• France's news in English

Classical music calms 'rowdy' Paris commuters

Ann Törnkvist · 4 Jun 2013, 11:08

Published: 04 Jun 2013 11:08 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Rail network SNCF has begun playing classical music on platforms along its J, L and RER A lines, after a competition inviting commuters in the Paris region to choose which melodies they would like to listen to on their daily slog to work.

"After a bit of experimenting at the Poissy station, we listened to the feedback from clients and interviewed passengers who said that classical music made their journey more pleasant," head of the project Bruno Rocher told online magazing StreetPress.

The competition "Choose the musical atmosphere for your station" was rolled out along the J and L lines of the Transilien commuter trains and along the A line of the RER. 

The prize? A trip in the conductor's cabin. 

A statement fom the Ile-de-France commuter network underscored the soothing effect of classical music.

"From Chopin to Beethoven via Mozart, a testing phase has shown that the passengers appreciate this atmosphere that has made the stations more serene and pleasant," said Transilien.

Related: Ten tips to avoid getting robbed on the Paris Metro

Yet that serenity may be about more than introducing the musical canon to harried commuters.

StreetPress reported finding a year-old blog post from the network operators for line J, stating that classical music could be a handy tool in the fight against anti-social behaviour. 

"We are undertaking several actions to stand up against incivility," the statement, dated May 2012 said, adding that its employees were up against young people who effectively used the stations and trains as their own spaces.

"(They) squat at the stations and the accompanying behaviour (smoking, spitting, shouting, and listening to music) affects public order and creates unease," read the statement, 

"From now on, when our employees identify a group of young people that gives the impression of creating trouble, they can play classical music."

Story continues below…

"Imagine, it works! Subjecting these persons to tunes they are not familiar with has the added benefit of making them flee," the statement added. 

The statement was removed by the train operators after media attention, however.  A spokesperson for the SNCF, the national train operators, said there was no link between the new initiative "Musique en Gare" and any previous attempts to quell anti-social behaviour.

"We're not coming at it from the same view point. We were made to understand that passengers, on their way home from work, were a bit stressed while they waited for their train," said SNCF.

"We want to make that moment a bit more zen," they added.

Ann Törnkvist (ann.tornkvist@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available