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Eiffel tower....J'etais si triste!

We noticed this past year to our great sadness that it seemed no one gathers in the evening at the park at the base of the Eiffel Tower for food and wine anymore. We went on three separate occasions after Dark over a 10-day period and there was not one soul gathered in that Park. it was the only real difference we noticed in Paris this time and it made us sad. Does anyone know why? Do the police prevent people from Gathering there now? We used to love sitting there with all the locals and hearing everybody say "ahhhhh" every time the tower lit to Sparkle as if it was the first time they had ever seen it. Going again in May and would love to think that things are back to normal again. It is one of my favorite memories of Paris.

Posted by
2466 posts

That's because there are a bazillion rats out there!!!
The City of Paris is trying out "de-ratization" in the grids in and under around the trash barrels.
Don't say I didn't warn you.

Posted by
43 posts

When we were there in April 2017, it was closed off and they were planting new grass.

When we were there in October 2017 it was still closed off, and we were told it had something to do with the new perimeter they're going to build around the Tower to replace the hideous stuff that's there now. Bulletproof glass, I believe, is planned.

Posted by
43 posts

I should have been clearer above, where I am specifically referring to the Champ de Mars.

One October evening we were able to lie on the grass under the tower and there were plenty of others enjoying the same thing, with wine and food. But it wasn't after dark, it was dusk.

Posted by
7002 posts

A number of years ago they started enforcing public drinking rules there because of the prevalence of drunken disruptive gatherings. I suspect just closing it off grew out of the same desire to shut down a spot that had become an issue.

Posted by
2466 posts

It doesn't matter where you sit, even at the Champs de Mars - the rats are there - bazillions of them.
They are coming out of the Seine and other places where people discard their trash. It doesn't have anything to with drunkenness, however.
There is also bulletproof glass being erected, to prevent terrorism.

Posted by
3579 posts

We used to love sitting there with all the locals and hearing
everybody say "ahhhhh" every time the tower lit to Sparkle as if it
was the first time they had ever seen it. Going again in May and
would love to think that things are back to normal again. It is one of
my favorite memories of Paris.

Go ahead. Nothing is stopping you. Just know you will be surrounded by a massive infestation of rats who are very LOCAL according to Chexbres. Google "Paris rat infestation" for more info. Yikes.

Posted by
2349 posts

October 2014, I didn't see rats. I did see dozens of men trying to sell electronic flashing Eiffel Towers and ET keychains and light up flying whirligigs. It was like waving away mosquitoes in Minnesota, there were so many vendors. It was very unpleasant and we left sooner than planned.

Posted by
2466 posts

When you visited in October 2014, you didn't see the rats.
The trinket sellers are a pain, best avoided.
If you visit again, you will see a bizillion rats.

Posted by
2349 posts

I probably couldn't see rats because they were shoving blinking light up crap in my face. I was blinded to the rats.

Posted by
39 posts

Such negativity mes Amis! These things pale in comparison to the endless parade of begging"deaf mutes" who I have personally heard speaking on more than one occasion, but I digress, I thought this thread was about happy evenings in the park with wine and Friends

Posted by
5670 posts

Ah, quel dommage! To be deprived of the ultimate backdoor experience of picnicking with a bazillion (or is it bizillion?) Parisian rats as a temporary local! Curse those bulletproof glass walls protecting the rats from terrorists!

Just remember, when picnicking with a rat, be sure to say "bonjour monsieur" or "bonjour madame" when you first meet, say "s'il vous plait" and "merci" whenever possible, try to eat the best cheese before they get to it, and say "au revoir" when you (or they) leave. And enjoy that big metal thing blinking on and off overhead.

Or head over to Trocadero and watch it all from the terrace or a café. Bonne chance! ;-)

Posted by
6646 posts

I'm curious. If the rats are coming from the Seine, and the river has two banks, are they only coming up on the ET side? Or are they also a problem on the Trocadero side? Maybe they are just visiting the Champs-de-Mars with their little rat families to watch the sparkling ET lights and enjoy the food scraps dropped by the masses of tourists there.

Posted by
7002 posts

We sat in front of Notre Dame in the evening last May and watched a huge family of rats -- two large one and at least 8 smaller ones running in and out of the garbage baskets (plastic bags on rings). and then cavorting in the bushes. so yeah there are platoons of the things on both sides of the Seine.

Posted by
8671 posts

Dick, I always enjoy your posts and this one was particularly clever... : ) ... 🐭

Posted by
5670 posts

I think it's important to remember, also, that Parisian rats are not really stand-offish or unfriendly, they are just rather formal. Do not be offended when they seize your cheese and scurry off with just a flick of their little tails. Unlike American humans, they do not feel compelled to chat up everyone they meet. And they have learned a thing or two from the pickpockets and con artists who share their urban habitat.

And of course the right bank rats tend to be more affluent than those on the left bank, less inclined to dine informally with tourists behind the anti-terrorist barriers under the big blinking metal thing. They sometimes behave more adroitly than their gaucher cousins to the south.

Posted by
2466 posts

There are rats on both sides of the Seine...and they will take your cheese and whatever it goes with it.

Posted by
2349 posts

Could it be that they are just demonstrating or on strike? Or perhaps they are just tourists.

Posted by
784 posts

When I was in Paris this past September (2017), I rode the #69 bus to the Champs de Mars where I got off to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle. There was a crowd of people on the grass in the park and it was very festive, and there were several vendors trying to sell souvenirs. There was a what appeared to be a temporary chain link fence surrounding the area where the crowd was, but I don't know where they entered the area. The bus stop is on Avenue J. Bouvard, which is about at the mid-point in the park. I stood at a permanent fence separating the park from the street, and I had a great view. Not as much fun as sitting on the grass sipping wine and eating cheese, but I enjoyed it. The #42 also goes to this spot.

PS - I didn't see any rats.

Posted by
39 posts

Sil vous plait, everyone keeps mentioning the big blinking thing what are they referring to? Personally I have been to Paris many times and have never seen a rat to be honest but will watch for them in May, tip my hat, nod with a friendly smile and not interrupt their meal.

Posted by
270 posts

We were so turned off by the annoying vendors non-stop pestering in the courtyard at the Louvre during our last visit. Really put a damper on our trip. The thought of all the rats is not too appetizing either. That along with dirty trains and impending train strikes suppresses any desire to return to Paris any time soon. Spending our tourist dollars in Italy and then Austria this year.

Posted by
8671 posts

I love Italy but I guarantee you there as many rats in their cities and towns as there are in France.
The trains seem the same to me. Have you been on the Circumvesuviana train?
Paris / France are as wonderful as Italy.