The Bridges of May

Movie HQ - Fouquet's
Where Cannes meets when in Paris - at Fouquet's

Are Followed by the Rains of June - Maybe?

by Ric Erickson

Metropole Paris:- Monday, 5. May 1997:- May is a crazy month in Europe. On the continent there are three public holidays: May Day, Ascension and Pentecost.

If any or all of these fall near weekends, then there are often 'bridges' - like over Monday or Friday, which result in four-day weekends. This is great if the weather is shifting from the middle of winter to late spring, which seems to be the case this year.

But throw a 'snap' national election into this time period, and everything goes topsy-turvy.

Two years ago it was worse. I had my first May Day, and had the end of François Mitterrand's second term as President, the election for his successor, the winner and the inauguration, and the 50th anniversary celebrations for the end The Weather Station of the Second War. As I recall, it all happened in May.

The Metropole Paris weather station - the view to Montmartre, from the train above Suresnes.

At the time, I was doing what were supposed to be weekly reports from Paris for Norman Barth's 'The Paris Pages;' just feeling my way into this business. All of a sudden, I had to - I thought I had to - try and cover several major events, in a very short period of time.

And now here it is again, with the exception of the lack of the war anniversary. The good thing about this 'blitz' election, is that the end is in sight and residents here will be spared the usual year's worth of run-up to it.

For people who do get these long weekends off, I hope these events are not spoiling them. They make a nice little mid-spring break before we get into doing serious nothing in the summer.

'PTO' Spells Service

'PTO' is what I call the 'Office de Tourisme de Paris' because 'OTP' sounds too much like the old name of the French state radio. Gazillions of visitors annually troop through this office on the Champs-Elysées near the Arc de Triomphe, and I use it too - to get their monthly magazines, 'Selection,' and 'Paris.'

'Selection' tells me what's coming up for events in Paris and the Ile-de-France, and 'Paris' tells me what the Hôtel de Ville is telling Parisians. I don't copy out all the coming events and put them in Metropole every week, because there are too many.

Some Metropole readers have written to ask me about coming events for specific dates, usually the dates of their visits. If they have a definite idea of the event, I look it up and reply by email. The problem often is, I only have 'coming events' for the current month. This way to the PTO I was at the PTO on Friday - 2. May - and I could not find the new 'Selection,' so I have no new events here for this coming week, but a couple of leftover ones that are continuing.

The way the Champs is now, you can't find anything. Follow the PTO's blue signs.

The PTO has other services as well, and possibly the most important of these for visitors, are the reservation possibilities. The PTO can make reservations for hotels, for exhibitions and for shows - such as the Opéra.

In Paris, you can make the reservations at their shop on the Champs-Elysées, or by phone. If you are not in Paris, you ca call - from outside France - (33-1) 49 52 53 54 for information. For reservations, call (33-1) 49 52 53 53. The PTO's fax number is (33-1) 49 52 53 00 and there is also a Telex number: 645439.

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