Thursday, March 31, 2005

Polite Paris

Paris wants you to be polite when using public transportation. It started with the buses. A few months ago, these little brightly colored stickers were placed in the buses near particular seats... is someone carrying heaving bags, please be kind and let the person sit here....is someone in a wheelchair, please let the person use this space ... kind of thing. Because these signs are brightly colored, they attracted my son's attention and he would spend the time reading all the little signs.

Recently, the metro added signs too. These signs, as you approach your train, tell you to keep the rhythm. The first part of the sign reminds you to let people get off the train. Once the people are off, then it is your turn to get on the train. The third part of the sign reminds you that once the train door closure alarm rings, don't try to jump on the train but rather just wait for the next train.

So when in Paris... be polite and for goodness sake keep the rhythm -- the metro tango!

-- said Auntie M in Paris
4:06 PM



Hi Auntie –

Decals, stickers and brochures are far cheaper than law enforcement personnel. A great deal of the hassles that metro police and CRS have to deal with (and which blow up into violence, according to Le Parisien) are caused by what the French term "incivilités" and "incivisme", roughly meaning "lack of politeness" and "reluctance to follow the rules". Hopefully this campaign will make a bit of difference. Hopefully. Hopefully.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 6:28 PM  

think washington dc metro and um we can tell them, good luck with that...

love yer blog

dream of visiting paris in my life

# posted by Patty : 11:28 PM  

We have signs on Chicago buses and trains too. They star a man named Jack. We also have an audio recording that comes on to remind us all to remove our back packs from our backs because they bump other riders. It's just too bad that people have to be reminded to be polite.

# posted by pismire : 5:53 AM  

Maybe they should ALSO post signs of people NOT FROWNING once in a while while riding the metro... Parisians always look so miserable while taking public transportation... ah, if it were so easy...

# posted by Sammy : 7:37 AM  

There are signs in my neighbourhood that say, "J'aime mon quartier. Je ramasse." Then, you look on the ground and see dog poop...

# posted by Oz : 9:27 AM  

L'A, I don't take the metro that often, but I don't think I've ever seen an altercation. But if there is a problem with violence, I hope this campaign works!
Patty, I lived in DC and I definitely thought people were pushy there.
Pismire, I'm constantly amazed when people are on a really crowded train and leave their back packs on their shoulders. I'm constantly getting hit and the person has no idea and keeps moving around. Maybe we could use a similiar sign here... there are tons of backpackers here.
Sammy, I thought the Parisian frown was their smile! If someone smiles at me I assume they are a foreigner.
Oz, I still don't know which rules are the rules you follow and which are the rules you don't. There are so many, many rules in France and it seems most of them are disregarded by people.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 8:18 PM  

Hi Auntie –

>>There are so many, many rules in France
>>and it seems most of them are disregarded
>>by people.

Difference in cultures. (smile)

I know many, many French people who have returned from the USA after having lived there (not tourists – people who lived and worked there). Many of them say: "There are so many, many rules in the USA, far more than in France, and it seems all of them are followed by the people. C'est affreux !"


# posted by L'Amerloque : 8:54 AM  

L'A, I agree that there are many, many rules in the US. The difference is that people seem to abide to most rules.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 8:35 PM  

I leave in Paris and I remember the stickers with the bunny who told you not to jump on the train when the bell rings and not to put your hands on the doors...
The bunny is too old, now!

# posted by Alex : 2:09 PM  

You know, once again, I wonder why Susan Spano at the LA Times has the job she does (faux blogging, weakly, lamely, uninterestingly) from Paris...and you and/or Jason Stone weren't chosen instead. Your blog is fantastic. I will make it a regular read.

# posted by Amy Alkon : 7:20 PM  

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