The Olympics will 'erase' a symbol of Paris, say booksellers

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The Olympics will 'erase' a symbol of Paris, say booksellers
The riverside book stalls are a famous symbol of Paris. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

Booksellers along the river Seine in Paris continue to hit back at plans to remove them during the 2024 Olympics opening ceremony.


Riverside Paris booksellers have told city authorities they threaten to erase a symbol of Paris, if they shut their stalls for the Olympics.

The 200 “bouquinistes“, who make up the largest open-air book market in Europe, were up in arms over a letter sent to them on Thursday by the Paris police authority.

Following the move, president of the Paris booksellers association, Jerome Callais, said their boxes on the riverbank are as important as the most iconic landmarks of the city.


"People come to see us like they come to see the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, (but) they want to hide us during a ceremony that is supposed to represent Paris," said Callais on Saturday.

"We're going to erase, we're going to deny this major symbol that has been present in Paris for 450 years.

"We're going to hide it throughout the ceremony, which is supposed to enhance Paris," he added.

The organisers of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games are expecting at least 600,000 people to attend the opening ceremony, which is scheduled to take place on the Seine.

MAP: Where events will be held for 2024 Paris Olympics

Nearly 570 stalls will be dismantled, representing almost 60 percent of the bouquinistes boxes.

The police want a perimeter where “access and movement of persons are regulated” to ensure the security of a “place or event exposed to a risk of acts of terrorism”.


City authorities are offering to pay for the removal and reinstallation of the boxes, as well as paying to repair any that are damaged in the process.

Other solutions include offering book dealers the opportunity to take part in a Village des bouquinistes in a literary district near the Seine.

Jérôme Callais said that the location proposed, Place de la Bastille, was not a viable solution however, and that no compensation had been provided.

"No one is going to go to this village", he said.


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