Strikes and protest marches. And Paris had a big one the other day, on just my second day here. Lucky me! I bought a salad and baguette at a take-away place, pulled up a park bench and just watched the passing scene. It appeared to be more block party than protest by the looks of the families and chatty friends and stereophonic live and canned rock music - even in English - blasted from vans in the parade as they wound their way up the Boulevard Raspail. It went on like this for hours. It was a beautiful day, and the kids weren't in school (see below), so why rush? This was apparently a big deal, protesting against changes in schools and teachers, and even private schools (unaffected by the changes) joined in their support.
This meant children were not in school (either in support, or because teachers weren't working). At the park bench, I was surrounded by Parisian high school girls who just wanted to talk to me about Katy Perry and Rihana. My being American didn't help me or them much in that discussion. Who? (especially when they pronounced Katy "Kah-tee") But, I could name Lady Gaga, and that got me back some street cred.
Clearly I'm doing my country proud over here.