The Cats of Paris

     Paris can probably be called Cat-City, not by the amount of cats, but by the respect they earn. Of course, it’s easier to meet a cat in Paris than, say, in New York, but it is nothing compared to Israel where it is impossible to see less than two cats at a time… No, no, Paris earned its title by being a cat sanctuary.
This is one of the only cities where a cat can calmly travel the streets without fear of being hit by a rock, which sadly still happens. This is partly because cats in Paris travel on the hands of their supporting staffs. Yes, that’s right, it’s not a typo or anything: Parisian humans thing there’s nothing like a cat to underline their beauty and elegance, although it turns out to be more or less the other way around. It is considered to be the most shic to take a cat to a bar or a restaurant, where the barman will always find a bowl of milk or cream for the feline.
      There are places that emphasize their openness to cats. For example “Le Tango du Chat” in Quartier latin, opened in 1920 and is named after “The cat’s tango”, by Vincent Scott and Leo Cougar, the text and music of which hang on the wall in the entrance. The main attraction, of course, is a huge black and white tomcat named Tango.
      Of course, the “feline presence” isn’t only felt in the restaurants, it’s everywhere. Even the Louvre doesn’t escape it because it has one of the biggest collections of Egyptian art, which always includes cats and of coarse there are the Impressionists, who loved to make cats the subject of their paintings. In the streets many feline postcards are sold. The most popular one is “the Eiffel cat”. Cats are everywhere in Paris, in fact Paris itself resembles a large cat sleeping on a riverbank!

Photos by Yann Arthus-Bertrand (France).

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