paris/just back/weird question?

Old Apr 11th, 2004, 04:24 AM
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paris/just back/weird question?

Hi all. My DH and I just got back from Paris, his 3d trip, my first. I had no expectations and went with an open mind. For the 1st 2 days I didn't get it, I thought just another busy city. But something happened that I can't explain by day 3 and I started getting it, and by the end of the week was in love with Paris. I think the real clincher was on our last day, walking through the metro station, and as we turned a corner there was an 11 piece chamber orchestra playing! It was wonderful, we stopped, like many others and listened for awhile. When we finally pulled ourselves away and got on the metro, tears just ran down my face, I was so moved! The love affair has begun! We also went to Rome, which I did NOT love, but took a day trip to Florence which I DID love, and want to go back. Anyhow, my weird question is this. What is up with the metro trashcans? At least they LOOK like trashcans. Metal boxes hung on the wall, no opening in the top, and these mysteriously appearing, new and clean cardboard boxes underneath. People just seem to pile the trash on top of the metal boxes, and the cardboard boxes catch the overflow. Does anyone have an answer?? Thanks, JudyB
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 04:52 AM
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I started going to Paris in 1996 and I certainly share your great love of this special city. During periods of higher security, trash containers in public places (not just the metro) are often closed to prevent the possibility of people planting explosive devices in them.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 04:59 AM
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Hi Judy,

It seems like you've answered your own question. I've always seen trash in those metal containers on the wall in the metro stations (although have never noticed the cardboard boxes underneath). Maybe there is so much trash these days the workers can't get around to picking it up as quickly so the cardboard boxes are collecting the overflow rather than having it fall all over the walkways.

If your question is about why don't people just throw the trash into the boxes underneath the trash containers instead of piling it up in the containers then I would say that people are creatures of habit and just keep piling up the trash as they've always done.

Glad you fell in love with Paris; it is a special place. I remember hearing harp music in one of those stations with miles of tunnels. I had a long walk to make a connection and heard the music throughout the entire walk, although never saw a harpist. The music echoed and re-echoed through the metro and was so beautiful. I still have that memory after 20 years.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 05:23 AM
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When we were in Paris in 1997, we noticed that people were throwing their trash "at" the trash recepticles on the street, instead of in the slot on the can. There were huge piles of trash around every can we saw. I'm usually very conscious about my litter, so it felt kind of weird at first, just throwing my trash on the ground. We concluded that the lids were sealed for security purposes, and then we reflected on the fact that Europeans have had to deal with terrorism for decades, and we were lucky (naive?) that terrorism was not prevalent where we live, in the USA (pre 9-11).

By the way.....I was cleaning my husband's woodworking shop the other day, sweeping up a pile of dirt off the floor, when I noticed a little piece of green paper among all the sawdust. I picked it up for closer inspection and was perplexed to discover that it was a Paris metro ticket from our trip in 1997!! How did it get into the workshop? And seven years later? It's not like the floor hasn't been swept in seven years. Is Paris calling for us to return? Are the tickets still green? Peace.

Robyn
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 05:35 AM
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Robyn, we just returned from Paris with a pocketful of Metro tickets and they are. . .
.
.
.
.
purple! Sounds like you need to go back and get some of these to add to your collection.

JudyB, how interesting to hear of your reactions to Paris and Rome. Somehow, I'm not surprised that your Paris turning point had a musical accompaniement. . . .music (and wonderful smells) are a big part of my sense memories of the city.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 05:38 AM
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Robyn, if that were me, I would definitely take it as a sign!! Every time something remotely French happens to me, I start looking to book my next trip to Paris!
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 05:45 AM
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Hi JudyB--glad you enjoyed your trip to Paris. I appreciate what you wrote about "not getting it" (Paris) at first...my husband and I felt the same way early in our trip--travel weary, perhaps? Anyway, in the end we totally got it and didn't want to leave...and now can't wait to go back! Thanks for your report!
 
