While we like to point out the differences between Canada and Paris, we do hope you all understand that we are merely making observations here, we’re not trying to tell Parisians how they should or shouldn’t run their city. Hopefully you, the readers enjoy our observations and see some of the peculiarities in them.
Our new neighbourhood is quite a bit different from the one we used to live in. While our old neighbourhood (the 7th) was all about tourism (Eiffel Tower, Ecole Militaire, Les Invalides, Unesco, etc.) and very high end apartments and nice restaurants, our new district (the 18th) is the “real” Paris. This is where more of the working class actually lives, the apartments aren’t as fancy, the streets aren’t as clean.
While you see dog poop all over Paris (and France for that matter), I’ve never seen so much all over the sidewalks as in the 18th. These veritable land mines litter the sidewalks and force you to dance your way down the street, that’s right the 18th is the Afghanistan of Paris….
We’ve become used to this fact of life, however we were surprised to see the above instructional sign from the City of Paris in a shop window. The title translates to “I love my 18th district clean”, and each row of pictures is supposed to show the new and improved methods we should all adopt in order to keep our area cleaner. First of all, we shouldn’t throw our litter on the sidewalk, by putting it in the garbage bins (which are every 50m along the sidewalks) it will look cleaner (unbelievable!). Next line, if our dog drops a hot steaming turd in the middle of the sidewalk, your neighbourhood would be cleaner if you picked it up and threw it in the abundance of garbage cans. Third line – if you have to urinate, instead of whipping it out in public and peeing on the side of a public building (they are NOT shy here!), you should find something called a “toilet” and hide your shame (this might make the streets smell a bit better too, just a thought). And finally, if you are moving/cleaning out your apartment, your garbage doesn’t belong on the curb/ in the middle of the road.
These suggestions may sound obvious to us, however either there aren’t enough of these signs plastered across the city, or the diagrams are too complicated as I can’t say I’ve noticed much improvement.