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Keep Your B.O. to Yourself, and Other Friendly Tips for Paris Metro Riders

Keep Your B.O. to Yourself, and Other Friendly Tips for Paris Metro Riders
Shutterstock.com/Nikonaft

Being stuck in a grimy, crowded metal box deep underground doesn't bring out the best in the average subway commuter. And Parisians aren't exactly known for their willingness to keep their complaints to themselves.

Last year, the regional transit authority Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens launched an ad campaign to discourage rude behavior on the Paris subway. They used images of hens, warthogs, and sloths to scold riders for holding loud phone conversations, eating gross foods, and taking up too much space.

When public shaming failed, RATP turned to an equally Parisian solution: charming PSAs that look straight out of the Belle Époque. The newly released ebook Manuel de Savoir-Vivre a l’usage du Voyageur Moderne names 12 essential, if slightly tongue-in-cheek, rules for getting by on the subway. Local graphic designer Marion Thomas-Mauro created some very French illustrations to accompany the rules, offering a slightly wacky take on the recommendations:

Don't smoke:

C'est comprendre que l'énorme cigarette barrée sur le quai n'est pas une œuvre d'art contemporain, mais une interdiction de fumer. (It is understood that the enormous cigarette with the bar through it on the platform is not a work of contemporary art, but a ban on smoking.)

Keep those phone conversations down:

C'est ne pas faire de son portable un insupportable. (Don't make your cell phone unbearable.)

Don't stare:

C'est ne pas fixer une passagère avec insistance, quand bien même elle aurait les yeux revolver. (Don't stare at a female passenger, even if she has eyes like a revolver).

And, a special message for the smelly French, keep your body odor to yourself:

C'est les jours de grosse chaleur, tel le manchot empereur, bien gardes les bras le long du corps et prendre sa meilleure prise en bas du poteau, pas tout en haut. (On very hot days, be like the emperor penguin -- keep your arms along the sides of your body and grip the lower handholds, not the ones on top.)

Check out the full guide below:

 

Illustrations by Marion Thomas-Mauro, courtesy RATP. Top image courtesy Shutterstock.com/Nikonaft.

Stephanie Garlock is a fellow at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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