Old Apr 11th, 2004, 05:59 AM
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My wife, daughter and I went to Paris for the 1st time in 2001. We had the same reaction as you described. I hate big cities but love Paris. We are going back this June. Because I am the best son-in-law in the world (my wife's words) we are taking my her mother. Luckily we get along well (usually)
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 06:42 AM
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I didn't notice anything unusual with trash in Metro station during my recent trip to Paris, but I've always noticed that there are no trash cans almost anywhere in the UK. Not on trains, not in stations, very few on the streets. That's because of the IRA bombs planted in trash cans the 70's and 80's.

So, people just put the trash somewhere, and others follow, and there will be a big pile. They do have people picking up trash on trains and stations, so they will be gone someday.

I am thinking that this Paris thing may have to do with the recent Madrid bombings...
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 07:26 AM
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It was in a documentary that I learned that those metro performers have to audition in order to play there. That's probably why they perform so well, they're the best.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 07:26 AM
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Purple!

I wonder when they changed, and how many other colors there have been?

If I remember correctly, all the performers that you see and hear on the Paris Metro are licensed by the City. I believe they pay a fee for the privilege of being able to perform (and request tips). There are only so many licenses issued, therefore, you get a better quality of performance, like an 11 piece chamber orchestra. (Forgive me if my information is incorrect.)

We were treated to two different mini-theatrical productions while riding on the Paris Metro. During one, the doors closed on the train car, and a guy whips out a black piece of cloth which he attachs to the poles at the end of the car (his prop). He procedes to do a mime piece where he pretends to take pictures of various passengers, develops the pictures, then produces the final product, which are pre-shot pictures of goofy/ugly/funny people on the train. He passes his hat, takes down the black cloth, the train doors open and he disappears. All perfectly timed to the 2-3 minute ride to the next stop. We were impressed! Isn't Paris wonderful!?! Peace.

Robyn
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 10:29 AM
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I think they changed colors at the beginning of last year (2003). I think there was one other color long ago before the green tickets.

I've never seen an 11-piece chamber orchestra on the streets, that sure would be surprising. I think I've only seen single musicians, or maybe two at the most. Although you are supposed to have a permit to be allowed to perform in the metro stations (legitimate ones have an official badge), those people who come on the cars don't have one.
The permits are for the musicians in the stations/tunnels--they aren't allowed on the platforms or trains. The official ones aren't allowed to ask for money, either, although they can have an open violin case or something on the floor (which many do) as long as they don't ask.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 01:50 PM
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Hi,
We also noticed that all the trash cans all over Paris were not useable. Indeed we found a sign in the Metro that explained all the trash can were welded closed for safety, as terrorist would put explosives in the trash cans. Indeed this cause a pile up of trash below or next to the cans. Love Paris anyway.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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The first poster who answered was right>. trash cans have been sealed to prevent the planting of bombs.

It has been so during all periods of heightened security since the beginning of the 90's, when trash cans had been used to plant bombs during a serie of attacks (in subway, markets, etc..) in Paris related to islamist activity in Algeria.

Not only the trash can were convenient to conceal the package in case someone would have noticed it, but since some thrash cans had metal parts in them, it made the explosion more devastating.

Since the 9/11, trash cans have been sealed most of the time, or perhaps even *all* the time, I don't even remember. In the streets, they've been replaced in many places by transparent plastic bags. I'm not sure why they don't do the same in all the metro stations.
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Old Apr 11th, 2004, 10:10 PM
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I'm so glad someone answered that question. When we were in London, I was really perplexed (and annoyed) at the lack of public trash cans, and it didn't even cross my mind that they would have been removed for security reasons. I just wandered for blocks, carrying my trash, getting more and more annoyed - husband and I just commented about it the other day when we couldn't find a trash can for a few blocks ("remember how in London they didn't have ANY?"), and it was 1.5 years ago we were there!
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Old Apr 12th, 2004, 06:43 AM
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Here is the lowdown on the trash cans. It has to do with the "Plan Vigipirate" which is basically like the homeland security levels in the US. We went to orange after the even in Spain and the trash cans were sealed. The cardboard box below is for trash. They were open prior to the Spanish attack and had been for several months.
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