Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Paris no "match" for firemen strike

Today my brother called me and said, "Hurry up, I just saw a demonstration that you don't want to miss for your blog." I jumped on my scooter - yes I have a scooter now - and rushed to Place Denfert Rochereau (14th arrondissement) where there was a big demonstration of firemen. Yes people, in France even firemen go on strike and demonstrate! Needless to say this is a blessing for a photographer! More here.


  1. Aah, another fine photo to add to your "Demonstrations" album. And some mighty good looking men in uniform, too. What's the basis of their strike?

    By the way, in case you missed it from yesterday's post: "Guys, need your help. My original idea for a PDP av just isn't working out, as happens often with good ideas that are hard to execute. If you wouldn't mind, head over to my blog to cast your vote for your fave PDP photo. Assuming Eric doesn't mind, of course. If you do, Eric, then I'll pull the post on my blog. Otherwise, I'm hoping to make a kick butt PDP avatar that anyone can use. "

    Mainly I reposted that to make sure it's ok with you, Eric.

  2. Oh my, men in uniform. Is that smoke in the background that the firemen are ignoring?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. No match! Clever phrasing...There is no match(equal) to you, Eric. I can see you in my mind's eye...hopping on the scooter, whosh,ta da...there he is with his trusty camera. Terrific!

    Eric, I just read the special letter to Dr. A. Too bad he didn't understand all of it. Even though was French isn't what I would like it to be, I understood every word. Dr. A. needs the Street Language Guide to translate the comments to him for the worshippers, Johnny included, of the Grand Monsieur Eric de PDP. Voila!

  5. Oh, yeah, I've heard about that on FIP this morning. Apparently the firemen are demonstrating to have access to retirement starting at age 55 and something else, a bonus, I think. (I remember thinking that I'd love to retire at 55, too, but I suppose a firemans' job is far more demanding that mine (well in different ways) so maybe they are entitled to early retirement.

    The picture, of course, are great (love the CGT fire engine!) Thanks Eric for bringing that to us almost in Real Time.

    By the way, there is an article in Le Monde (in French) if you guys want to read about the demonstration.,1-0@2-3226,36-837094@51-837095,0.html

  6. Dr. A. I don't understand most of that either but picked up some of the bad language. I'm sure none of us here would condone that sort of message, it must have been very unpleasant and not something i would want to see.

    Eric: How exciting it must have been to get the call to go and capture the pompiers! Great set of pictures. Don't they know, though, that they shouldn't play with fire?! What are they demonstrating about? What do they want to change?

    Soosha: Men in uniform... does it every time doesn't it? lol

  7. Ah! How I love to see cute 20-something men parading around! I think that is the real reason for all the strikes....they just like parades.

    What is the reason for this strike? More money? Demand for less fires? What? And what does that huge lion signify? I wish I knew what it said on the placque.

    Literal translation into English (you can get the main idea) Google Translate.

  8. Dr. A: I couldn't figure out which one of your blogs got the comment you cut-pasted otherwise I would have written a post of my own right there to tell that poster (in French, if needs be) to chill the fuck up because that's what that poster needs to be told, right now.

    What you have is a bunch of insults strung together meaning nothing more than the poster is pretty pissed off with you right now, presumably because of the comments you have left on PDP previously. But I think you already knew that.

    I will not translate (remember that there are some kids from schools checking out this blog on a regular basis) but my advice to you would be to completely ignore this immature poster. He/she is just trying to rattle your cage to see if you'll take the bait. I wouldn't, if I were you.

    Take it easy.

  9. Susan: The lion is a large statue that sits at the Rond-Point (in English, round-about?) of Place Denfer-Rochereaux (spell?) where the demonstration took place this morning.

  10. Wise words, tomate farcie. Demonstrations are okay in my book; labor unions in our country have been weakened considerably which gives corporations more license to take advantage of workers, i.e, Northwest Airlines, my least favorite airline. Good pics, and I particularly liked those on the link.

