace an older bridge that collapsed after being rammed by a barge. The new bridge looks very much like the old one except that it was subtly re-designed to harmonize better with the next bridge upstream, the Pont Neuf.
Second photo: Love locks at night on the Pont des Arts. Surprisingly, a few couples have used combination locks, which rather misses the point of the whole thing. If one of the lovers remembered the combination, he or she could simply return and remove the lock. (Not exactly eternal love, is it?)
Update 2012: One of the nearby book stalls on the right bank of the Seine is now selling small padlocks for 3.50 Euros, which just goes to show that eternal love does not have to be expensive. Slightly larger sizes are on sale for 4.50 or 6.00 Euros.
Métro Pont Neuf
GPS 48°51'30.88" North; 2°20'14.82" East
1. Good advice from the mayor
As in many other cities, the mayor's office in Paris has started putting up electronic signboards to announce coming events and give good advice to the citizenry. The message this time says:
"Heat over Paris. Aged or frail persons should prefer the shade and drink very often."
Opps, do I qualify as being an aged person? Maybe they noticed me cycling around in the sun all day? Well, I did drink a lot of water, in any case. And kept reapplying sunblocker to avoid getting sunburnt.
Second photo: I'm a sucker for a clever advertisement, and the one I liked best during the Paris heat wave was this one for Perrier mineral water about how to make a drink called L'Extincteur (The Extinguisher) with 1/3 Perrier and 2/3 Perrier. I even went so far as to order Perrier with my meals sometimes, which is unusual for me because I have great confidence in the quality of Parisian tap water and not so much confidence in the quality of water that has been stagnating in a bottle for months on end.
1. Demonstration in Avenue Victoria
If you cycle around Paris for a few days you are bound to come across a demonstration of some sort. This one in Avenue Victoria was in front of the Public Hospital Administration, to protest the closing of a nursing school.
Unlike some demonstrations in the suburbs which can turn very nasty, this one was totally peaceful and even joyful, but to prove they were serious about their protest they stayed here for over four hours chanting and singing.
Second photo: This girl has written the slogan on the back of her shirt: No to the closing of Necker.
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