On the way into town yesterday I picked up one of the free newspapers someone had left on the seat and was about to cast it aside when my eye caught one of the headlines: La boutique de sex-toys va fermer (The sex-toy shop is going to close).
What? With a headline like that, I'm sure you all understand that I simply could not resist reading the rest of the article.
It concerned a little shop in the 4th district of Paris called La Boutique 1969. Two Catholic associations took them to court under a 1987 law that forbids the sale of pornographic objects within 200 meters of a school. The owner of the shop, Nicolas Busnel, defended himself by saying that there was a world of difference between a "love shop" with "desirable curiosities" and a sex-shop. In this Marie Claire article he insisted that, "On ne vend pas d'objets pornographiques, pas de vidéos. On ne vend même pas de livres comme on en trouve à la Fnac, avec des scènes de nudité trop évidentes. Aucun parent d'élève ne s'est jamais plaint" (We do not sell pornographic objects, no videos. We don't even sell books with obvious nudity, the kind that you can even find at FNAC. No parent has ever complained.)
The tribunal did not agree. The judge ruled that the godemichets (dildos), vibromasseurs (vibrators - also called "BOB" in English for Battery Operated Boyfriends) and other amusing objects did indeed constitute pornography and so the owner could be fined (up to 30,000 Euros) and perhaps even imprisoned. According to the article I read yesterday on the train, Mr. Busnel has decided to close the Paris shop as a result. If you check out the website you'll see all kinds of great deals which are good until Friday.
Not that I'm implying that any of you, my dear readers, might be interested in such things. :-)