Philippa sent me a mail with the following questions about these very visually obvious elements in French cities, towns and villages across the country;
Here there are in fact four questions in one;
- Why that shape?
- Why that particular colour?
- Since when has this been in force?
- And who makes and programmes these signs?
I will answer all of these but not in this particular order!
Why though did they choose this particular shape and colour? The cross is obviously a reference to the 'Croix-Rouge', the international humanitarian movement set up in Geneva in 1864 with the goal of assisting those injured in wars and conflicts. Indeed, many pharmacies in France did originally display a red cross on their shops, up until 1913 when a law banned such usage of this symbol and colour.
But what about these neon signs? Who makes them and why are they seemingly all different? A quick spin on the web throws up one manufacturer, and also provides an answer to the second question too. This particular company, based in the Paris region, sells three different models, each of which is programmable via a supplied piece of software offering dozens of different animations.
Seen something in Paris that has caught your eye but remains a mystery, or ever wondered about obscure people or events in the city's past? Challenge me to find the answers!