Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I did not leave the house at all Monday. I'd planned on it - I'd wanted to check out the last of the soldes and then head over to Aimee's café to say hello. But Metéo France's dire predictions of rain and gale-force winds kept me inside. I was only slightly bitter that night when I realized that their forecasts were several hours off and the wind didn't really pick up until around midnight.

So I thought to myself "Well, that's okay, you can go out Tuesday instead." Unfortunately what I did not know was that there was a huge student protest scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. I ran into my building's concierge in the hallway, and he told me it was expected to be a violent one. They'd removed all the cars from the streets and some of the small stores had even decided to close up shop for the afternoon. I still had plans to go out and profite of the last day of the soldes, but my plans were foiled again when I got downstairs. The were hoards of policemen on the streets and they weren't letting anyone in or out of the residential buildings. So back upstairs I went, to watch all the fuss from my window:The whole thing seemed rather peaceful to me - but then again, I guess it's better to err on the side of caution, you know how these things can turn on a dime. Just look at Leesa's experience with a much smaller student manif that took place a week ago. It seemed fine to me as they went by my place but it had practically turned into a riot just a few blocks later.

Here's a short video I took - you'll notice at the end of the video that the crowd goes up the street as far as the eye can see (grr, Blogger wouldn't upload the video, so I had to upload it to YouTube instead and lost some of the image quality in the process):

And I'm not really sure what the point of this thing is, but I had to laugh at the dude carrying the Breton flag. You'll always see a few of them at any manif, no matter what the protest is about.This is one of the biggest protests I've seen in front of my place though - the people just kept coming and coming, for a good solid two hours.The whole thing was followed up by a bunch of police vans:and then of course bringing up the rear were the street cleaners. They do a good job, ten minutes after it ended, you'd have never known a massive protest had just taken place.



Blogger Frogmae said...

oh yes the joy of France's demonstration! I never took part in any of those, because even if I had some interests, there are always people to get into trouble and mess up with would lead to a riot and the Gendarmerie intervention, some people get hurt or taken by the police... The thing is, demonstrate to show ones disagreement ok but it always disrupt the bus and car traffic, but also as you just wrote, pedestrians according to where you live!

February 11, 2009 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger DiaryofWhy said...

Oh, the excitement I miss out on not living in Paris. C'est triste.

February 11, 2009 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

one of the perks of living in paris i entertainment right outside your window!

P.S. you wrote "France's dire predictions..." and I read it like 4 times saying "dire" like "deer" in french not understanding the sentence til i realized it was "dire" as in "die-er" poor little franglais brain.

February 11, 2009 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

OOOPS! Hey, as I was reading this, I totally was thinking of my incident and then read further where you linked to it... So, it's probably better that you stayed put... I think the police LOVE spraying tear gas.. Seriously... since I've been here, I've be hit with tear gas 3 times and one was just outside the public restrooms at Velizy mall... So, go figure!!! I've NEVER experienced tear gas in the U.S.!!
Anyhow... Sorry you missed Aimee's on Monday... Dawn and I were there for a few hours- from about noon to around 3 pm or so..... Too bad... It wasn't really that windy but it was wet and gloomy..
Take care,

February 11, 2009 at 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a fondness for the street cleaners... Once a place I was staying at flooded, and I left really early in the morning with as much as my things as I could. There were no taxi's and I spoke basically no French. But one of the street cleaners figured out that I wanted a cab and called one for me! I was so grateful. It was a awful, wet, rainy, gloomy morning.

Crystal- I know all about the franglais brain. Sometimes I don't know what language I speak...

February 11, 2009 at 10:29 PM  

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