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Mtro Tickets and Parking Tickets

Saturday mid afternoon leaving Eurocentres, co-coordinator Marie-Elisabeth Crochard loaded up her car and I headed for the bus with a shopping cart filled to the brim with leftovers. We had a full house at the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group La Rentrée Hot Dog Party, but as usual, we had too much of everything — too many dogs, too many buns, too much ketchup, too many bags of potato chips and too much soda. Luckily, I was wearing my new Z-Coil shoes for long distance walking, as the bus wasn’t going in the normal direction, thanks to yet another “manif” (“manifestation” — demonstration) on the streets of Paris.

Shrugging my shoulders in good French style, while dragging the cart behind me as I wandered toward the river to cross to the right bank, I headed for the BHV department store to buy a thing or two. It was then I learned the reason the 96 bus was bypassing the usual route near the Hôtel de Ville. Riot police were positioned at the corners of Pont Notre Dame to greet hundreds of motorcyclists protesting their grievances with the city hall, mostly regarding the lack of parking and their inability to park legally on the sidewalks, for which there are heavy fines.

The flyers handed out by participating bikers were sponsored by the “Fédération Française des Motards en Colère” — The French Federation of Angry Motorcyclists! Leave it to the French to have an organization for the sole purpose of expressing their dissatisfaction! From what I could tell, they weren’t very angry at all — it seemd as if they were all having a whole lot of fun! (Hey, what’s so bad about an afternoon in the sun in the City of Light, all with police escorts?)

There are many ways to enter the BHV, one of which is via the Métro entrance at the Hôtel de Ville. I always wondered how the BHV got so lucky as to be recognized by the RATP as a major destination like Le Louvre or the Gard du Nord…but it is really, and possibly more visited than either (!). That entrance is also the pedestrian route to the parking garage under the BHV.

I took the corner entrance at rue du Temple instead. The BHV was the busiest I have ever seen it. Lines formed at the bottom of the escalators to hitch a ride up to the merchandise-packed floors where they are currently running their “Les 6 Jours du BHV” promotion (through October 7th). I couldn’t tell if the shopping cart I had in tow was a help or a hindrance to ward off the bargain-hunting crowds.

Last week, however, somebody took a wrong turn. Either that, or even Parisian drivers know they can get across town faster by Métro than by car! There is also the possibility that they were so anxious to hit the sales at the BHV before anyone else, they decided to bypass the parking garage and go straight for the door!

Thanks to Cara Scouten, staff member of Parismarais.com, who had her eye and camera handy, we can all be witness to the Métro’s newest passenger. Wonder if they had their Métro ticket ready? I’ll bet they walked (or rode) away with a ticket of their own, thanks to the Paris police!

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]

P.S. Keep your eyes out for our announcement to do a one-day seminar in December the week between Christmas and New Year’s in Paris! To be on a special mailing list to learn more, email Schuyler Hoffman at [email protected]

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