Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Paris and streets

Originally uploaded by
Still in Paris. It is amazing how this city looks exactly like it is supposed to look. I mean that it is exactly like...hmmm...on television. Small streets, nice street cafes, good looking people. Amazes me every single time. I love especially two thing in Paris: the metro and the street names

1. metro: superhandy, fast, excellent names of stations and the stations look different. My favourite station is Arts and Metiers. Go there and you know why. But to be honest: although the metro is impressive here, it does not compete in the same beauty league with Moscow or Prague.

2. street names: There was a debate in Finland few years ago about the policy for street names led by Professor of History Matti Klinge. I have to say that I agree with Mr. Klinge that Helsinki is too conservative with streets named after flowers, lakes etc. French know how to make history present. I mean streets like Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau or Rue du 4 septembre. History should be present like this. I was yesterday in a small village in Champagne (Joinville) and even the square in front of the station was called Place de Gaulle. Super.

p.s. Had to correct this post now when I got to Amsterdam. The French Internet cafe had a keyboard from hell. That was the reason for the typos.


Anonymous said...

Visit more small villages in France, and you'll discover that all of them have a square named after de Gaulle. Usually also a street, a museum, maybe a metro station.

But yeah, I prefer the colorful names here to the wildlife fiesta in Finland too. Finnish suburb street names are created by bureaucrats who want to play safe.

- juhana

Tommi Laitio said...

Thanks, Juhana.

The French seem to be rather big on personalities...more than on Finnish food. But what I like in cities like Berlin or Paris is the fact that you also have streets and squares named after foreign people. Roosevelt and Kennedy and often even Martin Luther King can be found from the map.

Anonymous said...

Charles de Gaulle is everpresent is French naming conventions. There are two squares in Lille that are named after him - right next to each other.

But about the movie quality of Paris... What I found striking when visiting the city for the first time was the fact that the Eiffel tower was sometimes visible over tree, buildings, other monuments. In films you almost always either see the whole thing or don't see it at all. Seeing just parts of it was almost shocking. :) Also, I had always considered it to be a little corny, but not anymore. The world needs more preposterous monuments that celebrate scientists instead of war heros, politicians and religious loonies.