Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

A thin line between fact-checking and propaganda in Gaza social media coverage

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Gaza: How to Stop the Spiral? Israel Readies For Ground Offensive

Read more

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

  • US prepared to negotiate Gaza ceasefire, Obama says

    Read more

  • Manhunt as FIFA partner flees Rio hotel to avoid arrest

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces close in on Donetsk

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Hamas rockets reaching deeper into Israel

    Read more

  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon appoints new Syria mediator

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

France

Locals shrug, tourists revel in rosy image of Paris life

©

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2013-08-09

Paris has displayed a string of playful portraits of the lives of "ordinary Parisians" on advertising billboards across the city. The public exhibition has delighted tourists but left Parisians themselves somewhat bemused.

Paris has displayed a string of portraits of the lives of “ordinary Parisians” on advertising billboards across the city, using sketches that have delighted tourists but left locals somewhat bemused.

“Les Parisiens” features 48 different comic sketches by artist Kanako in 1,000 locations around the city – see slide-show below.

“The idea is to offer something free for the summer on billboards that would otherwise be used for advertising or public service messages,” city hall spokesman Lionel Bordeaux told FRANCE 24.

“We wanted to give passers-by something to smile about, to show tourists that Parisians can laugh at themselves.”

And while the images drawn of Parisian life – playing on themes from love to philosophy, eating out and public transport – reflect a certain French stereotype, locals who spoke to FRANCE 24 were fairly dismissive.

“I suppose they are nice to look at,” said father-of-two Sylvain, with wife Elsa and his children for a day out in central Paris. “But they only seem to show a certain side of life. The people in the sketches look young, good looking, white and rich. This is not true of all Parisians.”

His wife Elsa described the images and the humour as “Bobo” – a slightly derogatory term [a play on “Bourgeois-Bohème”, meaning "rich and bohemian"] for the young and trendy. “But tourists will like it, I think,” she added.

Indifferent shrug

At Saint-Germain-des-Près in the city’s Latin Quarter, PhD student Elsa (Parisians don’t like giving family names to reporters) shrugged at a picture of a young woman who leans  off her balcony to gaze at the Eiffel Tower.

“It doesn’t reflect my life,” she said. “I suppose there are Parisians who live like this, and that’s what the tourists want to see. And if these pictures make them happy, then why not?”

Some tourists are certainly happy to see the city’s daily life so attractively portrayed.

Lisa Cody, a 50-year-old visitor from Australia, said she had been looking out for the pictures as she strolled through Paris.

“The image I had in my mind about Paris before coming here was of wealthy, attractive people in beautiful apartments,” she said. “It fits exactly with my expectations, and it’s nice of them to have translated the captions into English.”

Nick Henderson, from Oklahoma, USA, with wife Melissa, stopped at one billboard to have a look.

“I do get it,” he said. “They’re trying to show a Parisian stereotype and I suppose the pictures are nice and funny. But I’m blown away by this beautiful city and the buildings around me. So it’s difficult to give my attention to billboards.”

The exhibition runs until August 28. See slideshow below for a map of locations.

Date created : 2013-08-09

  • FRANCE

    Zeppelin tour offers bird’s eye view of Paris

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Tour Saint-Jacques reopens to Parisians after centuries

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    In pictures: Cooling off at the Paris Riviera

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)