  11. Eric, tell us about your scooter! Take a pic or get someone to snap you zipping around on it for us. lol.

    Why was it a good move to get one - quicker, easier, cheaper or simply because you thought you'd look quite dapper on one? Oh i know, it's the pose you are practising for that poster, isn't it ? I'm only teasing...and i'm sure you do look good on it.;) lol.

    What are the laws for the wearing of helmets in France? Would like to know more.

    I've always liked the idea but would probably be hopeless on one. And i'd probably choose pink which would just be silly wouldn't it... actually no, black! Goodness and i thought les pompiers were exciting enough!

  12. Tomate Farcie (and others) - thanks, I didn't realise about the schoolkids so have deleted the comment. You verified my suspicions.

  13. Ah, even better than uniformed men is uniformed men on stilts! Love the picture right below that one. By far my fave of this group.

    Ooh, gotta go. Tony Bennet special on tonight! Can't wait!

  14. Let's encourage students everywhere and promote the pursuit of excellence which is reflected in Eric's brilliant and stimulating work.

    Puppets on strings are just attention seekers per se, and they need to tunnel back into the filth of the internet where they wallow.

    There are other platforms for their free expression of speech.

    Do all Paris firemen get a remote cotrolled model fire truck. Koooool!

    Michael you are so witty, thank you. Lynn, I am sure that your French is better than mine. In Oz we just don't hear it spoken. We need a 'La Manche', le manche, je ne sais pas.

  15. Thanks...but um, I knew it was a large statue! LOL...I am just teasing you! Why is a lion there?

  16. Surely some mistake? Workers in France going on strike? I don't understand, I thought striking was full time employment for them.

  17. Susan,
    Lions scare away the Pigeons that fly in to Paris from from Dijon.

    Y avait un jeune homme de Dijon,
    Qui se foutait de toute religion.
    Il a dit, "Quant à moi,
    Je déteste les trois:
    Le Père, et le Fils, et le Pigeon."

    (not my limerick)

  18. Are there female firefighters in Paris? Just curious. We have several here in San Francisco (yours truly came this close - but then got knocked up!) In fact, our Fire Chief is a woman. Come to think of it, so is our Chief of Police!

  19. mm...never saw the firemen went on the strike!!
    its different in China that the firemen is a type of soldier! so how could they go on the strike??

    jing from shanghai

  20. Dr. A: Thanks for doing that. Yeah, they don't usually say much on the blog, but they do look apparently and I, too, tend to forget it from time to time.

    Susan: leave it to Haxo or one of the history buffs, they'll probably explain it in the morning. If you are in a hurry, google:

    " Lion de Belfort" and/or "Colonel Denfer Rochereau" and you'll get the story. Here are a few links in French to get you started:


  21. Thanks Tomate. I looked it up and it led me to something I find more interesting....Catacombs! I forgot to visit them when I was there. Next time.

    I used to play a video game called Medal of Honor: Underground which was about the French resistance during WWII and you traversed through the catacombs....oooh....I used to love that game! The protagonist was Manou (don't know spelling but pronounced "Ma No"), a french woman. Actually, it was my brother introducing that game to me that got me interesting in video games in the first place! And also Paris!

    Eric, perhaps you could take a photo in the catacombs? That would be great!

    Ok...totally got off subject there. Strikes...oh yeah.

  22. I meant more interesting than the lion....not your pics Eric! ;)

  23. Ooooh, the catacombs. I really need to start an actual list of places I'll be visiting when I end up going to Paris by myself! I'm gonna be having some F-U-N! Jeff can stay at home and care for Owen if he doesn't want to visit Paris and all the cool places to see! (And perhaps a visually pleasing fireman or two...)

  24. I love this picture..comme toujours...none of these firemen look ready to retire to me??! LOL!!

    Soosha..Tony Bennett?? On TV??? Will he leave his heart in San Francisco again???

