A friend who is a historian and has lived in Paris for over 35 years was discoursing the other day about how much France has changed since he’s been here. He predicted that the country’s status would be going up in the world as that of others (we won’t mention any names) declines. Here are a few small examples I have gathered of how France is changing – for the better or for the worse depends on your point of view:
- In 2017, 1 million French people stopped smoking!
- Those who still smoke and stub out their butts on the ground in Paris will be subject to fines from the city’s new Brigade des Incivilités, 3,200 strong.
In case you haven’t noticed, Paris, too, has changed: most people now clean up after their dogs, for example. Let’s hope that the brigade will also help eliminate a human by-product, the parfum de Paris that seems to get stronger every day: urine. Beware, beer drinkers and other offenders!
And let’s hope the brigade will also discourage another scourge of Paris: motorcyclists who drive and/or park on the sidewalks.
- The National Assembly has voted to make doggie bags obligatory in restaurants to reduce waste. The owner of the restaurant Yoshinori will not be pleased. The law will not go into full effect until July 2021, and does not apply to all-you-can-eat restaurants.
- The government is trying new tacks to raise money for worthy causes. Last week, Culture Minister Françoise Nyssen published the list of 270 historical sites, 18 of them “emblematic,” whose restoration will be financed by the new Loto du Patrimoine (Heritage Lottery), created to supplement the ministry’s budget of €326 million for the maintenance and restoration of listed historic monuments.
One example is the charming Villa Viardot (pictured at the top of the page), the small château in the Paris suburb of Bougival where the mezzo-soprano Pauline Viardot (1821-1910) lived and entertained the great European composers and musicians of her time. For the full list of monuments that will be financed, click here.
To participate, buy a Loto du Patrimoine scratch card for €15 as of September 3. You will have a one-in-three chance of at least winning the price of the ticket back; the maximum win is €1.5 million. On September 14, a super-lottery drawing will determine the winner of a €13 million jackpot. If all the tickets are sold, the Ministry of Culture will pocket €18.24 million.
Use the Comments window below to tell us about other changes you have noticed in Paris.