President’s intervention keeps Paris’ riverside bookstalls in place for the Olympics

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron canceled plans Tuesday to move Paris’ famed second-hand booksellers’ boxes from the banks of the Seine River in preparation for the opening ceremony of the Olympics in July.

A statement from the Elysee presidential palace said Macron asked France’s interior minister and Paris police “to ensure that all booksellers are preserved and that none of them be forced to move.” Macron, it said, considered “les bouquinistes” of the Seine an example of the “living heritage of the capital.”

Police told the booksellers last summer that, for security reasons, several hundred of their stalls would be temporarily relocated a few days before the July 26 opening ceremony of the Summer Games taking place in the heart of Paris and along the Seine.

The booksellers actively campaigned to keep their familiar green boxes in place, even if they had to be closed.

The bookseller community has said it’s felt abandoned by Parisians in recent times and suffered in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, when tourists could not visit. It argued that many sellers might go bankrupt if the Olympics meant another disruption.

The Elysee said Macron requested to have security arrangements for the opening ceremony adapted to keep the open-air book stalls in circulation.

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