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PostAvenue Foch, Paris (Randy Black, USA, 06/02/14 5:00 am)
First, let me say that I respect and admire Carmen Negrín greatly because of the travails that she and her family survived over the decades of upheaval in Spain. I am disappointed that I did not have the chance to meet her during my March visit to Paris.
Nevertheless, Carmen seems to be in denial as to the graffiti that has denigrated my favorite destination, the City of Lights. In my Internet search, I've found tens of thousands of examples of graffiti in Paris. Included is one article in 2012 in which the outgoing Mayor of Paris declared a budget of nearly 13 million Euros to clean up the mess.
In the British media, Avenue Foch is known at Billionaire's Row.
From the tone of Carmen's prior comments, I assume that Avenue may be generally immune from graffiti that is defiling the rest of Paris.
Sidebar: The Mayoral candidate of the Socialist Party, Anne Hidalgo, prior to the most recent election cycle, had proposed to turn the Avenue Foch into a pedestrian venue to generate more foot traffic and therefore more retail sales in the upscale shops and restaurants along the avenue.
In fact, M. Hidalgo is mayor-elect of Paris and its first female mayor. She won with 55% of the vote March 30. Mayor-elect Hidalgo is Spanish born, and is a French citizen, the result of her grandparent's economic refugee status at the end of the Spanish Civil War. The French mayor's grandfather was once sentenced to death in Spain. I wonder if Carmen has any type of connection to M. Hidalgo.
Historical status of Avenue Foch: The following is from the UK's Independent: "Over the years its name has changed, with the prevailing political winds, from the Avenue de L'Impératrice, to the Avenue Général-Ulrich, to the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne to the Avenue Foch, after a First World War field marshal. During the Nazi occupation of Paris from 1940-44 it became the address of choice for the Gestapo and other high-ranking Germans, earning the nickname the 'Avenue Boche.'"
Recent sales of apartments along Avenue Foch were in the $100 million range.
But back to the graffiti that has overtaken most of Paris.
Also, see: http://ilovegraffiti.de/lars/2009/01/27/rolling-in-paris/
Clearly, the matter is not even remotely successful as I saw 10 weeks ago. The two attached photos are my own. I did not set out to shoot photos of all that I witnessed or I would not have had time to shoot or see what I was there to view and enjoy. I was shocked, however, with the sheer number of defacements of grand old buildings.
Along the Seine and near the Eiffel Tower, there were groups of heavily armed French soldiers guarding against additional shocking offenses. I have several photos of the soldiers, armed with automatic weapons patrolling under the Eiffel Tower, near the riverboat operations and around various museums including the Musee D'Orsay. In my nearly 35 years of visiting Paris, the only place I've ever seen police and soldiers with automatic weapons has been at the airports... until in March 2014.
JE's note to self: I must buy an apartment on Avenue Foch! Back to the real world: here are Randy's two photos:
I don't recall Carmen Negrín claiming that Paris is graffiti-free. She was merely questioning that it is of "Arabic" origin.