Étude des Icônes

At the very last minute, with very little effort, I managed to procrastinate myself right into trying to collect examples of icons currently in use in Europe (specifically, in the city of Paris and CDG and FRA airports). My collected images total more than you see here but they were quite embarrassingly out of focus. I was trying to shoot photos on a moving subway. The locals had no doubt that I was a tourist. Plus, I was wearing a giant foam finger that said, "USA #1."

Pickpockets, especially those who love the artistic works of the geniuses, sometimes apply distraction, such as asking a question or bumping into the victim. Figure 1 is a warning to all guests of the Louvre that such pickpocket/art lovers are in their midst. If somebody staggers into you and asks you the difference between Monet and Manet, you might consider checking your pockets or at the very least, having the same thing to drink this person did at the Louvre Food Court. The sign also acts as a warning to keep a tidy wallet.

If you have never been to Paris then you are not privy to a little known secret: the city is actually run by a cartel of little lap dogs. The humiliating sign in Figure 2 is posted in every arrondissement to remind the Parisians just who in fact is in charge. Man, you don't want to be the guy who doesn't pick up after his dog because -- wait. Come to think of it, nobody picks up after their dogs. Moving on ...

You won't find this in any travel guide, but try to get over to the hotel bar of the Holiday Inn near Pantin. There is a one-man cover band playing all your favorite hits from The Beatles' Abbey Road. Figure 3 is the album cover for the CD he will sell you out of a Kinkos box. At only 5€, it's quite a steal.

Beware of hotfoot escalators. "frottement" means, foot steak. Seriously, look it up.

Figure 5 is from a wonderful part of Pompidou Center on the great artist, Wassily Kandinsky. I hope you are in shape because according to the icons next to the painting are mandatory instructions to begin 560 jumping jacks while listening to your iPod or musical player.

The Running Man is what I like to call Figure 6. The nonstop runner was everywhere, all over Europe. I wonder if I can get away with counting Chicago as Europe? Either way, this could one day have a shot at being a universal icon used in all countries.

We did not see the icon in Figure 7 much at all. In fact, the lamest part of going to Europe is the major lack of access to the Internet. Very disappointing.

I cannot remember the location where the icons in Figure 8 were photographed. But just judging from the lack of allowed activities, it does not look like a fun place at all. They even prohibit The Running Man exit icons.

The Louvre makes use of several important artistic epochs to spell out clearly what is interdit. Let it be known that there will be no flash photography, no sex, and no yelling in Hieroglyphics. Yes, I think Figures 9-11 do the job quite well.

Hopefully, you are paying little attention to the bang up job I did on the labeling of the figures. Moving ahead, we see in Figures 11-12 relating to the subway, better known as The Metro. Apparently, you need to wait for the red step to appear before you embark onto The Metro. And there is to be no use of sonar.

Figures 13-15 capture this really cool 8-bit style of graffiti whereby glazed tiles re-create some classic arcade characters. Paris is like a museum of cool graffiti.

Lastly, we see Figure 16 is telling us that the display we are about to enjoy not be viewed but may be touched. Kinda creepy to me.