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Paris hires sheep to mow city lawns

PARIS — Will tourists soon see flocks of baahing sheep at the Eiffel Tower and bleating ewes by Notre Dame cathedral?

That could be the case, since Paris City Hall this week installed a small flock of sheep to mow the lawn at the city’s gardens, replacing gas-guzzling mowers. Four ewes — shipped in from an island off the Brittany coast — are munching the grass surrounding Paris Archives building.

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‘‘I can imagine this very easily in London and New York . . . even Tokyo,’’ said ­Fabienne Giboudeaux, City Hall’s director of green spaces. ‘‘And why not have them at the Eiffel Tower?’’

Last year, two goats mowed the lawn at Tuileries, the city’s grand 17th-century gardens.
A similar experiment outside Paris found that sheep droppings brought swallows back to the area. ‘‘It might sound funny, but animal lawnmowers are ecological as no gasoline is required, and cost half the price of a machine,’’ said Marcel Collet, Paris farm director. ‘‘And they’re so cute.’’

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