Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Crickets in the Metro

Bebè it's cold out there. 25 degrees F or -4 C. But during winter at least the crickets
stay warm in the Paris Metro - humans, zut another story.  French insect-lovers want part of the Paris Metro declared a nature reserve. Concerned that the subway is getting too clean for rare-cricket colonies, one pressure group is calling for special protection for the crickets, whose chirping is a symbol of good fortune in French folklore. The cricket came from Afghanistan and settled in the South of France at the beginning of the Middle-Ages arriving via vessels transporting spices. The domestic cricket soon reached Paris and found a refuge at the bakers' ; their ovens provided them with the heat, food and comfort necessary for their development. The building of the Metro was achieved when electric technology replaced wood ovens. The crickets found a new eldorado there.
Where can you hear them? With the temperature maintained by the circulation of the trains, ranging from 27ºC to 34ºC -81ºF to 93ºF - during rush hours, stand at the edge of the platform. Here they hang out in the numerous hidden places in where they can find a lot of food : crumbs, tobacco, papers, bits of wood etc ... In fact, any organic rubbish is an excellent meal for crickets. In addition, humidity, essential to the development of their eggs, is maintained by the infiltration of water. So, there are actually crickets on the Paris Metro, and their presence is easily explained.

But you have to know their favorite stations. All the conditions mentioned before cannot be found everywhere. For example, without having to prick up your ears too much you can hear their symphony on the following lines : 9 Mairie de Montreuil - Pont de Sèvres 3 Gallieni - Pont de Levallois

"Ideally, we'd like the two Metro lines where there are the most crickets to be declared a natural park for them," says the president of the Protection League for the Crickets of the Paris Metro - LPGMP - which boasts 100 members. The group also advocates laying out food for crickets deep below the streets of the capital and drawing attention to their singing as a tourist attraction.
The transport authority that runs the Metro, however, is cool to LPGMP's proposal. So far the only Cricket they welcome is the UK kind.
 Cara - Tuesday


  1. Cara, crickets are my favorite bug. It all started with Grillo Parlante (talking cricket) in the original Pinocchio. And then Jiminy Cricket's theme song became mine. I think I will join the pro-cricket faction. Down with the Bureaucrats of Cleanliness!
    I may even become a fan of the sport, if Stan ever keeps his promise and takes me to see a game.

  2. I shall make no pun. Which is consuming just about all the self-restraint I have left this morning. When I read this my mind went to a spot along a tree- and vine- covered bit of a very narrow road on the Greek island of Tinos where, no matter when you pass through it in the summer time, the air is filled with the sounds of crickets, something that makes me feel for that instant that all is right with the world.

    1. Ah, Jeff, everyone knows that Jiminy Cricket has NO self-restraint! Even in disguise, you can't fool us.