"It is here that Marie-Antoinette is cut off the head," says Djamila in front of his four nephews disconcerted. Perched at the top of the tourist buses of the company Big Bus Tours, earphones screwed in the ear, the young historians in the grass watching, fascinated, the place de la Concorde emptied of its usual tourists. "It is quite sad even if it makes good," remarked Djamila, concerned by the level of attention of their little darlings.
empty Places, monuments neglected, the capital is low and grey in the sun in the month of August. To such a point that the famous double-decker bus, present from Berlin to London by way of Paris, have had to reduce sail in the face of the health crisis.
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A bus every half-hour
" We have fallen to 10 % of our revenues compared to the same period ", explains Sébastien Vincent, general director of buses, Big Bus Paris, one of the main operators in the sector with the RATP group. Once the foreign customers removed – American, English, German, it is a whole piece of tourism that stings the nose in the capital. "The local sales among our partners are completely affected. The newspaper sellers are struggling to sell. The same in the hotels, " says, the grief, the chief executive officer of the company.
The place de la Concorde, the 6th of August. © Jacques Paugam
The figures are eloquent. Between January and June 2020, the regional committee of tourism in the Île-de-France reported a drop of nearly 70 % of the requests for accommodations. Due to lack of clients, the operators have had to adapt their management to the health crisis. "We have gone from 5 to 7 minutes waiting for a bus every half-hour," says Sébastien Vincent. From the Eiffel tower to the Champs-Élysées, passing by Our Lady, it is to tourists, besotted by the heat of a deserted Paris.
The crossing of Paris
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"It's confusing," admits Caroline, a tourist from scotland busy photographing the Pyramid of the Louvre private, for better or for worse, the usual queue of visitors stuck in front of the entrance of the museum. On the pediment of the palace of the Tuileries, a poster gigantic – supposed to hide the work – reminded tourists that the dominican Republic opened their arms. At each stop, a few extra visitors climb the stairs of the bus, visibly exhausted by the afternoon sun. Sitting in the front, a couple of charming English sports a lightweight umbrella lavender color to protect themselves. To the rear of the car, Cyndia, South-African, "mislaid" by his own admission in Paris, supports rather well this time scorching hot. "There is more air sitting on the bottom," says the young woman, stating " to try to pass the time ". "I had to go back but, with the cancellation of my correspondence, I am stuck here. It's funny because I visit the city of love all alone ", says she, smiling in spite of this forced stay.
The passengers of a bus company Big Bus Tours is sitting on the floor of the coach, on the 6th of August 2020. © Jacques Paugam
"They are not so bad in france"
"But where the life Vests are yellow ?" joked a tourist from the anglo-saxon while the bus goes up the avenue des Champs-Élysées. On the most beautiful avenue in the world, the souvenir shops closed evidence of the importance of the crisis encountered by the sector. A study conducted by the chamber of commerce and industry of Ile-de-France, on the occasion of the summer sales shifted, reminded that for 87 % of the merchants of paris, the turnover observed during this period was lower than last year.
Arrived in the mid-term, the smiles fade, before the disaster of the cathedral of Notre-Dame. "We came over 20 years ago, but, obviously, without knowing that today we wouldn't see the arrow," says Caroline, touched by the expressions of solidarity from around the world. Leaned in the window of a building, an elegant octogenarian welcomes the passengers of the bus. "They are not so bad as the French," notes one passenger. Back to the Eiffel tower, the bus gives up part of its passengers. On the sidewalk in front of the shops and restaurants closed for the summer, one of them asks : "Okay, what is-what is being done now ? "
Read also Tourism : the rediscovery of Europe by carUpdated Date: 08 August 2020, 12:33