Paris Launches Prohibition

photo: cafe lachaise

In case prohibition is enforced in the cemetery, try this place.

Merchants Doubt Enforcement

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 25. January 1999:- I wasn't aware that drinking on the streets of Paris was prohibited in certain areas of the 17th and 18th arrondissements until I recently read that the city's Prefecture has dropped a new ban on the city centre Les Halles, Beaubourg and the Montorgueil districts.

Within this area, the evening sales of take-out drink has already been prohibited for the past 16 years, which may come as a surprise to recent visitors. This new ban prohibits collective drinking 24 hours a day on the public streets within the area.

This new order does not apply to sitting on the many café terraces in the area and having a couple of jars. The ban is directed at some 'marginaux' - not to be confused with ourphoto: flowers at lachaise and cat beloved 'clochards,' who have identical behavior - who are exasperating local merchants and residents.

This week's visit to the Père-Lachaise cemetery produced more photos than can go with the feature; here's a bonus one.

Oddly, it is only group drinking which is targeted. So if Charlie stands on one side of a street having a drink out of a litre-sized 'vin-en-plastique' with Willy who is on the other side of the four-metre-wide street, I'm not sure they would constitute a 'group.'

Fines for al fresco cocktail parties will run from 75 to 200 francs. Some merchants think the free-as-birds drinkers will seek seats in cafés to continue their idle ways, while café owners say this sort of client is not particularly appreciated. But all seem to be worried that even with the legal means, there will not be sufficient will to enforce it.

Apparently, it has been effective in the areas where it was adopted in 1997. Meanwhile, outside these limited zones, if you feel like having a slash from a mickey in a park, be my guest. Don't forget to bring the baguette and the cheese.

Tocqueville This Week

'The Tocqueville Connection' has its usual excellent coverage of endangered-species affairs, seen as always with its Franco-American outlook. This week's focus is on the Bruant Ortolan, a rare and tasty bird about the size of a small tangerine.

The hunting of Ortolans was banned 20 years ago, but so far, in France, this 'ban' has not been enforced with 'repression.' Since the birds are small, a snack for one person is about 20 of them.

Tradition calls for capturing the poor thing and then fattening it for three days before drowning it in cognac. The bird is then cooked and brought hot to the table, where diners put their napkins over their heads to capture the aroma. The birds are eaten whole; beaks, feet and all.

Hunting in France has a long history and a fair amount of tradition. The people opposed to it have neither and a lot of CRS riot police were needed over the weekend to keepgraphic: paris map, pere lachaise angry hunters from throwing a gang of older-looking 'greenies' into a very wet canal full of dark water.

Popular request for location map, shows the Père-Lachaise cemetery to be 1505 metres from Bastille; but not very clearly.

The battle, near a canal bridge, was fierce between the hnters and the police with many rounds of tear-gas fired. The hunters seemed to be unaware of this, as TV-news showed them calmly strolling around by the smoking bombs. The police managed to 'save' the 'greenies.' These, by the way, are growing in number and are not considered an endangered species.


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