Archive for August, 2016

Panda to the barricade!

August 29, 2016

From 20th August 2016                                                        PandaBarricade

Several times at the end of carriages on the Paris Metro I saw this poster for the French section of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. At first, I thought it slightly strange, but vaguely familiar. The penny (or centime, or eurocent) gradually dropped, followed up by a quick computer search. Its composition (cropped from landscaped to portrait) mimicked the Delacroix painting

‘La Liberté guidant le peuple’

(You can see it at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Leading_the_People).

The panda, icon of WWF, replaces Marianne, the symbolic figure of Liberty and Revolution in France and the flag now says  WWF rather than being the tricolour of revolution. The two foreground figures on the panda’s right are similar format to the original, with one of them wearing a tall hat. The adoring person in the middle at the front has being replaced by an adoring spaniel.
The corpses in front of the barricade have been cropped off and the poster has less in the way of weaponry.
But the essential feature is a masterpiece of the advertising trade by harking back to an image familiar to all educated French people. The French wording is simple and straightforward; even a foreigner can read it easily. In fact the man at the left of the picture has an English slogan on his t-shirt ‘Keep Calm and Save the Earth’. (I can’t help feeling that General de Gaulle wouldn’t have liked it being in English.)
Figureheads of the WWF have included Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, our Prince Philip and now Prince Charles. I wonder how they would feel about a poster lauding on the 1830 revolution which finally overthrew the legitimate monarchy in France. I hope they would be happy about it if it brings money and support.

My other picture, taken in La Defense, is probably the biggest picture of a panda in Paris; it advertises Beauval animal park in the Loire valley.

PandaLaDefense

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Step-free access?

August 27, 2016

From 21 August 2016

On the Sunday afternoon we left our hotel in Levallois and used the Metro to get to Paris Gare du Nord and hence by Eurostar to London and Harold Wood.

The first bit was easy; a 10 minute walk trundling our cases included a couple of pedestrianised streets, including one where the Sunday market was almost cleared up. Paris Metro stations are not the easiest places for people with luggage – I’ll write another posting about that later. I reckon we had to manoeuvre our bags through one ticket gate and down about 30 steps (in several flights) to reach the platform.

Once on the metro train, things really started looking up. We changed at Reamur-Sebastipol and had done a recce. We knew that the change there involved 24 steps up, followed immediately by 6 steps down, thereafter to home there were only 3 fixed steps (in Liverpool St underground station) until we reached our doorstep in Harold Wood.  In Gare du Nord metro we used two escalators followed by a lift to the Eurostar reception. Boarding the train involved a travolator down to the platform. Several steps into the train were a bit challenging, but getting down in St Pancras was less so – different platform height. Inside the Eurostar section at St Pancras were ramped travolators again. Once in the open areas of the station, the Metropolitan-Circle line platforms were reached by a combination of two lifts. The Met-Circle trains now have floors level with the platform. At Liverpool St. there were the unavoidable 3 steps, but we used the lift from the Underground concourse to the Main Line ticket office, leaving only lifting the bags on and off the Greater Anglian train.

There had, of course, been gates (2) at Gare du Nord, at Kings Cross-St.Pancras, Liverpool St (2) and Harold Wood, but I know how to deal with them.

And thanks are due to the young man at Harold Wood station, who seeing me unload my bag from the train, offered me help. I hope that I declined gracefully, as I was then within easy trundling distance of home!