The security of the Elysée makes the Saint-Honoré district pale

“It is the reign of fear!” Philippe does not mince his words. Yet he is not the type to wave the black flag of anarchy, but the spoon in the cup of coffee. He actually runs the Faubourg Café, rue d’Anjou, a perpendicular to the famous rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (8th arrondissement). And the bistro owner’s main complaint against the current management is against the security measures to protect the tenant of the Palais de l’Elysée, located a little higher up this one-way street.

“It started under the Netherlands at the time of the attacks with large plots installed on the street and the temporary became permanent, it is delirium, fulminates the boss behind his counter. In every council of ministers they block everything and we are not supplied with certain products. In the middle of his troubles, a delivery boy comes in with three polystyrene boxes under his arm.

Tartars late

“You were stopped by the police and you had to take a detour? asks Philippe. The messenger nods his head, and the restaurateur continues, pointing to the boxes: “See, that’s fish for ceviche and tartars for lunch. In theory, it should be delivered to me between 8.30 and 9.00, but there, due to security blocks, I am delivered at 11 a.m. It is too late to offer it this afternoon. And that’s how it always is. »

The part of the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is circled in red, closed to car traffic. – Screenshot

The fact that the section of rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is completely closed to car traffic and to pedestrian traffic on certain occasions dries up the flow of potential customers. Philippe did the math: “It’s less than 20%”. “For some years it is true that there have been much fewer passengers,” confirms Katy, who runs the Milady fur shop, a few meters from the Elysée.

“As soon as there is something, they block the street. On Saturday you even have to have a card from the Elysée Palace to pass, so inevitably it reduces the crowds even though it’s supposed to be our biggest commercial day,” adds Katy exasperated. Luxury obliges, potential customers come by car with driver. But “as soon as the driver parks for a minute in front of the store, there are police who ask him to leave, and that scares the customers away,” laments the clerk. So we could laugh at the difficulties encountered by these very rich, but behind it is the trade that suffers.

“The beautiful shops are closed”

And it is the glitter of the street that is tarnished. Is it solely the fault of the Elysée Palace, which did not respond to our requests, while the street also hosts the US Embassy, ​​very tight on security measures? Difficult to be definitive, but “the beautiful shops are closed”, states Véronique, who represents the British designer Jenny Packham in a shop opposite the British Embassy. “There are fewer customers and the luxury clothing stores have been replaced by gallerists,” she adds.

Locals look for people on this luxury Parisian street.
Locals look for people on this luxury Parisian street. – G. Novello

“It’s not the faubourg like before”, comments, nostalgically, Judita, proud to have been installed there since 1989. The salesperson in the Janssens & Janssens fabric store assures that since we “can no longer access the street, people are wasting their time” and will come no more”. “It’s not fun, but we’re used to it,” she sighs.

Katy, the fur seller, is asking for an easing of restrictions “to bear more easily” the difficulties inherited from the Covid-19 period. Not far from there, the manager of the Marina children’s clothing store assures that the situation has improved: “Since June, we have had fewer problems since they let people pass. Before, pedestrian traffic could be blocked for two to three hours, but now it is only 10-15 minutes”. A breath of fresh air for a quarter in search of a breath of fresh air.

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