Paris when it fizzles


Despite its unassailable beauty, Paris traditionally has been the butt of thousands of Francophobic jokes, which, incidentally, never seemed to bother the French a sou. When all is said and done, maybe that actually makes them the fun ones and the rest of us a bunch of shirty snobs.

But no matter how you feel about the City of Light, its recent predicament has to tug at your heartstrings just a little. Let's review. In the past three weeks, Paris has been hit with:

  • A museum-workers strike that has shuttered many of the world's great cultural institutions
  • A mass-transit strike that has turned the city into a lot de parking.
  • A mayoral proclamation closing all city parks because of gusting winds. (Gusting winds?)
  • A labor protest that forced the Gare du Nord, one of the city's major depots, to shut down.
  • Amazingly, Parisians and tourists alike seem to be reveling in the chaos, taking to the streets on bikes, on skates and on foot, some hitch-hiking their way around town. Maybe the French really are the fun ones after all.


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