They're as much a part of Paris as the Eiffel Tower and red wine: the concierges who, from their small ground-floor apartments, watch over buildings and their tenants.
A number of months ago a school opened to train new applicants for the job. Writers and filmmakers have immortalized the concierge: usually a middle-aged woman who knows everything about her building, watches over it and gossips even more about it. But in the past number of years, many of these caretaker positions have disappeared. Three years ago a countertrend set in. Parliament decided that concierge positions could be cut only if all the residents of an apartment building agreed. The new school is intended to prepare future concierges better for the job. In addition to cleaning techniques, it offers conflict management and computer courses.