I do not come here often. There’s the same old merchandise since the nineties. What do they carry? Well, the souvenir shops carry the four sizes of Eiffel Tour, postcards showing a dozen or so views of Versailles, fake XVIII century pistols, T-shirts, umbrellas, scarfs, ashtrays, coffee mugs, calendars…. I cannot explain why I even cared to look at the window, perhaps the thing had registered in my peripheral vision. I am inside the store now, unraveling the rope and trying to make the blade slide evenly in the grooves. It is a brand new toy but needs WD 40… — all metal, including the gilded basket, so the price is twelve euros. I am a little disappointed, for this is not a very accurate model; for instance, the part upon which people lied down is missing, it is also a well-known fact that guillotine was built out of wood and always painted red, and most importantly, the blade had to be oblique, and according to Sanson (1) it was Louis XVI himself who pointed out that this way it will cut more efficiently.
1. Charles-Henry Sanson, the first executioner of the French Revolution, mentions in his diaries a meeting at Tuileries with Louis XVI, at which the king examined the plans for the guillotine and changed the shape of the blade from crescent to triangular.