Letter from Paris: April 24, 2024 News Digest

Letter from Paris: April 24, 2024 News Digest

It seems everywhere you turn in Paris these days, there’s Olympics-themed decorations (behold the beautiful Hotel de Ville! The steps to Sacré-Cœur), museum exhibitions (too many to count), even cruises (one from the l’Île Saint-Denis glides past the Olympics Village). Leading up to the summer, Paris always exudes a party atmosphere. But this year promises to be one giant Olympics fete, starting on June 1. The extensive cultural program will even include dance, yoga classes, and work-out sessions at the Louvre. Reminds us of the video filmed by Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the world’s most popular museum

A fun New York Times article by Vanessa Friedman asks, “Will the French Olympic team be best dressed at the Opening Ceremony?” The pressure’s on for the French delegation to strut their stuff. To quote: “Not only is France the host country, but it has enlisted LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate, as a lead sponsor, meaning that fashion and all other forms of sumptuously chic craft have become part of the story of the event — beginning with the OC outfit. Which means it has to represent not just France, not just French athletes, but Frenchness itself, that je ne sais quoi of Gallic style. And it has to look good on approximately 1,400 members of the Olympic and Paralympic delegation as they march down the side of the Seine in the heat of the European summer.” Menswear brand Berluti got the commission, and Friedman describes the results thusly: “the looks are a valiant attempt to rewrite the rules of athlete outfits that somehow also call to mind Alain Delon and Catherine Deneuve playing Pan Am flight attendants on the lam at Le Palace.”


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In other Olympics news, only a third of Airbnb rentals have been booked so far. There’s been a flood of Airbnb apartment listings on the Paris market, and The Financial Times reports that the glut has pushed down prices. “Many Parisians intend to flee the city during the games, which start on July 26, as an expected 15mn people visit the capital, according to tourism officials. However, their plans to rent their homes to tourists at high prices during the sacrosanct French August holiday period are being dashed as supply outstrips demand.” Airbnb is actually an official partner of the Olympic Games, which the company says will be the “biggest hosting event in Airbnb history”— providing a boon for hosts. “A Deloitte study commissioned by the company estimates that the average host in the Paris region will generate €2,000 in additional income during the games.”

The classic Haussmannian style of architecture in Paris. (C) Sirisvisual, Unsplash

April 21 marked the 80th anniversary since women won the right to vote in France. Equal suffrage was a long time coming — considerably later than other European countries which secured women’s voting rights by the early 20th century. As reported by Euronews, suffrage in France was delayed by the German Occupation. The decree occurred during General Charles de Gaulle’s provisional government. “With other priorities taking precedence, French women did not actually cast their ballot for the first time until April 1945. After more than 150 years of agitating for this fundamental right of citizenship, French women finally secured the vote. This victory came rather late, especially considering the promising proclamations of women such as Olympe de Gouges during the French Revolution of 1789.”

Alexander Kucharsky, Portrait of Olympes de Gouges (1748–1793).

Air traffic controllers will be going on strike tomorrow, causing the cancellation of the majority of flights at French airports: 75% of flights from Orly, 65% from Roissy-Charles de Gaulle, 70% from Marseille and Nice, and 60% from Toulouse. The SNCTA union, representing air traffic controllers, is striking to protest “unacceptable” job role changes.

In other airport news, Paris CDG recently unveiled a new security baggage system and baggage handling area ahead of the Olympics. As reported by the Associated Press, “the new equipment includes a revamped scanner system to allow a more detailed scan of passengers’ baggage, so that travelers won’t have to remove items such as electronic devices, aerosols or liquids from their bags.” The airport is expecting to process 114,000 baggage from delegations/media and 47,000 pieces of bulky, oversized sports equipment.

Aerial view of CDG airport. Photo: ERIC SALARD/ Flickr

Lead photo credit : The Hotel de Ville in Paris celebrates the Olympics. Photo: Bonjour Paris

More in Airbnb, Louvre, Olympe de Gouges, Paris Olympics, suffrage

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