Urban Art and Curiosities

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Every time I’m in Europe, I enjoy taking pictures of political stickers and graffiti left on street furniture after major protests. This year, I was expecting tons of witty slogans and puns following the months-long demonstrations against the labour code reform. But… nada. Well, almost nothing. I showed up too late. Not all windows that were smashed during the protests were replaced but the city was cleaned up and offending stickers and graffiti were presumably removed.

Et merde!

I still need my hit of urban art, so I turned to signs, close-ups of these objects we see but barely register and yes, the few graffiti I did find.

It’s amazing how much these urban objects can tell about a culture. So today, no people… just ubiquitous and unsung pieces of the French urban landscape.

Coffee cup reflection at the train station

Coffee cup reflection at the train station

Nantes sign in French and Breton language

Nantes sign in French and Breton language

"It's ridiculous!" tag on a city sign explaining the ongoing construction work at Commerce

“It’s ridiculous!” tag on a city sign explaining the ongoing construction work at Commerce

"Are you happy?" graffiti

“Are you happy?” graffiti

Two red, one green light in the middle

Two red, one green light in the middle

"Smile, you're alive" graffiti

“Smile, you’re alive” graffiti

Fancy doors

Fancy doors

"Stop and end"

“Stop and end”

French flag reflection

French flag reflection

"National security alert system in effect" (Plan Vigipirate)

“National security alert system in effect” (Plan Vigipirate)

"The only solution: a revolution"

“The only solution: a revolution”

Amazingly, this company has been in business since... 1748

Amazingly, this company has been in business since… 1748

Funny art

Funny art

"State and police: fucking die!"

“State and police: fucking die!”

Naked woman, bas-relief on a bridge

Naked woman, bas-relief on a bridge

Sign in Saint-Michel along the main national road, "forbidden to horses"

Sign in Saint-Michel along the main national road, “forbidden to horses”

"We have strong grievances"

“We have strong grievances”

Half open and half closed, "Back at 6 p.m."

Half open and half closed, “Back at 6 p.m.”

Price of bread in one of Nantes' bakery

Price of bread in one of Nantes’ bakery

Broken ATM

Broken ATM

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

10 Comments

  1. In my case, every time I traveled outside Jakarta by road, I like to snap graffities behind/on its side Dump Trucks. It’s very entertaining and creative that you have to guess what message they are trying to deliver.
    For instance, once I read
    “See book the mee is 3” which means “Sibuk demi Istri” or “busy (looking for money) for the wive” =))
    sibuk = busy
    istri = wife

      • here for the example. I’ll translate the first three.
        https://hello-pet.com/foto-lucu-tulisan-belakang-bak-truk-nan-kocak-1722608

        1. Pergi karena tugas, pulang karena cinta
        (the truck drives) go because (he is) on duty, (the drives) go home because of love
        because = karena
        awss, so sweet

        2 anak cukup, 2 istri bangkrut
        two kids are enough, two wives (the driver will be) broke.
        “two kids are enough” was a famous birth-control slogan during Soharto, the second president era.
        Back at that time, it was a very common thing to see Indonesian couple had 5-7 children!
        while most of truck drivers are famous for having another wife since they always been away from home, traveled to other province/city. this practice somehow, still common thing for low-income society.

        3. Berat-nya rinduku tak se-berat muatanku
        (how much) I miss you as not as heavy as my (truck) load.
        berat=heavy
        sort of saying the drivers miss their partner very much, but he has a lot of load on his truck to deliver.

  2. At least the shop put a sign on their door. One evening I was going to meet up with a friend for dinner in downtown. When I was in front of the restaurant, it has no sign on whether they had gone for holiday or they were still in business. I waited until 19h30, and decided that they were closed, don’t know for how long. And I checked out several restaurants around, most of them didn’t have any sign but they were closed. I was surprised, I expect restaurants or shops to inform their customers when were they closed or opened. They didn’t leave a voice message neither when we called.

    • I hear you, it drives me crazy! I also hate it when shopkeepers put signs with the opening hour… but the store is still closed for no reason.

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