On my way home from the Eurostar in a taxi recently, we hit an unexplained traffic jam at a strange time of day. When we finally drove by, we saw that the problem had been caused by a police raid on a flower peddler near the Gare Saint-Lazare. The poor peddler must have spent a lot of money on the flowers because there were beautiful peonies and roses lying in broken boxes on the corner. And unfortunately, the reason for the traffic jam is that instead of letting the poor man recover his flowers after the police left, a crowd of commuters was gathered round jostling and shoving to grab up big bouquets of peonies on the ground.
This kind of peddler is found all over Paris. They’re mostly young African men who came to France illegally and peddle products on the street. The real problem is that they can’t make a decent living where they come from.