Street Furniture in Paris

Uploaded by Mxsmanic on 30.12.2011

Paris has more than 1800 mailboxes, which exist in several styles.
This is the large, free-standing model. All mailboxes are normally yellow with blue trim.
They usually have two slots, one for the Paris metropolitan area, one for everywhere else.
“Banlieue” means “suburbs.”
And this side is for the provinces and abroad.
Post offices sometimes have mail slots built right into the side of the building.
This is a free-standing, small model on a pole, very common in Paris, still with two slots.
This is an older, wall-mounted model. Wall-mounted mailboxes are the most common.
And this is the newer style, but wall-mounted instead of free-standing.
A sign on the larger mailboxes provides instructions.
There are just over 80 Wallace fountains in Paris, which distribute drinking water.
They were commissioned and offered to the city of Paris by Sir Richard Wallace.
A thin stream of drinking water runs continuously through the center of the fountain.
Charles-August Lebourg was commissioned to sculpt the prototype for the fountains.
Each fountain is made of iron and weighs a little more than half a ton.
This one is outside Shakespeare & Company in the Latin Quarter.
And this is on the south side of the Champs-Élysées avenue.
They are scattered all over the city. The water is turned off in winter to avoid freezing.
There used to be a little iron cup on a chain attached to each fountain.
The cups are gone for hygiene reasons, but you can still fill your drinking bottle.
I think a lot of tourists don’t realize that they dispense clean drinking water.
This is outside the Church of Saint Sulpice, also in the Latin Quarter.
This ultramodern eyesore was supposed to replace the old fountains in 2000.
If I were five or six years old, this distorted face would give me nightmares.
This is where the water comes out. Originally there was a foot button to turn on the water.
Fortunately, this new fountain never caught on, and the old ones remain in place.
These tiny models are scattered in parks and gardens throughout Paris.
This is a more modern version. Open food markets often have several of these nearby.
This is a wall-mounted fountain. Most of these have been removed.
This is the only one that has survived in Paris, near the Jardin des Plantes.
Notice that this “low-cost” model replaces the women with plain columns.
Only two of these are still standing in the city, including this one.
Sanisettes are the self-cleaning, high-tech street toilets that one finds all over Paris.
After each person uses the toilet, it goes through a complete wash cycle.
The wash cycle requires about 90 seconds and scrubs the inside toilet and floor.
The capacity of each sanisette is about 20-30 users per hour.
After the wash cycle, the sanisette is ready for its next user.
The sanisettes are built and maintained by JC Decaux, at the expense of the city.
The inside contains a toilet, sink, hot-air hand dryer, wastebasket, and toilet paper.
The latest sanisettes are fully wheelchair-friendly.
To save water, you can choose the amount of flush water used.
There’s also a vandal-resistant mirror and a place to hand a bag or coat.
At one time, you had to pay to use sanisettes. Now they are all free.
There are instructions in several languages, written and recorded.
No children under 10 alone / No Smoking / Time limited to 20 minutes
On the outside of the sanisette, there’s a drinking water dispenser.
This latest generation of sanisettes, designed by Patrick Jouin, was installed in 2009.
Some, like this one near Notre-Dame, are always busy.
At night, they are lit by high-tech LED lighting.
Green is the color of public sanitation in Paris. These are typical garbage bins.
Years ago, simple plastic bags replaced solid trashcans, due to terrorist paranoia.
A simple elastic band holds a plain plastic bag to a hoop.
The bag says “Vigilance Cleanliness,” which is a bit bizarre.
Yellow bags are reserved for recyclable plastics.
These bags are perhaps the least attractive of all Paris street furniture.
This big, clunky container receives bottles and glass objects for recycling.
Citizens are reminded not to deposit bottles between 10 PM and 7 AM.
Bottles, jars, anything made of glass is acceptable.
Plastic Omnium is a company that makes this and all sorts of plastic street furniture.
Vélib’ is the immensely popular bicycle rental system lately introduced in Paris.
There are rental stations scattered all over the city, and they are heavily used.
The bicycles are custom-built, vandal-resistant, and high-tech, but quite heavy.
They weigh 55 pounds. They have built-in baskets and head/tail lights.
The first half-hour is free, then you have to pay. Pick up and drop off anywhere you want.
