Our Paris view.

The French are renowned for their style and sophistication. They are a nation of thinkers, artists, architects. Many of the most famous buildings, the most beautiful cities and the most compelling paintings sit within a couple of kilometres of our hotel room here in Paris. So it completely beggars belief that they can’t find a way to pick up dog poo from their streets.

Most evenings in Dinan we’d go and throw a ball around in the Jardin Anglais. The biggest hazard was the plentiful supply of droppings. Walking the streets is a minefield of poo; you can’t go more than a few paces without having to dodge left or right around a souvenir of someone’s adored pooch. On the narrow footpaths of a town like Dinan swift dodging creates a strange stately dance as you move forward while sidestepping.

What leads to this strange hole in the national psyche? Why can’t they encourage their dogs onto the side of the road or do as other places do and carry a bag? The solutions aren’t complicated so there must be a deeper reason for the mess.

Apparently Paris is better than it used to be. Walking around this evening was certainly less hazardous than our Dinan experience, but the streets were a long, long way from clean. It is now the law in Paris that owners must clean up after their dogs. I’m told there are many different ways they do this, some with typical Parisian style – leading to the great Parisian line “only tourists pick up dog poo with their shoes in Paris”.