'Morris' columns, or advertising columns, have been part of Parisian street furniture for a hundred and fifty years. In 2006 the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, started to implement a campaign to reduce the number of these columns in an attempt to 'declutter' the streets. The move was protested as an attack on the arts, as theatres and galleries still use the columns to promote their shows.
There is an urban legend that the columns contain spiral staircases leading down to a network of secret catacombs. Unfortunately, the prosaic truth is that they usually contain equipment for the Parisian street cleaners.