Everything is highly automated, and multilingual.
You need a Navigo or Vélib’ card, or a credit card, in order to rent a bike.
The bicycles lock into special podiums when they are not in use.
There are safety instructions on the bikes for infrequent bicycle riders.
Some of the Vélib’ stations are quite large. It depends on user demand.
Almost everyone has a cell phone in Paris today, but there are still some public phones.
The stylized ampersand is the logo of France Télécom.
This model, on the Champs-Élysées, is fairly typical of the breed.
This is an older model of phone booth, complete with an older France Télécom logo.
This one is older still. Phone booths don’t get a lot of use these days.
These booths have two phones back to back.
All public phones today expect payment cards rather than coins or cash.
This booth has a slightly more modern phone inside.
A slot for a payment card at the bottom, and a reader for magnetic stripes.
Instructions for the handful of people who still use the booths.
This is quite a modern-looking model, but it’s pretty hard to find.
This particular one is on the avenue de l’Opéra.
This is another unusual model. Yes, it really is leaning to one side!
And this is a very fancy sort of Internet/Telephone booth.
I never actually see anyone using one of these, despite the tech appeal.
Orange is one of the secret aliases of France Télécom.
The screen is nearly impossible to read sometimes in daytime.
Parisian streetlights exist in a number of different styles.
This style, on the Alma bridge, looks like something from outer space.
This style is a bit more ordinary and reasonably modern.
This style looks old, but it’s not.
Same style, but pole-mounted.
This style is a bit more retro, even though the fixture itself isn’t very old.
But the streetlights on the Alexander III bridge beat all others hands down.
Intricately sculpted works of art, with hand-blown glass lenses.
Here you see the lamps running along the bridge. Beautiful!
These are tremendously detailed compared to other streetlights.
This is one of the small streetlights that line most of the bridge.
And this is one of the larger ones that are on each corner of the bridge.
Here you can see the bridge streetlights and somewhat more modern lights near the roadway.
Back to more mundane streetlight styles. This one is very common.
This is perhaps the most modern and boring. Sorry about the overcast background.
This pasta-shell-shaped lateral luminaire lights the sidewalk.
And this is a very common olde worlde style that exists in several finishes.
This one on the Champs has a plain, dark-brown finish.
This one is the same style luminaire, but with a different pole and finish.
The same type of pole can support multiple luminaires.
The little fishing boat on this Morris column is the symbol of Paris.
Morris columns, named after the company that first made them, are Parisian icons.
They are a kind of rotating billboard, extremely common throughout Paris.
The ones you see here are not nearly as old as their traditional design suggests.
Here are two of them on opposite sides of the Champs.
The whole column turns, slowly enough so that it’s not too obvious.
Today the columns are built by JC Decaux, which bought the Morris company.
Here’s a typical Parisian intersection.
Notice that the traffic lights has big lights on top, and little ones on the bottom.
That’s so that vehicles can still see the lights while waiting at a red light.
French law requires that drivers stop right next to the traffic light, so they need to see it.
Here’s another typical intersection, with separate bus lane in the opposite direction.
These very modern-looking traffic lights on the Champs are exceptions to the rule.
Crosswalk signs are always pictograms, never words (true throughout Europe, mostly).
You can see why crosswalks are sometimes called “zebra crossings.”
Rough inlays in the sidewalk by crosswalks help blind pedestrians find them.
And of course they also help prevent people from slipping.
Some 250,000 poles like these prevent cars from parking on the sidewalks.
And they confine cars on garage driveways to just the driveway.
This little fence discourages pedestrians from jaywalking.
And this is the classic Parisian traffic light, found just about everywhere.
The sign warns that pedestrians need to cross in two phases.
This marks parking space for bikes, scooters, and motorcycles.
This marks a (narrow!) bicycle path.
This is a metered parking spot.
And this is a delivery zone (no parking allowed, despite the car you see here).
The announcement you hear is an automated crossing aid for the blind.
A little box on the traffic light pole activates the announcements.
When the “red light, pedestrian” announcement changes to a bell, it’s safe to cross.
Every intersection with lights in Paris is equipped with this system.
There are more than three thousand bus stops in Paris.
Here’s a typical one, with a standard bus shelter or “abribus.”
