A handful of CGT trade unionists were holding some sort of rally in the Hôtel de Ville this afternoon. And I do mean a handful - they looked quite lost in the middle of the wide esplanade. Cheerful bunch, too. They were playing music and handing out balloons.
Nearby avenue Victoria was filled was police trucks - most of the policemen were sitting in their vehicles looking bored. Perhaps they had been expecting to do battle with a huge angry mob. Or maybe they were supposed to be somewhere else. Who knows. One young cop sat on a bench in the sunlight, drinking a soda. Several small groups loitered around the square, eyeing pretty women as they walked past. Ocasionnally they were distracted by tourists wandering by, in groups or alone, holding up maps of the city, asking for directions. They seemed happy to help. No tear gas or burning cars in sight.
This is a type of scene I've witnessed so often over the years - it makes me sad when people feel obliged to ask, due to events in the past few months, whether Paris is safe for visitors.
Yes, it's safe. It's beautiful.