It's a Dog's Life for Strollers

photo: cafe rue du temple
It wasn't cold, so it must have been before lunch
for this empty terrace.

Paris' Countermeasures May Include 'Repression'

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 18. January 1999:- For the first time a couple of readers have recently written to comment on the state of Paris' sidewalks. 'Yuk!' sums up their opinions. Since this magazine has been going a fair while and these were the first complaints, I did not take them too seriously.

After all, we live in downtown Europe here; mostly in apartment buildings, which are often right in the city's centre. Lots of people have dogs as pets. Just as few toilets are made for little children; practically none are made for dogs. I have no idea why this doesn't occur to prospective owners before they acquire their animal companions.

It seems to me as if the situation is better than it was 20 years ago. Either that, or I've acquired a seventh sense which enables me to avoid strange encounters without thinking about it too much.

As usual, I am probably wrong. The city itself thinks it is threatened by 'dog pollution.' The situation is 'unsatisfactory,' despite all the human, financial and technical efforts tried, abandoned or adopted, by the Ville de Paris.

They have 70 'off-road' motorcyclist pooper-scoopers - 'caninettes' - roaring around the Champs-Elysées and other boulevard sidewalks, and doggy directional signs have been painted on curbs, pointing at the gutters. Currently undergoing testing are devices with the names of 'canicanins,' 'trottcanins' and 'airecanin.'

The street-cleaners are in the act too as they sluice away 2,400 kms of Paris sidewalks, one or more times a week.

Dogs are allowed in some Paris parks - pay attention! - and some of these are equipped with 'sani-canins,' whichphoto: avenue wagram sound more numerous and practical than arrangements for people. Park workers also have bags to hand out to dog owners, and there are special receptacles for their disposal.

The Avenue de Wagram, without a dog in sight.

In the thirteenth arrondissement, the city is trying out 15 special 'watchmen,' who are supposed to advise animal lovers about etiquette - and certain laws - if necessary. Three gardens in the city are also the locations of dog education by trainers, which appear to be free of charge.

With this small army in constant operation, the city is still not happy. In France, the enforcement of laws is not systematically automatic, as many visitors may have noticed.

So the city has engaged a gang of 'Cleanliness Inspectors' to seek out the hard-core individuals who willfully ignore the laws. In 1997, they handed out 625 tickets for infractions. Fines are as high as 3,000 francs are allowed by the Code Pénal.

However, the city is thinking of going yet a step further, by asking the - police! - to hand out tickets too. This then is serious; this signals that laws previously unenforced may probably be met with - 'repression!'

'Repression' is a French word used to designate what happens when laws are enforced. The French are not fond of 'repression' and since the police are French, they are not fond of it either.

Getting tough on dog lovers may remain a preserve of the city's 'Cleanliness Inspectors,' who seek only one infraction: 'les crottes.' Of course, there is only an infraction after the deed is done, so watch your step.

Tocqueville This Week

This week's 'The Tocqueville Connection' has its usual excellent coverage of French affairs, seen as always with its Franco- American outlook. Bordeaux prices are too high and Airbus is too high for Boeing.

I give more attention to Tocqueville's cultural and 'French Style' sections because so much goes on herephoto: 2nd entry, musee du montparnasse and I am so slap-happy about it. I will miss and you will miss some interesting stuff if we both pass it up.

A view of the annex to the Musée du Montparnasse.

If you haven't heard of the death of the piano giant, little Michel Petrucciani, you can get a brief update in the current issue. In another feature, a film slated for Christmas release, was put into Paris cinemas on the day of the World Cup semi-finals last summer, killing its chances of success. Arthur Joffé's latest film, 'Que La Lumière Soit,' is about God's visit to our earth, where he tries to break into Hollywood movies, without success because he can't get a lunch date.

Imagina 99

This annual festival of digital images is mostly in Monaco, but this year there are also some activities in Paris, on Wednesday, 20 February which continue until Friday, 22. February. Organized by l'Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, or INA as it is known, this is a showcase for new talent to exhibit new stuff for the eyeballs.

The Caves of Lascaux

Take a trip through prehistory at this site located on the Culture Ministry's server and put together by specialists of dark and very old places. I was in another, similar set of caves once, and all I could think of was what the prehistoric painters' electric bill must have been, and how far it was to Montparnasse.

Almost Comic Forgetfulness

On this week's 'Scene' pagephoto: icerink, hotel de ville I wonder aloud if I have forgotten the 100th anniversary of the Opéra-Comique. Scrolling the whole page turned up nothing. In fact, I wrote about here last week and forgot about it.

This is a dog-free zone, currently right in front of Paris' Hôtel de Ville.

To make amends, I will run the Web address of the Opéra Comique again in case you missed it last week. This 'Almost Comic Forgetfulness' is due to having 'closed' my brain and mislaying its key.

Paris' 'LiveCam' Scores Hits

Hitting this site will give you some views of Paris right now from TF1-TV's 'LiveCam' unless it happens to be nighttime here, which it usually is between about 15:45 and 07:45 GMT. If you are in our modest 'continental' CET zone, nighttime is between about 16:45 and 08:45.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 3.03 - 19. January 1998 - This issue featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'Lack of Window Gazing Foils Weather Report' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Papon Says It Was Somebody Else's Fault.' The issue had two features: 'Weddings On the Cheap Unchic in Paris' and 'The Memorial of the Deportation.' Several eMails commented about 'Anti-Semitism and Captain Dreyfus.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week declared, 'Jules Verne Wedding Receptions' which I feel like running again in this issue, but probably won't.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 348 perhaps icy, perhaps snowy days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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