‘Everyone is very worried’: Paris shops hit by ongoing strike


Three weeks before Christmas, Paris’s landmark department stores are virtually empty of shoppers as a result of the ongoing transport strike. Shopkeepers are worried for their future if it continues.

December is the most important month for shopkeepers, but Paris shops had a distinct lack of customers for the first Saturday of the month.

Landmark department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, had few customers on Saturday, December 7. Three Saturdays before Christmas, it was also day three of a transport strike protesting the government’s proposed pension reform.

This strike has paralysed much of Paris and has been termed ‘unlimited’, which means there is no set finish date. There are genuine fears that it could last at least another week; some are even predicting it might continue until Christmas.

There were some cars on Boulevard Haussmann and on other main streets, but the pavements were noticeably thin on pedestrians. There was a distinct absence of crowds in the traditional build-up to Christmas that many shops depend on. Few were stopping to admire the Christmas windows

‘We’re fearing for our survival’: Independent shops at risk

If the big department stores are worrying about their revenues, small independent shops have to worry about their actual survival.

“We’re fearing for our survival,” stated the union representing independent shopkeepers in a letter published in Le Parisien this week, imploring shoppers not to let the transport strike stand in their way and to shop in this month crucial to shopkeepers.

“For more than a year, there have been protests every Saturday by Yellow Vests, lawyers, police officers, nurses… and our customers have turned on their heels.”

“In Paris, Lille, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Rouen, many of us saw our turnover drop. Some of us are drowning in bank charges, struggling to repay loans and have even closed down shops,” the union wrote.

Shops are the hearts of cities, they appealed, but customers are the heart of merchants. Without customers pushing through the door, they will have to shut and cities will die [ . . .  ]

Read more at FRANCE 24: ‘Everyone is very worried’: Paris shops hit by ongoing strike

Paris’ hidden vineyards

Tucked amid the city’s urban sprawl, dozens of secluded vineyards dot the French capital and produce some of France’s most exclusive wines.

When I first met Irene Henriques, it was the hottest-recorded week in French history. She was standing at the foot of her vineyard wearing long trousers and a thick khaki workman’s coat. When I asked how she wasn’t melting, she laughed and replied in her soft-spoken voice, “After 30 years of wine-growing, you get used to it.”

Gesturing towards the rolling, bucolic hill behind us, Henriques begged, “It’s beautiful, no?” I had to agree. The land that she and her team have spent decades cultivating looks like a Rococo painting come to life; an Arcadian vision of the French countryside. Climbing wisteria and lilacs line the surrounding iron fence, while apple and pear trees provide much-needed shade. Henriques’ most important crops, the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Muscat grapes, crown the hill, gorging themselves on sunlight.

France has strict vine-planting regulations, and until recently, only certain regions – including Bordeaux, Bourgogne and Champagne – could bottle and sell wine commercially. But in 2016, an EU-mandated liberalisation of the French wine sector extended the right to sell wine commercially throughout most of France. Yet, wines produced within the French capital can still not be sold to commercial markets because of the perceived threat urban pollution may have on the grapes.

But the goal of Parisian vineyards was never to make money. So rather than going from wine cellars to wine sellers, the bottles have always been auctioned off to benefit the city during harvest time. Also, because the vines are owned and operated by the City of Paris, you can’t just go for a tasting or a tour, as you can in other French regions. Continue reading “Paris’ hidden vineyards”

Municipal in Paris: the ex-LR mayor of the 5th arrondissement joins Benjamin Griveaux

Florence Berthout is the second ex-LR mayor to support the official candidate for The Republic on the march for the March 2020 municipal elections.

In early June, she still chaired the group Republicans (LR) and related to the council of Paris. But for the municipal elections in March 2020 Florence Berthout, the mayor’s 5 th District, decided not to support Rachida Dati, invested candidate by the party of the traditional right, with which it has relationships appalling. This Friday, November 22, she announced to rally to Benjamin Griveaux, the official candidate of The Republic in motion (LRM). Without taking her presidential party card, she plans to present in her district a diverse list right backed by LRM. [ . . . ] Continue at : Municipal in Paris: the ex-LR mayor of the 5th arrondissement joins Benjamin Griveaux

Paris mayor troubled by new Olympic sponsor Airbnb, vows referendum on home-sharing firm

The IOC signed up Airbnb as an Olympic sponsor sparking concerns from 2024 host city Paris that the home-sharing company is contributing to the rising cost of rents in the French capital.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who has been at odds with Airbnb in recent years, set out her issues with the platform to IOC President Thomas Bach last week after news of the sponsorship leaked.

Hidalgo wrote to Bach to “alert him of the risks and consequences” of the International Olympic Committee deal, Paris city hall told The Associated Press.

At the Airbnb sponsorship announcement on Monday morning, Bach was asked about criticism of Airbnb, including pricing people out of cities.

“It is quite normal that such a disruptive business then needs to settle and needs regulation,” Bach said, before details of the Paris complaint were known. “This is happening in a dialogue with Airbnb and cities and countries.”

Paris took legal action against the platform this year in a bid to have the company fined €12.5 million for allowing owners to rent their properties without having them properly registered.

In her letter, Hidalgo expressed her “absolute determination to make sure regulations relating to rental platforms are reinforced” [ . . . ]

Continue at: Paris mayor troubled by new Olympic sponsor Airbnb, vows referendum on home-sharing firm