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Police in Paris seize 20 tonnes of miniature Eiffel Towers

French police have seized 20 tonnes of miniature Eiffel Towers as part of a crackdown on the souvenirs which are offered illegally to tourists at visitor hotspots around Paris, security sources told AFP.

Police in Paris seize 20 tonnes of miniature Eiffel Towers
Photo: AFP

The small metal trinkets are sold for as little as five for one euro at places such as the Louvre museum or outside the real Eiffel Tower, usually by African migrants who play a game of cat-and-mouse with police.

A joint investigation involving French immigration authorities led to raids on three Chinese wholesalers who are suspected of importing the towers and 
supplying a network of vendors in Paris.

More than 1,000 boxes, containing in total 20 tonnes of miniature Eiffel Towers, were seized from two depots and three shops in the Paris region on 
Monday and Tuesday, a security source told AFP, confirming a report in Le Parisien newspaper.

Nine people have been arrested.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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