  25. Soosha...somehow I knew that you would be interested in the catacombs!

    Do make a list! I had full intention of seeing them and then once there, forgot. I'm sure it would be a little creepy with all those bones piled up. And I wonder why the skulls have no jawbones? Is that grotesque of me to ask? LOL It takes a lot more than that to offend me so I never know.

    Good night!

  26. mon pére y était il est retraite depuis un mois, et je l'ai eu hier soir il m'a dit que c'était fort sympathique, pour une fois ils ont cassé du crs et ils ne sont pas fait cassé par des vandales, mais quand on ecoute mister sarko enfin rasmoket pour les intimes ils doivent rester a leur place...
    pour ma part les pompiers sont des hommes fiers et à qui on doit beaucoup de respect non pas que mon vieux en sois un, mais ce sont des héros chaque jour...
    pour ma part le dernier photojournalisme que j'ai fait c'etait pour les manifs de l'an dernier au moment du conflits de la SNCM et c'etait fort sympa je travailler avec mes boitiers vieux canon t 90 et le tout au 35 mm avec du holford noir et blanc, ha nostalgie quand tu nous tiens...
    pour ta photo du jour j'aurais preferer ton troisiéme clichés que tu as mis sur ton autre lien...

    a prestu...

  27. Susan> The catacombs in Paris is a must see.. I took Eric there long time ago, but then he was not much excited about it! :~)

    The bones you can see there are only the bigger bones which have been stacked up to make walls (of bones!). These are essentially the skulls, the humerus and the thighbones. All the other smaller bones (including the jawbones) have been thrown behind the bone walls.

    The WWII shelters, either German or French, are not visible during the public visit.


  28. Boy - when I woke up this morning and saw that there are already 29 comments on this photo I was surprised. Mostly because I went to bed late last night, which means that there were many more up later than I. Ok, forgetting the time differences around the world.

    As there are so many comments, I can't keep up, but the ones about the catacombs reminds me of this photo
    of Eric's with a couple of interesting links. Yes Soosha, DO put this on your list of things to see.

  29. Regarding the strike by the firemen, Tomate has explained the reasons above. Retirement and bonus.

    What made this strike more impressive is that it was somewhat violent (for French standards) and that they had to call out the police (CRS) to hold them back. So in the end, you had the police fighting the firemen fighting the police...

    All in all, not a good day to have a fire at home nor have need for the police!

  30. Wow. I have been online reading ever since I posted my "good night" message. In the end I got caught up in a fascinating blog by an "American in Paris" and her struggles with the change, etc. I think I found it through Buzzgirl, who I just really discovered recently. I bet I spent over an hour reading yours too!

    But before closing out this page, I saw your comment Bill and clicked into your site. Wow! Some of your pictures are amazing!!!

    I am just becoming a lazy blog reader as a result of the DP! One leads to another, then another, and on and on! It's getting cold, so I guess it's alright that I've become so lazy right? But I feel a little guilty...

  31. Policemen yesterday, firemen today…
    Aaaaah le prestige de l'uniforme !…
    C'mon Eric, tell us more about the message underneath your last posts !

  32. Bill: ... still laughing. lol
    Soosha: I'll meet you there! Two girls (i flatter myself, obviously) alone in Paris, taking in the sights, sounds and uniforms! Yay! We'd be very well behaved, of course, just looking. I have a uniformed man already!
    M. Benault; love that verse.

  33. Michael, I remember that shot! It's a good one.

    Susan, I'm a very very morbid person, so indeed yes, I'm way into the catacombs. In fact, in case you couldn't tell by my tatts and piercings, I used to be classified as a goth. Though, since most people only think of clothing, music, tatts, piercings, and crazy hair and makeup, in most people's eyes I would no longer be considered as such. I know better, though. It's a state of mind, and I most certainly have not lost my gothy intenseness and love of al things morbid! I was never way into the clothes anyway. More of a Trent Reznor goth, love the black clothes, not too into anything else, which I always felt was overstatements.

