In considering just how many 'Top 10s' I could drag out of the actual streets themselves, the more I thought about it, the more daunting a task it seemed.
In terms of what people are currently writing under our Parisian feet, there are artistic (and non-verbal) works, anarchic or political slogans, and more recently advertising from well-known high street brands. Not to mention lovelorn lads laying open their souls on the cold hard concrete; I'm thinking of the plethora of 'Alice je t'aime's which surround the Denfert Rochereau RER station, presumably on the daily route to work of Alice herself...
So, although I'm tempted to specialise my street top tens, I'm going to create one for all verbal expression for the time being and see how long it takes to reach double figures. Another shall be dedicated to less wordy expression. Eyes down: here we go!
Sab's Top Ten Paris Sidewalk Slogans No.2 ~ "Flying Thieves"
I'm going to cheat, just a little, in terms of originality, because what follows was lifted verbatim from the Paris iPhone photography chronicles blog, Paris and I, which happens to be mine too, but I still don't like publishing the same thing more than once.
Anyway, you were presumably lured here on the promise of reading some words of mine, and some straight from the streets of Paris, which is practically the same thing, in fact, and I'd be the last to want to disappoint you. Sooo...
People write some weird stuff on the streets of Paris, but then they always have. This one next to the Jardin de Luxembourg in the 6th.
'Les avions volent notre air' ('The planes steal our air' - with a probable pun on the verb 'voler', which means 'steal' or 'fly') says the street.
I never know why people write such obscure things. The likelihood on, well, what - the airlines all spontaneously shutting down having spotted this from on-high? - must be minimal, so it must be a personal thing they just needed to get out.
The most famous - and sorry if you all know this - street slogan, from the student protests of '68, across the road from the one above, at the Sorbonne, was 'Sous les pavées, la plage'. This means 'under the paving stones, the beach', and the tradition of making the streets beneath our feet speak to us and to others continues.
Which is good, I think. Because it's all about trying to make us think, even if, in the end, the result of our reflection is rejection. But occasionally a message resonates, thrums, sticks even, or just hangs in the air, invisibly encloaking us like deflated aeroplane fumes, insidiously infiltrating our lungs and our minds.
Phew! That was a bit heavy, I guess, but no soar feelings I hope. Have a high-flying day in any case, whatever plane you're floating on ;~S
* Sab Will runsPhoto and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...