We Talk A Lot About the Weather

Le Monte Carlo

And 98 Percent of It Is Unprintable

Paris:- Saturday, 5. July 1997:- Today's Le Parisien characterizing our current weather as the 'Last Weekend of Autumn Before Summer' seems to me to be asking for trouble. If we had more coming of what we had last week, then they could have said the last weekend of autumn before winter, because that is what it felt like.

One of the most annoying habits of French TV-weather is saying the temperatures are a 'little less' than normal for this time of year. If the temperatures were in the high 30's they'd say they were a 'little higher' than normal and I'd prefer that, but saying what we have now is a 'little less' is cruel understatement.

It also makes a mockery of what is 'normal.' Yes, we are all sorry they have to work in those overheated TV studios under those over-bright lights, even in deepest Somewhere in France - a sunny beach winter, but one gets the impression that 'normal' temperatures for early July are supposed to be in the ice age.

This TV photo was taken in France; not near Paris.

The good thing about it is you don't see many people wearing those really low-rent-looking army surplus shorts that have become popular street wear in the last couple of years. Oh, they may be wearing them under those North Sea yellow plastic macs, but I don't have to know this for certain.

Meanwhile, cinemas are doing good business, selling ticket like hotcakes. There are a lot of new films to see; and there are a good number of cinemas showing films - as usual - in English, with French subtitles.

In fact all attractions and exhibitions under cover are drawing good attendance figures, and operators of outdoor attractions have very long faces, with the exceptions of Disneyland and Asterix Park. I imagine that restaurants must be doing better too as diners linger over extra deserts rather than rush off to be outside.

Bernard Tapie Takes Another Fall

A Marseille court announced Friday that it was sentencing Bernard Tapie to a term of three years, half suspended, for his part in the affair of the Olympic Marseille football club's cooked books.

This was a little less than the term asked for by the prosecutor, but was made consecutive with the other terms he already has on other cases. Start of Tour de France They are the eight months for the football-match bribery case and six months for the yacht 'Phocea' financing fiddle. Mr. Tapie has served five months on one of these terms.

Jalabert takes the Tour de France on its first sprint today.

The court didn't demand he immediately go to jail, so his lawyers can request conditional liberty while they appeal the verdict. While the appeal is on, the sentence is suspended.

I don't know how they can do this in practice if he is officially serving time already, but they seem to be optimistic. Mr. Tapie is appealing everything up to the top courts and there are still a couple of decisions to come.

His lawyers are also angry. They keep saying he is the only company director serving time who has not been found guilty of any personal enrichment.

Brigitte is Back

Last year I was astonished to see a billboard in the métro, showing a road in the country strewn with the corpses of dead dogs. Closer examination revealed it to be an appeal to pet owners not to abandon their little chou-chous just because their masters felt like taking a vacation, and couldn't be bothered to find a temporary pension for their dogs, cats and canaries.

This year, this week, I was astonished to see the same billboard, in the same métro station. Brigitte Bardot has a foundation which pays for this. She seems to Tour de France - 2nd day, really racing be the only one in France who does this sort of thing; and I understand she doesn't make a lot of money out of it.

On Day Two of the Tour de France, all teams got to sprint at once.

There is, of course, an animal protection society - the SPA - but it does not buy billboard space in the métro as far as I know. It does give advice about the animal pensions that do exist - there are some - and says that these should be licensed outfits which are regularly visited by vets.

A four-star hotel for dogs and cats, costs 70 francs and day for cats and a hundred for dogs. In good places, they get musak too and none of them complain about the program.

Sports News is Back Too

In final-round tennis at Wimbledon, France's Cédric Pioline failed to beat Pete Sampras, so he will not be the first Frenchman to win the cup there 51 years after Yvon Pétra.

Championship Boules in Marseille

The entire World Championship of Boules or Pétanque were held this weekend in Marseille, and sales of pastis in that region showed its customary annual rise. Championship boules in Marseille Besides defending French champions and ex-champions and ex-champion's wives, there were many visitors from abroad taking part in the competition this year; including many from Japan. At press time, we have received no word of the identities of the winner or winners, if they were playing in teams. It was difficult to tell what exactly was happening from news reports on TV because there was a strange discoloration of the background which threw dark patches on the ground and the sky was a completely unfamiliar blue, seldom seen in these distant northern parts.

La 84e Edition de la Tour de France

This modest sports event started today with a sprint - a 'prologue' - in Rouen, which was not won by Laurent Jalabert. He went first and he was followed by 197 other bicycle racers, divided into 22 teams, one of which is called 'US Postal.'

They will race around France, briefly visiting some foreign countries such as Andorra and Switzerland, until Sunday, 27. July, when after looping Disneyland on Saturday, they will hurtle around the Champs-Elysées in front of a delirious crowd of well-wishers.

Of the 21 stages, ten will be in high hills or mountains. Only four of them look like they will be slightly downhill at the end. I wish them good luck. It's a tough race.


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