Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Le Crottes D'Azur: Merde!

                                                              Via Huffington Post

Many years ago we went with a French friend to visit London.  He had never been to England so after his first morning out sight- seeing we met up for lunch.

 "So what do you think?" we chimed.
 "The people is sympa and NO SHIT OF DOG!", he enthused.

PRECISELY,  the eleventh commandment in the Anglo Saxon world is:    Your dog  "shall not foul the footpath or verges".

And if he does you have to bloody well pick it up or pay a stiff fine.

The Americans are similarly disgusted by dog caca.  I can imagine at home:

"Hey PAL, you can't do that.  Kids play in this grass.  I'M not leaving till you pick it up. " 

And you would likely be duly shamed or turned in by citizen's arrest. 

 We are proactive in America once we seize the idea of something....    Of course, Americans also use this same idea of cleaning up after your dog as a marketing opportunity and there are all kinds of" pooper scoopers" for sale.

In France and especially in the southern cities like Marseille, Cannes and Nice we have a shitty, poo problem.  I counted over twenty little piles on my short walk today past the FACULTY of TURDS and LETTERS....all of them on the asphalt sidewalk.  So owners won't even consider dragging their dog to the CURB.

 And there was a frighteningly huge deposit in the stairwell of the city steps.   By the size and girth , that one had to be the HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES..... or worse.... ( it doesn't bear thinking about.)  

There has been a campaign in Paris which is slowly succeeding to train dog owners to clean up after their canine beasts, and the campaign here in Nice seems to be stepped up..... I now have a baggy dispenser at the bottom of my street which is a remote corner of Nice.  Amazing!!!!

   I have seen dog toilets in a couple of the Nicois parks but I have also read that the bags provided were confiscated by people without being placed full in the bin.  It appears that someone is taking them to use as FREEZER BAGS......  CHARMING thought!

 If you ask a typical French person about the dog poo problem they are embarrassed or they might say that its good luck to step in "crottes de chien" ( literal translation: dog crusts).

  However, none of my French friends would allow their dog these liberties, and by the way  none of them has dogs either.   They understand the responsibilities of owning a dog ... so not everybody is guilty of this filthy crime.

   However, there seems to be a incredulity in the general public that one would leave the house armed with plastic gloves and bags to actually pick up after the dog you are walking.

In Milan the concierge ( portinaio) of our apartment told us that people would allow their dogs to foul the marble steps of our building even after seeing him spending all morning cleaning those steps.  They countered his objections with the idea that their dog had the right to go where he wanted!  So this isn't just a FRench problem but more of a southern European one.

 I think this is somehow related to the misplaced idea of the rights of the citizen  .... the little guy against the government.  You might also see people here purposely walking in the bike lane ... or biking in the pedestrian zone or... throwing litter in the street.   There is a strong mentality of we pay high taxes so that the government should fix everything.  And since we don't trust the government, we don't care about it's laws and don't feel bound by them.

 It's hard to get the idea of civic pride across if there is a lack of reinforcement of the laws .  The biggest help would be more fines being levied, not just on the books, but re-inforced.

Too bad Nice can't use the idea that I heard about in an apartment in the USA where  a DNA sample is taken from the mouth of each dog living in the complex.
And if there is a poop alert because of some owner sneaking out with Horatio at mid-night, the janitor will run out and take a sample and send it to a laboratory for testing.

 As soon as the owner of that apartment complex implemented this idea, the incidence of naughty owners decreased 99 % and there were few "mishaps" and very few fines.  

Great idea, we need some consequences here....but until that day on the "Crottes D'Azur",  keep your eyes down and your step nimble!

 via good


  1. If I had 10 Euros for every law on the books that isn't enforced in Nice...well, you know. The latest "fuck-you" fiasco is bikers on the tramway. Heavy fine if caught. Guess what?
    There is no enforcement.

  2. The brilliant travel writer Paul Theroux, In his book The Pillars of Hercules, circumnavigated all the countries and cities bordering the Mediterranean sea some 20 years ago. It was an arduous journey, and he remarked on the attractions and interests of dozens of cities in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, The Levant, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, et. al. He spent 2 days in Nice. What was his impression? that's right. Dog shit.

  3. I just found your blog, it's great. I was on holiday in Nice, the old town, 2 weeks ago and had a wonderful time. But the doggy gifts were a bit too much by the final day, especially on those streets that get direct sun all day, phooo-eey! Funny that the 'don't shit where you eat' thing doesn't seem to hold out. I can understand the stick it to the man mentality, but at the end of the day they're the ones who have to live it in.
    ...the doggies were cute though...
    Best wishes,

  4. Welcome Roz, Yes, we are particularly puzzled and disgusted by this problem. There are so many beautiful friezes and old buildings in Nice to gaze up at ,but we don't dare! Scandaleux!