The restaurateurs of the Sainte-Catherine market place have the blues. For the first time this year, there will be no music in what is one of the oldest – and one of the most charming – squares in Paris. “We, the restaurateurs of the place, are disgusted,” said Rémy Guilbert, president of Place Sainte-Catherine. Obviously, we have become the scapegoats of the town hall, who took a dislike to us. »

Behind the apparent serenity of this “village square”, tensions are burning between certain local residents, who complain about the noise, and the six restaurants on the cobbled square, who strive to conduct their business in compliance with the rules.

“We are the first to be aware of the character of this place, which must be preserved, but the finicky controls that we undergo, sometimes every day, border on harassment,” says a restaurateur. The police are called for everything. Recently, an establishment was fined 130 euros because its menu board exceeded the limit of its terrace by one meter! This is indeed a sign of hostility towards us. »

Another professional agrees: “Of course everyone agrees to restore order in the historic heart of Paris. And in fact we did it: the last establishment closes at half past midnight maximum, even in summer; we are reasonable and our customers are very peaceful. We are paying for the abuses of the Joséphine restaurant which was causing a commotion, but it closed months ago,” says another professional who, like the others, has the impression of being the subject of collective punishment. “Since then, everyone has been extra careful and careful not to disturb the neighborhood. »

Some neighbors remain frankly hostile, explain the restaurateurs: “Some take photos of us, complain to the town hall. And it works: they have the ear of the municipality. It’s still crazy! These people move into a place that has always been a commercial place and then they complain about the activity. The fact that, for the first time, we were forbidden to bring a group for the Fête de la Musique speaks volumes. It's not so much that the Fête de la Musique is really good for our turnover but it shows in a symbolic way that we are subject to separate treatment. » And he concludes, disappointed: “Faced with such ostracism, we are speechless. » And without music.

Text: Katia Barillot

21.06.22

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