Whether you're moving overseas, into a smaller space, or simply in the mood for a bit of spring cleaning, Parisian bookworms looking to quickly unload boxes of books have several options in Paris where they can be donated to a good cause. In any case, don't just throw them out!
Smoking may be banned indoors in France, but the sidewalk cafés and parks are all still full of people intent on stinking up the fresh air around them. Happily, this year the Mairie de Paris opened up what were once the mayor's private gardens to the general public every weekend and holidays.
And it's a strictly non-smoking garden!
There are many blogs by American expats in Paris that like to point out all of the "weird" things about France. Things that the French, of course, don't find strange at all, for example:
- The toilet is always separate from the bathroom
- They put the bread directly on the table, next to the plate, when eating
- They require fitted, speedo-style bathing suits in public swimming pools
- They wear scarves even in the summer, with a t-shirt
- Medicine is all behind the counter at the pharmacy
What most Americans don't realize is that the French living among them in the United States also find a few things to be rather strange.
Last night the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo were honored for the courage at the PEN American Center, despite protests from some writers who still mistakenly think these cartoonists, including the ones murdered in their office by masked gunmen in January, promote racism and religious hatred. Anyone who took even five minutes to read about the lifelong work and beliefs of these cartoonists would learn they are actively anti-racist. Offensive? Sure. But they attack ideas and beliefs, not people (unlike the hate group in Texas which actively promotes hatred of actual people based on their race and religion).
Several writers have admirably responded to the protests, including Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker (PEN has every Right to Honor Charlie Hebdo, Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic (The Dangerous Myths about Charlie Hebdo), who includes links to many more excellent rebuttals, a saucy article by James Kirchick in The Walrus (Weaker than the Sword), and an interview with one of Charlie Hebdo’s editors Jean-Baptist Thoret on NPR’s All Things Considered. Check out France 24’s video coverage of the awards ceremony (including uncensored comments by Salman Rushdie).
After dealing with the annual cleanup of 315 tons of cigarette butts, aka mégots, the City of Paris has finally declared war on the ugly pollutants. Starting today they are installing 10,000 ashtrays and snuffers on Parisian poubelles (trash bins) to encourage smokers to put out their cigarettes and throw the butts in the trash, not just flick them onto the streets, sidewalks and parks like they do now. But that's not all...
It’s the beginning of an information campaign which will take place throughout the summer. Beginning in September they will start issuing fines of €68 (the same fine for not cleaning up after your dog, which, since it went into law in 2002, has VASTLY reduced the number of dog poop on the city streets, as anyone who lived here before that can confirm). In 2014 the City of Paris fined 25,000 people for littering, leaving garbage on the curb, dog poop, and public urination (of humans, not dogs). My local town hall in the 13th even distributed free pocket ashtrays this afternoon on the Butte aux Cailles to “encourage” smokers to stop being total butt heads.