By Theo Zuili
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On March 31, 1999, the first protected crossing for pets was inaugurated in the commune of Oullins (Rhône), in the metropolis of Lyon. Signage “the first of its kind in France, if not in the world” is aimed at cats and guarantees them safe passage.
At the beginning of this unique project? The Zumos, the Lyon Humorists, the Order of the Nail, the Grand College of ‘Pataphysics, the Academy of Bourg-Neuf, or the Institute of Clavological Sciences. In short, the cream of humor à la lyonnaise, which draws one of their most beautiful and unusual performances.
A funny hoax
Among the many crazy societies that exist in Lyon, there is the Ordre du clou. Created in 1952 by the historian Félix Benoit and located at 16 rue du Bœuf in the 5th arrondissement of Lyon, this cultural association brings together the best humorists from the capital of Gaul: Zumos.
Specialists in clavology, that is, in the science of nails, and professionals in ‘pataphysics, the art of not taking anything seriously, these famous comedians from Lyon have installed the first zebra crossing intended for cats.
The highlight of the exhibition is a sign warning of the danger of frequent passage by domestic cats, the idea of which is given to the sculptor André Andreu. A feline in a red triangle drawn by cartoonist and caricaturist Alain Bouillon, alias DuBouillon, marks the fictional zebra crossing.
This unusual work is an inevitable point of passage for those who hunt for unusual secrets in the metropolis of Lyon. It still stands at 5 rue Victor-Hugo, in Oullins.
Mark forever the history of pet zebra crossings
Michel de Bourgneuf, known as Michel de Bourg-Neuf and Michel Capuano, was then president of the Humoristes Lyonnais. On 31 March 1999, he temporarily assumed the role of President of IRPAF, the Pet Research Institute, an association created for the occasion, to inaugurate this unique panel.
During a ceremony in the presence of a deputy mayor of Oullins and local elected officials, a representative from Rhône and the president of the Confederation of SPAs in France, the bar was painted pink and unveiled with its veil.
After a tribute to the “cat people”, the Zumos were then welcomed to the town hall of Oullins to celebrate this “pot-aux-roses”, where “there were 300 of them waiting to toast while blah-blah-blah ends , the only reason for their presence”.
Since then, the post has been repainted in grey, and its panel still stands proudly in Oullins, as a hidden curiosity in the metropolis of Lyon. Since then, two other cat panels signed DuBouillon have been installed in the Rhône, in Chamelet and Clochemerle.
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