Observers

A pedestrianised, pastel-hued residential street in Paris is being overrun by snap-happy tourists, who make a beeline for this out-of-the-way corner of the French capital to get the perfect Instagram photo. And the residents have had enough. An Instagram account called clubcremieux posts photos of the people taking photos of posing on the cobblestoned street, ridiculing them in the process.

They say that hell is other people. It certainly is for Parisians living on the rue Crémieux, a picturesque street in the 12th arrondissement (district) of Paris, between Bastille and the Gare de Lyon. The photogenic houses attract hordes of people taking photos – from hen parties and tourists snapping invasive pictures of people’s windows, to dance troupes and music videos.

The Instagram account Clubcrémieux takes aim at these people by treating them to a bit of their own medicine: photographing them in the middle of their ridiculous poses, coupled with acerbic photo captions.

Caption: Cassandra's parents had long since abandoned the idea of explaining to her how a doorbell works.


Caption: Go on, do the move!


Caption: [On the image] Toilet break
[In the description] When nature calls...

Antoine, the vice-president of the street’s neighbourhood association, expressed his frustration with the intrusions to French radio station FranceInfo.

"It’s become hellish. During the week it’s okay, because they’re tourists and so aren’t too annoying. But at the weekend there’ll be 200 people outside our windows. We’ll be sitting down to eat, and there will be people next to us taking photos," he said. "You have rap music videos being filmed for two hours underneath your window, or hen parties who scream for an hour – frankly, it’s exhausting."

Antoine extends red-and-white safety tape across the front of his sky-blue house, according to FranceInfo, in order to stop people posing on his doorstep or draping themselves on the coloured walls.

Yoga, ballet, rap and someone’s knickers

Olivier, another resident, told French newspaper Le Parisien that February’s freak spell of good weather drew more people than usual at this time of year. “We’re sick of seeing people twerking with music turned up to max for two hours,” he complained. “Sometimes my kids can’t concentrate on their homework with all of the noise. […] We want a sensible solution that ensures the road remains of course accessible to everyone, but is also a place to live with a modicum of tranquillity.”


Caption: There are definitely easier ways of ringing the doorbell...


 

Caption: Superb. Ladies and gentlemen, the dance of idiots.


Caption: "At the beginning we thought about doing it at home, and then someone said, 'What if we hung up our knickers in the road and photographed them?' and it was then that we thought that we were onto something..."

The road has received mixed reviews on TripAdvisor. One reviewer gives it only one star, and tells others to avoid it – “It was full of people, mostly photographers, and you actually had to queue to take one measly photo as a souvenir. […] A resident came out of their house to tell [a bachelorette party] to be quiet and they rang the police to make them leave. There are even houses in front of which it’s actually forbidden to take photos!”

In another review, the person complains that residents were taking photos of tourists taking photos of the street, “The people who live there are unbearable… I’ve never seen anything like it. Apparently the pavement belongs to them too. Since when has it been forbidden to take photos of a street?”

“We’re lucky to live here”

Not all residents find it difficult to live there. One local told Le Parisien, “More than anything, we’re lucky to live in a place like this. Overall, tourists are generally nice and understanding, even if sometimes there are people who are intrusive and disrespectful.”


Locals are appealing to Paris’s town hall to close off the road to the public at the weekends and in the evenings after a particular time. The street used to be private, but the City of Paris bought it in 1967, and has no plans to privatise it again.

Politicians in the arrondissement are doing what they can to respond to residents’ concerns: information about the street has been taken down from official tourist sites, and they plan to look at the presence of tourist buses that park nearby and consider regulating access to the street.

Jean-François Martins, the city’s deputy mayor in charge of tourism, told Le Parisien, “Paris is proud to be a city that attracts tourists but also a city where people live. A balance has to be found.”

Authorities plan to make a decision on the matter before the summer.
 

(This article was written by Catherine Bennett).