A sign clearly identifies the stop, which may be served by several bus routes.
A glass roof reduces glare from the sun and protects against rain.
Oh, and JC Decaux builds these abribus things, too. Surprised?
Bus stops provide a ton of information, enough even for the dumbest user.
That includes a real-time display showing expected arrival times for the buses.
And a huge map that shows every bus line and stop.
And signs that show all the lines serving the bus stop.
The map is clearly marked to show where you are (so where was this scene shot?)..
And there are signs showing the complete routes of each bus that serves the stop.
Some bus stops are optional, meaning the bus stops only if requested.
These stops don’t have full bus shelters, just some distinctive signs, seen here.
Using buses is more complicated than the Métro, but it’s still pretty easy.
Almost all buses and lines are now equipped to handle wheelchairs.
Notice how the bus tilts a bit when it stops to open the doors.
The squiggly yellow line on the pavement marks a bus stop, no parking.
Some bus stops, like this one, also include a public telephone.
You generally always enter a bus at the front, and exit from the middle doors.
This is an older style bus stop, before JC Decaux arrived with the abribus.
A few places with many bus lines have a bus terminal, like this one.
This is a standard parking meter. A great deal of parking is metered in Paris.
Like phones, parking meters accept only payment cards, no cash.
Language / Discount / Duration / Done / Cancel
Card reader on the left, PIN keypad on the right.
An information display, just showing the date and time when the meter is idle.
Abbreviated instructions. Press the gray button to change to English on the display.
A meter in a more scenic location, on the Île de la Cité.
This is the previous generation of parking meter. Not quite so chic.
Still automated and accepting cards, but not as user-friendly as its successor.
This is an elevator to underground parking.
This is the payment station. It does accept cash.
This is the brand-new Autolib’ system, modeled on the Vélib’ bicycle system.
This system allows you to rent a little electric car, instead of a bicycle.
The terms of use are a lot more complicated than those for the bicycles.
I’m not convinced that Autolib’ will enjoy the success of Vélib,’ but we shall see.
This is one of the silent, electric “bluecars” that you can rent. It’s charging up.
Connecting or disconnecting stops or starts the meter, respectively.
Renting a car with this system is also far more expensive than renting a bicycle.
This kiosk is part of the complicated rental process.
Parking spots are marked on the ground for the system, but other cars often use them.
Often there are no cars available; I was lucky to spot two at a time.
Here’s another station at night.
No bluecars available, but others using the parking places. I predict that will be a problem.
There are several broad styles of Métro entrances in Paris.
This is the Hector Guimard-inspired style, which is very common.
This is just a generic style, very utilitarian.
This style is a bit more monumental, with its stone railings.
This is a compromise, few frills but nice signs. Very common.
This large Close-Encounters style of entrance is one of a kind, at Saint Lazare.
The Paris transit authority calls this the “lentille” (“lens”).
Five different lines meet at Saint Lazare.
Standard entrances, simple stairways down into the subway system.
This is even more practical, simple stainless steel, with a sign holding a big M.
The Passy station is on a hillside but otherwise pretty standard.
Its Line 6 comes out into the open here, and crosses the river in the distance.
Every station has lots of signs showing the routes of lines serving the station.
You can’t see the river from here, but it’s there, between this station and the next one.
You might recognize this area from “Inception” or “Last Tango in Paris.”
Like I said, this station is on a hillside. But there are escalators.
Here’s another Guimard-style Métro entrance.
And this entrance looks a bit like a mausoleum.
The Pyramides station on lines 14 and 7 is quite modern.
It has an elevator (broken here, alas!).
Granite, glass, and stainless steel railings, glass trim. Quite far from Art Nouveau.
And this entrance is one of a kind. Designed by Jean-Michel Othoniel.
It’s called the “Kiosque des Noctambules,” and includes a small aluminum bench.
Noctambules means “evening strollers,” and the bench is for noctambule couples.
I think that if they sit on this in wintertime, though, they might be frozen to it for six weeks!
It all looks very cold to me, even in summertime.
Moving back to the past, another Guimard entrance, much more “organic.”
These entrances were very controversial in their time, too.
Whereas that other one looks very cold, this style looks like it’s growing.