    Anyways, next subject to lynn: Honey, I don't care how old you are, or how many kids you have, you are certainly young at heart! And from what I can tell of your pretty face, you don't look a day over 28! So us 2 young girls can hit Paris together and look (only look, of course!) at the the pretties Paris has to offer. You better wath out, though. Go posting too many more cutie pictures and I just may develope a crush on you!

    Next, to kpgallant: Oooh yes, Tony Bennet. Birthday special, presented by Target. Loooved it. And yes, he left his heart in San Fransisco. And it was beautiful!

    And it's never too early to think of retirement, as I well know. My hubby's really into finances, which is lucky for me, because when my grandfather passed away last year and left me some money, he knew exactly how we should invest it to produce the best outcome for our retirements. I'm gload to see that these young firemen are thinking of the future as well, though with all the firemen and police at the same demonstration it's possible someone elses future went up in smoke! (Oh my lordy, did I just sound like Michael?!?! Someone quick, put me out now!)

  34. Eric, not only are you a nice Parisian (according to your bio!) who writes perfect English, but you pun superbly en anglais as well! Stike a match, indeed!

  35. PS When I was in London in Jan 2003, fire fighters there were having a long-running dispute, with ongoing pickets, but not quite the same "savoir-flaire" as these parisian colleagues.

  36. Soosha: Gosh I'm very flattered, thanks so much! 28 indeed... ... blush...

    Just imagine it, walking around the city, me in my converse and you in your ... goth boots...? cameras in hand clicking our way manically at pompiers and towers alike, pushing croissants into each other's mouths, giggling stupidly in a girly way as we mumble unintelligibly in French, getting Eric to scoot over to meet us for coffee at the trendiest haunts, skipping down the Champs Elysee, our pink and auburn hair flying....!

    ... and back down to earth with a bump, better get on with some writing. Work i mean. Oh well i can dream can't i? lol! What fun.

  37. Gotta run, or I'll be on time to work! No goth boots, too uncomfortable. My clothes these days are just casual. I don't want to have Owen made fun of when he gets to school age, so I leave my crazier clothes in abox in the closet. I've got sensible sneakers that kinda reminded me of Ewan McGregor when I bought them. Although for a bit of flare I have blue sparkly laces in them!

  38. Wonderful. The laces are the piece de resistance after all. Know what you mean about uncomfortable. I wanted my son's old Doc Ms for a while - dressed up with pretty, lacey white dress of course - but boy did they hurt! No, i'm quite conservative too but in our heads, Soosha, in our heads,,,,, that's where it's at!
    Eric you must be bemused and not a little irritated by our reveries? I put forward a collective apology for S and I for our fashionspeak and put it down only to your scintillating and hospitable blog. Where are you by the way; long time no comment. Have you been adopted by les pompiers? Exploded after too many p'tit dejs? Taken to the streets in an Orwellian Down and Out in Paris project as homage to the homeless? Ah, no, i think i have it. You're seventeen again aren't you, zipping around on that new, shiny scooter. Well scoot back and share some of your wisdom again!

  39. or... sharp intake of breath everyone... dun, dun, dur! .... has Eric GONE ON...STRIKE ? The very idea. Gasp. Stunned silence follows.

  40. Thank you Lynn.
    I'll try and compose some original ones.

    I wonder what motor scooter Eric has bought.
    Can someone in Paris creep up and snap him on his new machine.

    After tennis tonite in the paaarque, I'm a bit mellow.
    swweet dreams to all,,,

  41. If Eric won't tell us about his new Motor Scooter we can only guess. I recon this would suit him.

    En Australie, nous ne dormons jamais.

  42. ooh yes M. Benaut, i think the black one in the top right corner. For myself, i was considering something altogether more curvy and classic, even beautiful...the feminine version of Eric's. Wouldn't it be funny if we discover it's some beat up old heap of iron, colour indistinguishable, he's rescued from somewhere? lol

  43. I am not on strike, just working! Of course I will let you know about my scooter, but don't expect anything fancy! Hint: it's not a European one...

