Protesters in Paris, December 2018

If you are reading this in 2018 you will know that Paris has been rocked recently by violence with protesters.  People wondered if it would be a safe idea to spend Christmas in this beautiful city, and I was one of them.  In the end, we kept our long-held plans and arrived in the French capitol, ready for Christmas.

I’ve witnessed the tail end of a march by the Gilets jaunes, the name given to the protesters. What I saw was peaceful.  Other than that, it’s been fine.

But, walking around in the Champs-Élysées, which is where the violent protests — complete with window smashing and car burning — were for the preceding 3 or 4 weekends, there were a few remnants of the damage done to the businesses and monuments.  I photographed them here:

 

On the Arc de Triomphe I saw a small splotch of the red paint that had been sprayed on this grand monument:

 

fullsizeoutput_94c  Here’s the cleaned arch.

IMG_4369 See the red paint above the cornice line?  Almost invisible.

 

The Louis Vuitton store had covered their lower windows with metal bracing.

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Another store’s windows were smashed and the store remains closed, with this light wood covering:

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The only other thing I noticed was the graffiti on the large advertisement with Julia Roberts for Lancome cosmetics. The graffiti, “ça pue le luxe” means, in English, “it stinks of luxury.”

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I sympathize with the protestors; at the heart of their complaints is that while Paris and the rich of France live high on the hog, the rest of the country struggles to maintain a basic living standard.

 

 

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