Paris : the good memories of the tourists - The Point

"there is nothing more to scratch," says Baptiste*, at the head of a souvenir shop near the Champs-Élysées. The most beautiful avenue in the world, usually so

Paris : the good memories of the tourists - The Point

"there is nothing more to scratch," says Baptiste*, at the head of a souvenir shop near the Champs-Élysées. The most beautiful avenue in the world, usually so busy in this month of August, has, this time, the aspect of the sparse days of the great strikes. A few international tourists wander, mask on the face, between the luxury shops and the souvenir shops, most closed in the absence of a regular clientele. "We have lost almost all of our revenues," laments the Baptist, rendered anaemic in the strength to flag down the few passing tourists on their sidewalk. "They are, but they do not consume," explains the shopkeeper on the background of the key ring Eiffel tower and French flags. In the first line on the front lines of the crisis in tourism, managers of gift shops displayed their helplessness and cry for a season already in jeopardy.

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Avenue de Rivoli, the mecca of tourism, francophone, facing the Louvre emptied of its foreign visitors, it's Aurélie who is watching with apprehension his or her stock of "goodies" to grow. "We are no longer flows, and, unfortunately, my shop fills up fast. I am looking to liquidate the inventory, but, with 90 % of sales usual, it is a miracle. "The miracle, taking a very long time to come since the spread of the virus is accelerating in the United States and in Latin America. "They were our main customers. The few european tourists woefully inadequate to compensate. "And these are not the French tourists who will come to bring the hand to the pocket. A study of the chamber of commerce and industry (CCI) of the Île-de-France on the occasion of the summer sale recalled that " the situation and the uncertainty does not encourage the purchase ". Cited by the BCC, a merchant resident admitted : "The anxiety still hangs and the lack of desire to buy is obvious. We don't know how it will be the start of the year. "

The phantom of the Louvre

Germans, Dutch, Spaniards, rare are those among our neighbours who are at risk in france, in the throes of an upsurge in cases of contamination. Since the beginning of the year, the Île-de-France would have lost 16 million visitors, the equivalent of a loss of 7 billion euros, according to the regional tourism committee, as quoted by 20 Minutes. In 2019, the region had hosted more than 50 million tourists, despite a year punctuated by social movements and a massive strike in the transport sector.

Under the pyramid of the Louvre, what are employees left to fend for themselves, who see it as dangerously decrease sales. "We work on products that are cheap, but the customer is not at the rendezvous," says Shane in one of the shops in the Carousel, it is very dependent of the activity of the museum which reopened in July. Contrary to received ideas, lack of revenue would not come from the absence of an asian clientele, more fond of the Galeries Lafayette department store as shops selling souvenirs, but the lack of these "middle class" from the countries of Latin America or India.

"We tried to open a day in July without giving away"

Cups Napoleon, berets, t-shirts, " Bons baisers de Paris ", stickers in the shape of a rod, passing by the Arc de Triomphe in miniature, the famous shops of the capital were, at the same time as their owners, the tour of the planet. A containment later and in spite of the aid of the State, as well as a recovery plan in consultation with the Caisse des dépôts, it is up to the payment difficulties that are faced by the merchants of memories. "We tried to open a day in July without giving a result. We try our luck in August, because we also have a rent to pay, " says a young waitress at the lookout behind the plexiglass of his shop located on the iconic island of the City.

" Honestly, I don't want too much to talk about. We had yellow Vests, strikes in transport, fire, Notre Dame, and now the Covid-19. Of course it's complicated ", slice another manager who has attended the fire. A few meters away, it is a second seller who negotiates with customers tempted by the figurines of the main monuments of Paris. "The prices are fixed," he says. They will not carry the day in paradise. "

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*this name has been changed

Updated Date: 05 August 2020, 11:33

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