TRAVEL with pat and lew

* Paris mystery sign explained

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 1, 2010

THANK YOU to Jonathan Darnborough (who was my tutor in the magnificent course on Beethoven I took recently at Oxford) who has found the signs on the French traffic sign site.

And thanks also to those of who who shared your creative explanations. See COMMENTS at the bottom of the post  * images from the streets of Paris


Sign without red bar … Définition : Chemin obligatoire pour piétons … Mandatory Pedestrian Path

Sign with red bar … Définition : Fin de chemin obligatoire pour piétons … End of Mandatory Pedestrian Path

the sign we saw … Note that the man & child are NOT holding hands (does this mean anything?) … ALSO … this sign was on a street in the Marais, NOT placed at the end of, or anywhere near, a pedestrian area.


So, now we know what French officialdom says the signs mean. Now if anyone can figure out how the French actually determine where to put them …

  • We did see one sign (with bar) at the end of a pedestrian area. All others seem to be at the end of streets which are NOT pedestrian areas.
  • And the fact remains that no one in Paris has any idea what the signs mean, and will make up a creative story on the spot if asked.

Next time you’re in Paris and see the sign, ask some one and write in what they say.



3 Responses to “* Paris mystery sign explained”

  1. patti said

    I am at the end of a weeks stay in Bordeaux…yesterday i saw this sign posted at both ends of an area where restaurant tables were..I asked a local restaurant owner and he said it was to show the beginning and end of where people may walk on the streets..which made no sense at all, as it was in the middle of man, woman, child all milling about, and no one was told not to stay on the sidewalk within the square! It seemed to have no meaning at all!

  2. Liz said

    Could it possibly means No pedestrian traffic at all? Or, why not?, no child trafficking?

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