    Will be back tonight.

  44. Feel suitably chastised now Eric and very work-guilty. Back to work everyone! Eric has spoken.
    Actually before i go i just remembered a joke. Very quickly -
    Man dies, goes to hell. Three choices of rooms to go in:
    1. Pushing heavy rocks up hill. Thinks "hmm that looks really hard work"
    2. Shovelling coal onto fire of hell. Thinks "phew, don't fancy that."
    3. Standing waist high in poo drinking tea. Thinks "well, it'll smell but i like tea so i'll choose that one".
    He goes in and drinks his tea waist high in poo. All well so far. Ten minutes later a head pops round the door shouting "ok people; tea break's over, back on your heads!"

  45. the uniform of the fireman is very similar everywhere. It seems. Actually it looks great:)

  46. It's interesting to see firemen on strike.
    In Chile this doesn't happen, because firemen are voluntary, they don't get paid...
    So, they must collect money from the neighbors...

  47. Great photo Eric. I collect photos of all sorts of emergency services vehicles and personnel when I travel. My favorite is of an ambulance boat in Venice and a little teeny police smartcar in Paris.

    Susan... do you have a link to the American in Paris blog you mentioned? svp?

  48. Just Grace,

    Sure. I hope you like it as much as I did. Synopsis: A very independent San Francisco girl who has traveled a lot, alone, to 3rd world countries, meets a Frenchman in Malaysia, has intercontinental romance, marries him, moves to Paris, misses San Francisco, and is about to have a baby.

    A few words...this is a good place to start SanFran Girl in Paris

    Make sure that you go to her Travel section too to see/read about her trips to 3rd world countries! Fascinating!

  49. Alright, who lives in Paris, has a camera, and has general knowledge, if not a personal friendship with Eric who can be sneeky and snap a picture of him on his scooter for us? Anyone?

  50. Dang lynn, how many blogs do you have? And anyway, your DP one is all messed up, I can't get a single picture to come up! It's juat some links to recent entries and when I click on them...nothing!

  51. My blog seems to have gone all weird. Just a list of headings is all it is. Eek. Any ideas anyone? It's
    I've emailed Blogger for help.

  52. I know, Soosha. No idea what's happened. I have this dailyphoto one, and my novel,
    That's all...:)

  53. Just the blog you've been to and my LiveJournal, which is the one I actually blog in. It's a friends only journal, so for those who don't have an LJ account I leave some of my posts open for a few days then lock 'em.

    BTW eric, I agree with lynn, sorry lynn and I talk so much on here. We just feel so comfortable and at home here! It's like you've invited everyone over to your place, you've got some nice music playing and lots of wine (and cheese!) to go around and you encourage us all to kick back, relax, and just have fun.

  54. Exactly. Whilst passing delightful photos and informative stuff on Paris for us all to look at. Course, there's only the two of us here at the moment and Eric's busy in the garage, saying goodnight to his scooter, but we're okay chatting amongst ourselves, aren't we Soosh. Nice place Eric's got isn't it?

  55. Hmmm, since becoming "our man in Paris", I bet Eric is on another pressing assignment. I hear, there's a strike of elementary school principals today by the musee d'Orsay and therefore a perfect opportunity for him to sneak in and take some photos of the naked ladies dedans (the birth of Venus, perhaps?);-)))

  56. Woah...seems like a lot has happened while I was busy working away at the office. Soosha_q and Lynn should probably get a (chat)room don't you think? That way at least we all can watch ;-)

    Eric, this photo is terrific and the links as well. I'm sure people don't realise that you really do "scoot" all over town to capture some unique events, which is why I think your blog is so popular. The Eiffel Tower is wonderful, but the dress in the window, the homeless or not-homeless man, the gargoyle gutters...all through your eyes make Paris even more unique.

  57. Thanks for the post Soosha. *BIG BLUSH*
    Not sure what I did to deserve it, but it is appreciated.

  58. Soosha: I'm all fixed, thanks to Ham at londondailyphoto who gave me the advice i needed to get my blog up and running again. What a clever man.

