Paris, December 2014 – Set up last autumn, Efus’ working group on “The city at night” had its first meeting and study visit in Paris on 26 and 27 November. The theme of the visit was the scheme put in place by the city of Paris to manage nightlife, and members of the working group had a series of meetings with representatives of several institutions and NGOs.
The Efus delegation included representatives of the cities of Liege and Brussels (Belgium), as well as of Brest (France), the latter only for part of the two-day visit. Liege and Brussels had asked Efus to organise meetings with stakeholders of the Paris nightlife as part of the preparatory work for their global action plan on the “challenges of nightlife management”.
The first meeting took place at the Metropolitan Mission for the Prevention of Risky Behaviours, which is part of the Directorate for Social Action, Childhood and Health (Mission métropolitaine de prévention des conduites à risques – Direction de l’Action sociale, de l’Enfance et de la Santé). The theme of the meeting was the management of health risks linked to partying. A presentation was made of the Fêtez Clairs (“Party while being aware”) scheme, which seeks to promote health in party scenes.
The work carried out by the city of Paris aims to tackle problems linked to the consumption of legal and illegal substances in an integrated manner and respecting a series of set principles for action, risk reduction, prevention, and security. A partnership has been set up since 2005 with the Prefecture of Paris, nightlife stakeholders, the police and NGOs dedicated to prevention.
The “urban chill out” scheme set up in 2011 by the NGO Le Kiosque was also presented to the Efus delegation. It is a pop-up chill out and prevention area that Le Kiosque sets up at night, outside, in any given neighbourhood of Paris where there is a striving nightlife.
The delegation then met with officials in charge of the policy on nightlife at the Paris city council. This crosscutting policy was designed following the 2010 Nightlife Conference (Etats géneraux de la nuit). Indeed, the Paris city council has now a Committee on Nightlife (Conseil de la Nuit) that coordinates all the prevention, mediation and risk reduction initiatives such as Fêtez Clairs, the urban chill outs and the Night Pierrots (Pierrots de la Nuit) who engage with restaurant and nightclub goers to make them aware of noise nuisance in the streets.
Dialogue with residents
The Efus delegation also met with officials of the Préfecture de police who presented the policy of the Paris police based on the balance between nightlife, tourism, freedom of trade, and regulation. Police officials insisted on the need to foster dialogue between residents, elected officials and managers of night-time venues.
Another important aspect of nightlife is transport: how to ensure that night owls get back home safely? The Efus delegation met with managers of the NGO Wimoov, a partner of the Fêtez Clair scheme that campaigns among party-goers on the danger of drunk driving. Wimoov’s campaigns are fun and original.
Bar Bars Festival
The delegation also attended the opening of the Bar Bars Festival, along with numerous officials of the Paris city council, the Ile de France region and the parliament, as well as business leaders. Participants were unanimous in insisting on the importance of quality in nightlife and on the key role of night-time venues (bars, restaurants, clubs) in regulating local life.
At the end of the visit, members of the Efus delegation discussed the challenges and issues at stake in nightlife policies. Liege noted that the administrative competences of mayors and regulation tools are particularly important. Brussels insisted on the need to have a global and coherent plan founded on a comprehensive audit and on cost evaluation.
Both Liege and Brussels are now keen to discuss their points of view with their counterparts in other European local authorities.