Parisiens will no doubt give the plans a dismissive gallic shrug, but users of the Paris Metro are being told to improve their underground manners.
The company that runs Paris' 113-year-old sprawling Metro system has published a book of etiquette - “manual on savoir-vivre for the modern traveller” - a guide on how the capital's famously grumpy commuters can bring a bit of joy to even the shortest journey.
The book contains 12 commandments on how passengers should act and was created by a committee that whittled down 2,000 suggestions from commuters fed up with anti-social behaviour.
The rules are divided into four categories: courtesy, helpfulness, manners and politeness and includes advice on everything from making sure body odour is kept in check to helping elderly commuters and confused tourists.
RATP, the public transit authority of Paris, has deliberately written the rules with a wry sense of humour, no doubt aware that many of its 1.4 billion annual passengers will roll their eyes and give a deep sigh on any mention of underground manners.
Rule number 3 for example reads: “On really hot days, even an emperor penguin needs to keep his arms close to his body so grab the bottom of the post and not the very top.” That is, use anti-perspirant, or keep your armpits closed.
Other rules are more obvious and will be familiar to users of the London Underground - there's one telling commuters that the Metro is not a place to share loud music and another reminding Parisiens that the no smoking signs are “not art installations”, but are in fact “no smoking signs”.
Rule number 4 encourages people to hold the door open for others behind them.
The booklet is the latest attempt by RATP to get its commuters to behave, in July it launched a poster campaign for better behaviour.
In September there was a similar drive by Transport for London when it launched its “poetiquette” campaign to make people think twice about dropping litter, obstructing doors and other anti-social behaviour.
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