Taking It to the Streets

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Most tourists who visit Paris take some sort of souvenir home. Many choose the cliché mini Eiffel Tower or even spring for some gourmet treats from Fauchon. Now travelers truly smitten with France’s capital can own an actual piece of the city. An online store has launched to sell recycled granite cobblestones that were actually removed from Paris streets. Mon Pavé Parisien offers three versions of the authentic pavers: a simple stone with a red, white and blue logo; a cobblestone commemorating the 1968 student rebellion; and a stone with 22 carat gold gilding.

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Margaux Sainte-Lagüe, the savvy entrepreneur behind the project, noticed city workers removing and replacing cobblestones last year and decided to purchase some of the 8,000 tons of stones recycled annually. With city streets paved with cobblestones since the 12th century, the supply is huge. If you crave a personalized chunk of Paris history, Sainte-Lagüe can customize a cobblestone just for you. I’m thinking about a pair for bookends, with the address of the last apartment that I rented in the Marais.

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cobblestone-scooter-paris-2009 By the way, the May ’68 commemorative stones are a reference to the protest graffiti “sous les pavè, la plage” or under the stone, the beach, referring to the sand base of the roadways. During the revolt, students and workers tore up Paris streets to use the cobblestones for barricades and missiles.

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