— Published 29 September 2023

Another form of test event

The end of the conflict? Not yet. A meeting was held on Thursday 28 September at the Préfecture de Police between Paris City Hall, the French government and the booksellers on the quays of the Seine, in an attempt to resolve the problem of the hundreds of boxes of books that have to be moved for the opening ceremony of the Paris 2024 Games. The meeting lasted over two hours. But it ended with no concrete solution and no real decision. All that was announced by the Prefect of Police was that tests would be carried out on three or four boxes to assess the feasibility of dismantling and moving them. It was also decided to “review the linear nature” of the boxes to be moved, with a view to possibly reducing the list. In short, no real progress. However, Pierre Rabadan, the deputy mayor of Paris with responsibility for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, suggested after the discussions, quoted by AFP: the meeting had enabled “a necessary dialogue to be re-established“. Laurent Nuñez, the Prefect of Paris, pointed out that the city was “very attached to the booksellers and their heritage“, but also took into account “the security constraints that require a decision” from the Prefecture. As for the main parties concerned, the book dealers, their representative Pascal Corseaux, vice-president of the Association culturelle des bouquinistes de Paris, explained that the tests announced by the prefecture would make it possible to “demonstrate the validity” of their arguments, namely that the diversity and complexity of the structures of the boxes make it impossible to dismantle and move them. As a reminder, the booksellers were informed by letter from the prefecture on 25 July that their boxes of second-hand books and souvenirs, attached to the parapet overlooking the quays of the Seine, had to be moved because they represented a safety issue for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.