  59. Michael: Goodness, that's a bit saucy is it not? We might not let you watch anyway;) lol. Saw your post too Michael. Wow is all i can say. And so you should blush.

  60. And did anyone leave a comment on the post? Noooo. Did anyone email me or hop on IM to chat? Nooo. I've been so bored! j/k, of course!

    Michael, you're a good friend and I felt bad for taking down the post to you on my blogger. That's what you did to deserve it. When I get to know lynn better I'll probably do something similar for her as well, as I am quickly coming to think of her as another BFF!

  61. sooo friend who is studying abroad in paris this semester just told me about this today and how she witnessed it....

    ...firemen lighting things on fire....


  62. Sad case, this strike. Two policemen are now in critical condition after things turned sour and nasty. We like to think of our fire fighters as good guys... but some weren't. Sorry Terra Vecchia, I have no sympathy for Sarko either but when you write 'mon pere y etait, c'était fort sympathique, ils ont cassé du CRS' ("my father was there, they had a great time, had a go at the police")it doesn't make me laugh. Of course I don't assume for a second that your dad or those close to him were in any way related to these accidents.

  63. also Eric, can i have a ride on your scooter? haha every time i go abroad i am THIS close to asking someone for a ride! it's so much fun!

  64. I agree with you Nathalie. It is sickening that such greed would come to this. And wanting to retire at 55? Greed.

  65. GREAT SHOT ERIC! BRAVO! And SOOSHA...the only thing BETTER than a uniformed man is an UN-Uniformed man! LOL! ;-) My BAD!

  66. the crs are paid as a trade at the risk, the firemen not...

  67. Actually, retiring at 55 is not such a bad thing for firemen. It is a strenuously physically demanding job, and after 30-35 years in it, they have done enough in my view!

  68. Interesting comments both Terra Vecchia and Sally. I tend to agree with you both on the different aspects, but don't understand why they had to turn violent. I don't want to lose respect for this very respectful occupation.

    In France the nurses and doctors strike, and even the hairdressers, but they don't go infecting people or dying everyone's hair blonde! ;-)

  69. Don't forget guys, no matter what or how noble the profession is, there's "bad apples" in every crowd. There's always someone who will make a group look bad because they didn't get what they wanted. You shouldn't loose respect for all firemen just because there were some in this crowd that did some stupid things any more then you should hate all teenagers because a few egged your car, or an entire race because a few members did you an injustice, or an entire blog because one day one person started cussing everyone out.

  70. I just realised that I may have offended some blonde people out there. Didn't mean to, I swear!

  71. No offense taken Michael! Some of us are natural!!!

  72. Actually, retiring at 55 is not such a bad thing for firemen. It is a strenuously physically demanding job, and after 30-35 years in it, they have done enough in my view!

    Haven't we all, though? :) The same thing could be said of a lot of jobs involving physical labor. They don't necessarily have to do physcial work. Maybe they could do building inspections and other kinds of stuff. Seems a little harsh to say yes to the firemen, go ahead and retire and here is your bonus, and no to the policemen or construction workers or others. They're certainly not wrong in asking but there are never easy answers to that kind of decisions.

  73. On this day of Thanksgiving in the US, I wanted to thank you for starting this DP mad house! It is amazing how many lives one simple idea can change. Many people have been enriched as a result!

    Bill Ducat

  74. Forget the butterball turkey, give me 3 of them hotties and I'll provide the butter! Yummy....

  75. These firemen can put out my flame any day!

  76. Nous amons les pompiers!!

    Wow! Those firemen are really hot! It is always great to see the firemen even in demonstrations :D
    If you ever happen to be in Paris in the previous days to Bastille Day you will enjoy the "Bal des Pompiers" because you can see these guys dancing and bartending in their uniforms or what is left of them after a couple of hours!!

  77. Ana - I hate it when you tease me like that! *blush*

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