One of the most charming sights on a busy Parisian street is the little octagonal kiosk selling newspapers and magazines.
The iconic structures offer newspapers, magazines, cigarettes and small drugstore items for sale, along with 150 years of history. In the mid nineteenth century, Baron Haussmann commissioned them to serve the citizens and the cityscape of Paris.
But soon the symbols of Haussmannian Paris will be replaced with a more…modern construction. Instead of elegant grey-green cast-iron, the new, admittedly more comfortable, kiosks are made of green plastic.
The decision to update the kiosks came from Paris’ mayor Anne Hidalgo. Naturally, Parisians were outraged and raised a campaign to fight city hall. After all, the kiosks, with their stacks of Paris Match and Gauloises displays, are Paris–nostagically, whimsically, croissant-ally Paris.
Yet, Mayor Hidalgo’s move to update the kiosks is not the first time the Haussmannian kiosks have been modernized. Most of the original edifices were replaced in the 1970s and 1980s. The style, however remained consistent with the originals from the 1800s.
Some of the old timey kiosks will remain in the touristy sections of Paris for the sake of Instagram.
And the kiosquiers will probably appreciate a nicer place to work, as the updates will have heat, air conditioning and doors that lock at night. But, le sigh. Another piece of history disappearing, like the departure boards at New York’s Grand Central Station.
So remember to take the time to look around and appreciate what you see.
It could all go away.