Canada and France are two very different countries, and while there are many things we find odd in Paris, I’m sure the reverse is true as well. Our street back home gets cleaned once per year, in the springtime, and it’s done mainly to get rid of all the sand and gravel they’ve laid down over the winter to give our cars some traction. Obviously our street at home does not get the same amount of traffic as those in Paris, however it still seems odd that the streets here are cleaned on a weekly (and sometimes more often) basis.
How are they cleaned? Well, they start by opening water valves that are located in the gutters, and then they let the water gush out for an hour or so (think fire hydrant). While this is happening, someone walks along with a broom and makes sure to sweep any garbage (mostly cigarette buts and dog poo) into the water stream. I should probably clarify at this point that this is potable water they are using! So in Canada where we are told to conserve our water, install low flush toilets, and turn the tap off while brushing your teeth, our efforts are clearly being negated by the weekly flow of water flushing the streets clean.
I think it becomes a chicken and egg sort of thing as the streets need to be cleaned because people throw all their garbage in the gutters, but the people throw their garbage in the gutters because they know the streets are cleaned on a regular basis.