Last day in Paris. A few last bits of things to see, buy (?) before we go.
Walk past the jewelers’ in Place Vendôme to ogle their fabulous(ly) expensive displays, down rue Faubourg Saint Honore , cruise thru the Mothership , have one last Laduree macaron.
Mid-afternoon, the bag line in Hermès is even longer than last time, but the overall store doesn’t seem quite as busy today. One twenty something bought an enormous Birkin and another bag.
The Euro 2016 games have brought the conflict between the unions and the federal government to a pivot point. Not that it has affected us as yet, but there’s a lot of union unrest here. The government pushed through some labor reforms by executive decree (meaning it didn’t go thru their equivalent of Congress) as a means of trying to make business more competitive. This didn’t sit well with the unions (any change wouldn’t have). Even though they only represent about 8% of the workforce, it’s a very loud 8%. They have a unique leverage point and they know it, with Europe 2016 UEFA soccer games set to begin tomorrow. There’s a strike by the CGT (blocked fuel terminals among other things) ; even though the government crumpled on the SNCF (national rail) changes, that union still voted to strike. The Air France airline pilots’ union agreed not to strike, for now. There’s a garbage strike (not smelly yet).
And 2.8m fans expected to be in attendance at the Euro 2016 games. 90,000 security force. Should be crazy. Hope it’s not tragic.
France has had a real workforce and unemployment issue since the socialists implemented changes back in the 80’s with Francois Mitterrand (35 hour work week , normal retirement is at 62 (vs 66 in US) and some as early as 55, a month’s vacation, among other things). Their pension system is much more generous than the US. The entitlements seems to have become institutionalized in the population and they don’t want to give anything back.
Traffic in central Paris can be crazy. While the main streets are broad, many of the side streets are only two lanes (but one way). There’s always construction or renovation going on and often, it blocks one of those lanes. So traffic “moves” at a crawl. Parking is expensive. They ought to charge by the meter (length), in which case these two would come out well
While this one wouldn’t
More photos on Flickr