Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    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

COMMENT(S)