Up close & personal with MERDE.


PetiteBrigitte’s fragile sensibilities are being accosted daily by la merde. The French still have this 18th century tolerance for dirtiness that contradicts their current civility.

Second to their love for each other, the French love their dogs. There are currently 250,000 dogs living in Paris (dominant pedigree being the poodle, bien sur), and they generate 25 tons of poop a day, less than half of which is cleaned up off of our streets. Do the math and this means the chances of you stepping in poop on your walk to work are abnormally high. In fact, around 700 people are hospitalized each year in Paris, for slipping on the poopie.

The city has tried to clean-up. But 4000 sidewalk sweepers, 200 excrement vacuums , and 70 motorcycle poop patrols have barely made a dent in the merde. Dog owners profess helplessness at cleaning up after their dogs, but citizens are having none of it. Recently, they came out to do what the French do best: demonstrate.

As Thomas Gale reports:

Sophie and her golden lab, Mellis, made the mistake of strolling down a quiet pedestrian alley just as an anti-dog-poop demonstration was at its height. The demonstrators drew chalk circles around the piles, sang anti-doggie ditties, and repelled dog owners by offering them chocolate versions of what their pets had planned to leave.

Sophie and Mellis were quickly mobbed. “Not everyone in Paris is dirty,” Sophie pleaded. “It’s difficult for Mellis to go between two cars. We need some place especially for dogs.”

French architect, M. Bertin, found a solution by designing the first public pooch restroom, and proposed it to Paris authorities.

The design is as follows: each “wawa”, as he called the design, will consist of an open space—tastefully landscaped with flowers and hedges—that will serve as the designated doo-doo area. The wawa itself will be constructed with a new “canine concrete” that prevents sticking while retaining the scent (effectively marking the spot for the dogs).

Once the dog has had it’s private moment, the dog’s owner will be able to activate the flusher, which will use jet sprays of water to clear the site.

Each wawa will cost about $28,000 USD, and it is estimated that the city will need more than 2000 units, for a citywide total of about $66,000,000 USD.

Needless to say, Bertin’s brilliant proposal was denied. Dommage for us, and doo-doo encore for the doggies. Someone must save France from the merde.

Perhaps David Mamet, writer extraordinaire, has the solution. He is currently in production of a film entitled Joan of Bark: The Dog that Saved France. Will Joan of Bark lead us to victory?


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One thought on “Up close & personal with MERDE.

  1. pantheraleo says:

    So true so true. My family and I visited Tarascon and decided to call a street “bajsgatan” which in Swedish means Shit Street…

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