Thursday, November 13, 2008

Being a Tourist in Modern Times

I go by the Eiffel Tower about once a week, sometimes more, and there are two things I always see.

These guys.

And these guys.

I feel safe in Paris. Safer certainly than I did in DC in those couple months after September 11th when we had the aftermath of the attack on the Pentagon to deal with, plus anthrax on Capitol Hill and in our neighborhood post office, and then later on, a sniper who terrorized the DC metro area for weeks. But I still get a little freaked out when I see these soldiers with their weaponry. You rarely see them anywhere else except the Eiffel Tower and the intercity train stations.


Adam said...

I always wonder if their weapons are actually loaded. If they ever fired one of those things in a station, they'd kill about 50 bystanders!

You only see them at major tourist attractions and stations because these are reinforced secure zones as part of the 'vigipirate' scheme.

Daniel said...

They are definitely not loaded. You just have to look at the guns to be sure.
I guess there is an officier with the ammunition somewhere in case of.
They are mostly there to be seen, just like reassuring people more than to actually do something.

Starman said...

Although I know there are areas (mostly in the subs) in which one might not want to walk the streets alone after dark, I have never felt the contant wariness in Paris that I almost always feel in the US.

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