Delanoe's remedy for sleepless nights?
When Paris banned smoking in bars and clubs three years ago, no one foresaw one of the less desirable side-effects: late-night clubbers and party-goers spilling onto the streets in crowds to smoke – and
keeping the neighbours awake with their laughter and chatter.
After a number of lawsuits against bar and club owners, and steps by city authorities to shut down noisy clubs, a group of DJs and club promoters launched a petition warning that the world-famous Parisian night-life would die out if no compromise could be reached.
This week the Mayor of Paris called a conference at which club owners, police, residents’ groups and local authorities would put their point of view, and, together, try to hammer out a solution.
“Partying and culture is part of what makes Paris shine,” Mayor Bertrand Delanoe told the gathering on Friday, admitting, however, that fostering a vibrant night-life while respecting residents’ right to peace and quiet would be a tough challenge.
“We Parisians are demanding, and even contrary,” he said. “On a night you’re staying in, you’d like a curfew at 8 pm. But when you’re in the mood to party, you want the right to make a racket until 8 am.”
Starting this spring, Paris will send out squads of white-faced mimes and red-nosed clowns to nudge punters into keeping the noise down, an alternative to sending in the police. The project is modelled on a successful experiment in Barcelona.
“It’s about getting the message across with a dose of humour,” said Mao Peninou, the deputy mayor in charge of the project.
This time there may be an entirely beneficial side-effect for visitors to Paris to look forward to. Plentiful late-night work for dreadfully un-entertaining mimes might just keep them off the Paris streets in daytime.