Those lamps are supposed to be flower buds, from what I’ve read.
Sorry, but they look straight out of “War of the Worlds” to me.
Art Nouveau has its own distinctive typefaces. These look hand-drawn.
This is one of three remaining entrances with a glass canopy.
This one has been restored.
Incidentally, the Châtelet_Les Halles subway station is the largest in the world, by some criteria.
These swirly organic shield things, typical of Guimard, remind me of trilobites.
Here’s a wide shot showing the entrance in context (place Sainte-Opportune).
Here’s the canopy.
And here’s the actual entrance into the Métro (stations are mostly alike inside).
This is an old-generation newsstand, despite appearances.
Whereas this, again despite appearances, is actually the latest generation.
The older steel-and-glass 1970s style has been replaced by a more retro style.
This is a kind of mini-newsstand.
And this a modern, maxi-size newsstand.
Another of the breed on the Champs-Élysées.
Some newsstands sell souvenirs, soda pop, and candy.
They always have posters around the outside, often changing every few seconds.
In touristy areas they emphasize postcards and souvenirs more than elsewhere.
The medium-size model, just before sunrise.
The same size, during the day (in a different location).
The old model, closed at the time I shot this.
Fire hydrants are sneaky in Paris. You have to know how to find them.
This one is under a big manhole cover (“bouche d’incendie” = “fire hydrant”).
Discreet plaques on buildings show the way to fire hydrants buried in the sidewalks.
Here’s a typical hydrant, hidden in the sidewalk. Very easy to miss.
The enameled plaques show the position of the hydrant (e.g., 2 m in front of this sign).
They also indicate the type of hydrant fitting.
This one says 5 meters behind us, and 3 meters to the left, so let’s see …
Why yes, there it is!
This hydrant is actually hooked up to something (an outdoor market).
And here’s the fitting the firefighters use.
And here’s a firefighter putting it back in the truck.
Taxi stands are all over Paris. Many have a calling station like this one (the green pole).
Anyone can call a single number, and via a voice server, call the station closest to him.
If there’s a taxi there, he’ll answer and go to pick up the fare.
This is a taxi stand without the calling station. Most taxis are radio-dispatched today.
A stand with a calling station. Not all stands have the shelter.
Benches in Paris don’t vary much in style. This is a standard bench.
This style is more modern and much less common (seen here on the Champs).
The common style near the Arc de Triomphe.
There are nearly 9000 benches in Paris.
They are not evenly distributed throughout the city, however.
Here again, a fishing boat, symbol of Paris (which was founded by fishermen).
Details—such as the backrests—do vary a bit.
Another sneaky detail of the Parisian urban landscape is its survey markers. See it here?
These round, sturdy markers show the surveyed height above sea level.
Unfortunately, most of them are missing the actual number plates now.
Likewise, some ordinary-looking manhole covers in Paris lead to very special places.
I won’t tell you where these lead. You tell me.
Hint: All the ones seen here are on the Left Bank.
Many of them are sealed (like this one), but not all.
If you’ve been to Paris long enough, you’ve seen water gushing into the gutter like this.
It comes from a secondary water network that supplies water just for washing.
Sanitation workers use the water to help them sweep the gutters clean.
Wherever there’s gushing water, there’s probably a man in green (sanitation worker) nearby.
(There’s a small minority of women in green, too.)
Just to finish up, a few miscellaneous things you might see. This is an electrical vault.
An electronic information display (JC Decaux again!)
Time, temperature, and current events courtesy of Paris City Hall.
Bollards to prevent people from parking cars on the sidewalk.
One of several trillion directional signs in Paris … made by JC Decaux.
A shovel-shaped, nearly indestructible historical marker.
Commonly seen around points of significant historical interest in Paris.
A map display on the street. Guess who makes it?
It includes a street index.
And buttons you can touch to move the map up or down.
A combined flag pole and billboard. Made by you-know-who.
Pavement access to the city’s compressed air network.
Another access to a large electrical vault, three-phase low voltage.
Mounting holes for the poles set up for open food markets each week.
And access to electricity for the market stalls.
Access to semi-clean water for filling street cleaning machines and the like.
Last and also least, access to a natural gas cutoff valve (I think!).
Thank you for watching my video. Sleep well!