Today, Sunday, I jumped on the metro and headed over to Avenue de Friedland which runs parallel to the Champs-Elysées. I wanted to witness the damage caused by the gilets jaunes protests that take place every Saturday in the center of the city (and in other cities around the country.)
I was particularly shocked to see this hotel boarded up and looking derelict. Back in the 1980s and 90s, my mother and I stayed in this lovely hotel. I actually walked inside and wanted to say to the receptionist “Are you OK?”
I walked the entire length of the avenue which eventually turns into Boulevard Haussmann. It was eerie, especially on a Sunday when there’s not much traffic.
FISCAL JUSTICE. This is the NUMBER ONE complaint of the French people. When President Macron slapped an additional tax on elderly retirees who struggle to live decently on their tiny pensions, that was the LAST STRAW. It was this clumsy mistake – plus the rise in gasoline prices – that triggered the gilets jaunes protests. And meanwhile behemoth corporations who earn billions in profits each year pay no tax whatsoever. Unfair and unjust.
This is ironic. ETAT DE SIEGE means STATE OF SIEGE, but it’s a play on words. The store sells chairs. The word “siège” refers to a chair or a seat.
All banks were boarded up, including cash machines.
Much is broken. But the worst is the broken trust in government (and politicians.) No trust whatsoever.
At 2:30 pm I was standing on the Place Saint Augustin. Then I walked down the Boulevard des Malesherbes towards Place de la Madeleine.
Here’s another bank with the graffiti RENDEZ LA TUNE which means ‘return the money.’ Except it’s spelled THUNE (slang for money).
Other graffiti in the streets of Paris includes the following (these are not my photos) –