If you’ve been reading The Vivienne Files for a while, you might have noticed that when I go to Paris, I don’t seem to do any of the “normal” things! Nor do I take the normal photographs…
For example, I was amused, and really impressed, to see that a lot of the utility boxes on the streets in Paris were painted with cool, stylized portraits of writers! I’d never heard of Victor Schoelcher – had to look him up… And there was a LOT of attention being paid to Simone Veil – new books about her, re-releases of books by her, etc.
If you come into Paris from the airport in a cab, you will perhaps be startled by how much graffiti there is along the highway. It’s all that usual “tagging” kind of thing – big balloon letters spelling out things that don’t make any sense to the uninitiated! But once you’re in the city, the people who put up art, or stickers, or tiles (yep, tiles) take more pains to be both amusing and intelligent.
Similarly, I saw some pretty funny things in store windows…
This was the side balcony of a cafe…
I don’t know if the yellow signs I saw were in any way connected to the “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) protestors, but the messages certainly seem to be something that they would find agreeable.
Maybe the next time I’m in Paris I will go to the elite sausage bar… I’m still struggling to imagine just exactly what that might be!
I think that comparing this month’s protests in Paris to those of 1968 is… ambitious. I was in Paris for 7 days, and did not see any protests, nor protestors. The protests that DID happen were confined to just a few neighborhoods, and didn’t spill over at all to the area around the Universities (where you might have imagined they’d run rampant!), nor into the Marais.
And if you’re in need of a fabric chicken, I can hook you up with a range of them…
What I really don’t convey in these photographs is how FAR off the ground some of these stickers are – easily 10 feet up! I never see anybody putting them up – I’d love to. I need to haunt one of these neighborhoods later at night, I think!
I particularly like this – especially on Christmas Eve. What’s the missing piece to just about everything?
p.s. – tomorrow I will post more photographs – holiday decorations that caught my eye, as well as some jewelry that tempted me. REALLY tempted me…
I faithfully read your article as soon as they are published, never being disappointed.
I like very much the way you explore Paris, always bringing back unexpected pictures.
Being French, may I tell you something about your translation of the yellow text from Vaclav Havel ?
The last word (prochain) doesn’t mean future but neighbor, as in Luke 10 25-37, which is also part of the actual yellow vests’ message.
Wonderful! That makes so much sense…
Thanks for sharing,
That explains why I never saw any graffiti art when I was in Paris in 1990, as I tend to look straight ahead when walking to avoid tripping over or falling into holes! It helps if you can read French too, otherwise the little messages would make no sense at all.
Great fun though, exploring the side streets and back allies away from the madding crowd.
Taste of France says
The “I love you” is what you say in French when plucking petals off a flower–like “he loves me, he loves me not.”
Sage indeed means wise but also means well-behaved, or good. “Soit sage!” is the equivalent of the command “behave!”
The Haute Saucisse Bar was written up in the Nouvel Observateur: https://o.nouvelobs.com/food/20170213.OBS5255/comment-la-saucisse-est-revenue-a-la-mode.html
And a piece about les Illustrés painted on utility boxes (and mail boxes, etc.). C215 is the name of the artist: http://leblogdelili.fr/street-art-pantheon-illustres-c215/
Thanks for all of this – writing The Vivienne Files is a learning experience!
Taste of France says
Even though I live here in France, your posts are always enlightening. I appreciate your eye for detail, your overall aesthetic and your joie de vivre.
You have a great eye for detail here, as in your wardrobe posts. It’s fun to look about, isn’t it. And Paris shop windows are always rewarding. So much style and imagination!
Merry Christmas Janice! May your day be merry and bright. I wore a Christmas pin on the right side of my warm tunic yesterday. Paris is wonderful, however I’m as content as possible in my mountain home in Montana. The snow is gently falling and the ski hill is calling! Blessings to you and your belovest. ?
Merry Christmas, Janice and also to your readers. I don’t often comment but I am a faithful and inspired reader. I loved your pictures and appreciate the translations as my high school French has pretty much lost it (as in use it or lose it)! I have been contemplating what one does with a fabric chicken–hang it in the kitchen I guess.
Thanks for sharing these Paris moments!
Merry Christmas to you and yours—-
Lisa in Canada
I love these photographs – I have always loved graffiti and street art, so to see Parisian street art, graffiti and stickers…! Heaven! Thanks for sharing your fun and thoughtful artistic sensibilities.