Thursday, April 8, 2010
Taking it to the Streets
If you want a little bit of Paris to take home with you, there's always the option of a refrigerator magnet or even your own little plaque, a miniaturized version of the blue metal signs that identify street names. Back in January, Figaroscope, my favorite source of information on all things Parisian, ran a short article detailing the process by which street names are assigned. Suggestions from local officials are evaluated by a special commission created in 1985 and then passed along for an opinion by the arrondissement and then by the Conseil de Paris (something akin to a city council).
The blue signs first appeared in 1728 and now grace some 6,289 public streets in the city. Some street names have disappeared over time (notably many changes were made after the French revolution) so the total number of Parisian street names historically is around 8,600.
Figaroscope's unscientific poll asked about individuals meriting streets of their own. Top votes went to recently deceased anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss followed by Serge Gainsbourg, Yves Saint Laurent, and Françoise Sagan. If it were up to you, who'd you pick? (And no need to stick with these four.)