May Day Paris 2004

Jan 16th, 2004, 01:42 PM
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May Day Paris 2004

Hi All,

I shall be taking my mother (along with others) to Paris in late April.

We shall be there over May Day (Saturday).

I'd appreciate any information regarding what will be happening that day.

ira is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 03:41 PM
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I've never been in Paris on May 1, but I've been in France a number of times on that date, and all I can tell you is that most things are closed, and everyone gives each other a bouquet of muguets des bois (lilies of the valley).
StCirq is online now  
Jan 17th, 2004, 07:59 AM
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Well as St Cirq says there will be people selling muguet everywhere. Anyone is allowed to sell it on May 1, apparently.

I've found that places that tend to be open on Sundays in Paris are often open on public holidays too. So, some stores will be open, especially in touristy areas like St Michel, Mouffetard, Montmartre, and the Champs Elysées. Most bars, cafés and restaurants will be open as usual. Banks and post offices will be closed.

It will be business as usual at the street markets in the morning. Buses and RERs will be running a Sunday service, and the metro will be running as usual. Expect parks and public attractions (those that are open) to be particularly busy.
hanl is offline  
Jan 17th, 2004, 08:22 AM
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Will there be parades, demonstrations, fireworks, special events a la July 14, or is it a quiet, family sort of day?

ira is offline  
Jan 17th, 2004, 09:21 AM
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It is International Labor Day (called Fete du Travail in France), not a fireworks/family type festive holiday. It was started for the working class and is celebrated in many countries of the world (other than US, Canada). That's why it is one of the most-observed holidays for people to have off work in major venues or positions (govt., large businesses, etc). It is custom for labor unions to march (often in the 11/12th arr, I think, starting at pl de la Republique), and even some political parties, and there are labor or political demonstrations. That isn't really the same as a parade to me -- I saw one of these once in Poland where there were various unions marching with a lot of Solidarity signs. I think of it more as a march or demonstration, but you might consider it a parade. Some of the demonstrations are more central from what I've read (not pl de la Republique or Nation). I remember a few years ago they got particularly contentious when Le Pen's supporters demonstrated in Paris.

I think the Lily of the Valley is the only non-labor thing about the day, although I'm sure someone will correct that if so, and probably has something to do with May 1st being historically somehow related to a Spring festival or something? (dancing around the maypole thing) Maybe someone else knows why they do that.
Christina is online now  
Jan 18th, 2004, 08:17 PM
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Here's a link to some information from a friend over at the web site. He's come up with about six different URLs.
Underhill is online now  
Jan 19th, 2004, 01:37 AM
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Last year,I went to Paris on May Day, most place are closed except restaurant.I remember that there were concert or demonstate at Opera and the road were closed. That time were rather quiet.
nim is offline  
Jan 19th, 2004, 04:42 AM
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Thanks all, for your helpful replies.
ira is offline  

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