Paris Bouquinistes thought they could take advantage of the influx of tourists during the Olympics, but they will have to leave…
A security problem
Since the beginning of July, second-hand booksellers have been at the heart of a conflict between them and Paris City Hall. The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, scheduled for July 26, 2024, will take place on the Seine. However, the presence of the famous green wagon boxes on the parapets at the water’s edge poses a security problem, while hundreds of thousands of people must attend the event.
Nearly 570 boxes should be removed from the banks of the Seine
During the first discussions, the Town Hall first proposed leaving the boxes on site, having them sealed by the demining service, and reopening them at the end of the ceremony. “It’s going to be a massacre: 200, 300, 400 boxes will be destroyed and will have to be rebuilt,” alarms the president of the Cultural Association of Paris Bouquinistes, Jérôme Callais. Indeed, moving them risks lasting damage, adds the man who has been a second-hand bookseller for around thirty years with FranceInfo. The bolts and screws are seized, aged, rusty, exposed to bad weather for so many years. According to Jérôme Callais, some boxes visible on old postcards are more than one hundred and twenty years old. Nearly 570 boxes should be removed from the banks of the Seine, said the Paris prefecture. The problem ? They are within the protection perimeter set up for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
“we are older than the Eiffel Tower !”
“We are a major symbol of Paris, Paris Bouquinistes have been there for 450 years, we are older than the Eiffel Tower! » protests a bookseller near the Pont des Arts. Faced with the deterioration of certain boxes in transport, the Paris town hall is talking about a renovation of the latter, with another branded advantage: this would support the second-hand booksellers’ candidacy for UNESCO world heritage… The second-hand booksellers are already registered with the French intangible cultural heritage since 2019.