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 can 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.

The PTO also has branch information offices at the train stations; Nord, L'Est, Lyon, Austerlitz and Montparnasse; and from May to September, at the Tour Eiffel.

There is also a 24-hour phone service that gives information about what's going in Paris. In French, it is 01 49 52 53 55. For English dial 01 49 52 53 56; in German, 01 49 52 53 57; and in Japanese call 01 49 52 53 58. If you call from outside France, add 33 and drop the first '0.'

Finally, if you are in the neighborhood, the PTO's address on the Champs-Elysées is 127, just a few steps from the Drugstore - open from 9:00 until 20:00 every day except for 1. May.

Some Current Events

Porcelain Masterpieces from Sévres

The official title of this exhibition is 'Un Défi au Goût: Chefs d'Oeuvre de la Manufacture de Sévres au XVIIIe Siècle.'

The production of porcelain played a key role in the evolution of French decorative arts in the 18th century. The best artists were chosen for their creative imagination, to satisfy the insatiable tastes of the king and the court for the latest and the best. This is a selection of vases and other ornaments from that time.

In the Richelieu wing of the Louvre, entry via the Cour Napoléon. Open from 9:00 until 17:15 daily except Tuesdays. The exhibition continues until Monday, 23. June.

Paper Dolls

A century's worth of paper cut-outs, collages, and colors - at the Musée de la Poupée. Until 5. October, open from 10:00 until 18:00 daily except Mondays. At the Petit Monde Ancien, Impasse Berthaud, 22. rue Beaubourg, Paris 3.

When the French Were Francs

Before there was a France, there was a huge mess left over from the invasions of barbarians and the dissolution of the Roman empire in the west. The time of Clovis, who converted to christianity in 496, is called the Merovingian age. Fifteen hundred decorative pieces from this age, from France, Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg, are on display and show a panorama of the Francs, from both sides of the Rhine.

Cover 'Paris' magazine

Until Sunday, 22. June, from 10:00 to 17:40 daily except Mondays. Musée du Petit Palais, avenue Winston-Churchill, Paris 8.

Prolongation: 'C'Etait Paris dans les Années 50'

Reconstructions of boutiques and private apartments, presenting aspects of the lives of Parisians after the war and in the 1950's.
Objects for the exhibition have been donated by Parisians and are therefore personal mementos rather than parts of any official collection. These include posters, newspapers and magazines and personal photographs. Extended until 31. August - closed Sundays. Salon de Acceuil - Hôtel de Ville, Place de la Hôtel de Ville, rue de Rivoli, Paris 4.

Foire de Paris, Still on Until Thursday, 8. May

Paris' Annual Super Exhibition

Until Thursday, 8. May. Hours 10:00 to 19:00. Late 22:00 closing on Tuesday, 6. May. Full entry price is 45 francs, foreigners 35 francs, children 14 to seven - 25 francs and under seven, free.

See the report about the inventor's salon, the 'Concours Lepine,' in this issue.

Regards, Ric
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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