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Some people have found they are ideal for getting around the city - so long as there is a shower available at the end of the journey. Others like the idea that the rollers are hard to steal if you take them into the office with you. Kids, of course, are going nuts with them - speed skating on sidewalks, doing jumps.

roller2.jpg (17k) In the parking lot the other night as I was coming back from Paris, I spotted this new roller, with knee pads, leather gloves and bicycle helmet on, twirling awkwardly around. When I got closer I saw it was my own, about three centimetres taller than normal. Half an hour later there was a huge wail at the door, and here was number one son, with unmatching front teeth - a corner of one bonked off by a... knee pad, as a result of an over-ambitious balance correction. Since then, he has improved his style considerably, and I think his grin has more character.
Ile-de-France; Birthday

Most islands are surrounded by water, but the 'Ile-de-France' is surrounded by... France. The area around Paris, formerly informally known as the 'région parisienne' officially became the 'Ile-de-France' on 1. July 1976.

This is the egg-white and Paris is the yolk. The two form a megacity of 11 million inhabitants; expected to be 14 million by 2000. The original boundaries are being pushed outward - a new airport is being planned to the south, well beyond Orly.

I mention this here to clear up any confusion about the name, because I use it fairly frequently. I didn't know the name has been official for less time than I've lived here, so I thought it might be useful to pass it along. If your travel agent offers you a place to stay in the 'Ile-de-France,' you can be sure that it won't be much more than a 40 minute ride from the centre of Paris.

ferris.jpg (17k) Events :

Fête des Tuleries - daily from 12:00 to 24:00, until end of August. Métro Concorde or Tuleries. This 'fête' in this location is hundreds of years old, and features a giant ferris wheel, many modern amusement park rides and merry-go-rounds; all facing the arcades of the rue de Rivoli. One merry-go-round dates from 1871 and it was exported to England just before the occupation and has only recently returned to its homeland, 100 percent intact and original. A night ride on the giant ferris wheel will offer a spectacular sight.

Fête des Loges - at St. Germain-en-Laye, and at the western end of the RER 'A' line. This is the 344th annual edition in this location, to the west of downtown St. Germain-en-Laye. There are 14 restaurants out here in the forest, plus 200 amusement park rides.

Demonstrations: Repeaters:

- Sunday, 8:00, on the right bank of the Seine, from the underground of the Tuleries to the underground at Henri IV; on the left bank from Quai Anatole-France to Quai Branly: by Operation Bicycles-Pedestrians.

- Sunday, 10:00, in the streets of the 5th arrondissement and at 14:00 on the Quais of Valmy and Jemmapes (in the 10th), and from Loire and the Marne (19th): Operation Strolling and Relaxation.

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