Parisians Love Paris

Cafe Odeon
A big place to sit down after doing some big shopping
on the boulevard Haussmann.

They Just Pay Less to Get Here

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 29. December 1997:- The fourth and last holiday 'program' is in this issue and since this is the last issue of this particular year, I've put in sort of a 'This Year in Metropole' round-up, just like the big guys do.

Unlike the 'big guys,' this magazine does not have any wars to report. Paris being Paris, there are conflicts, trials and deaths; but this no more than a sort of a low-level background murmur in the daily life of Paris, probably inaudible to a visitor to the city.

Because I live here, all the time, I find I cannot avoid mentioning some of the less joyful news occasionally. If this was completely absent, you'd think the place was like your nice, clean, sparkling bathroom at home and you might prefer to stay there.

The French word for what you get in Paris is 'frisson' - shudder or thrills - shivers up your spine - and everybody hopes the kind you get are like the ones cats seem to experience, rather than what happens when a gas leak in a tenement in the 19th arrondissement gets a spark.

In addition to the vast array of Paris attractions and the people who man them, there are several millions of ordinary Parisians living Metro & Bon Marche in the city and its sprawling suburbs - and you will probably meet some of these because they frequent the city's attractions too.

For Parisians, Paris can be just as magical as for visitors and perhaps more so, because they are personally entangled in the city and its history. Without the Parisians' active support all year round, many world-famous monuments and attractions would be forced to cut back severely or close down altogether.

This métro exit reminds me of - Istanbul.

The reason I am picking out Parisians to boost is simple. They provide the labor to make it work, for themselves and for visitors; and they provide a great number of entry-paying customers - enough to keep the whole thing running for everybody's benefit.

All the beautiful and historic monuments, the attractions, the sights, the services, the goods - none of this would function without the Parisians.

And, in spite of this vital service that Parisians provide - they are ordinary human beings too.

Nouvelle Image, Nouvelle Réseaux: Means 'Not For Us'

Paris' Science City has just opened a new 2,000 square-metre exhibition to show off the latest state of image, sound, and video, coupled together with communications technologies. The whole thing is wired up with the highest-speed fibre-optic cable available, so the whole bag of futuristic techno-tricks is impressive; but ghettoized within the Cité's own 'Intranet.' Our worldwide Internet is too slow for this stuff, which is '1,000 times faster,' up there somewhere with the speed of light or beyond.

I checked out the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie's web site to see how far behind we are in real life. I must be stuck somewhere RATP Boutique in fuddy-duddyhood because the Cité des Sciences web site is full of stuff inviting one to download exotic browser plug-ins, rather than having a straight-forward 'real-life' explanation about this great temporary exhibit. Despite considerable patience, I learned nothing - except that simple is better.

The RATP's new shop in the rue de la Chaussée d'Antin is their only one.

There is some debate in France about the utility of the Internet. Some people, and especially France Télécom, think the Minitel is all the French need; especially as it keeps the French within France and France Télécom collects fees by the minute for the service.

French scientists had a great deal to do with the pioneering work that led to the creation of the World Wide Web, and they continue to play a key role in defining its key nuts and bolts. For these pages I am trying to use the standard 'W3C HTML 3.2 Final' version of the Web code - which is supposed to be the 'bottom-line;' which enables everybody with any kind of browser to access these pages. A new version of this standard Web code is in the works and when it becomes 'final,' it will be lurking behind these pages you see.

This new version will enable new tricks; tricks that should be supported by version 3 of most browser applications. You'll still need Noctambus - night buses exotic plug-ins to watch jerky 'real-time' video and use the Web for telephoning. If you have a standard - read, 'slow' - part-time dial-up connection you might want to forego these little marvels - because you already have either a telephone or a TV set or both. If I get curious enough to see some 21st century dreams, I'll go out to the Cité des Sciences and look at their stuff in person.

Night owls take the night buses - all night long - including New Years morning.

What I don't understand, is why the Cité des Sciences has failed to have the sense to use the Web 'as is' and 'where is' to promote its high-tech exhibition. The Web 'as it is' is reality here and now even in France, and this is what real people use - let's face it: France is not going to re-cable itself like this museum has done. Not this century; and I doubt the next century too. Nearly 23 million francs has been blown on this exhibit - to the detriment of the museum's overall budget - and in the end all we have is science fiction.

Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, 30. avenue Corentin Cariou, Paris 19. Métro: Porte de la Villette. 'Nouvelle Image, Nouvelle Réseaux' - open daily except Mondays, from 10:00 to 17:30; on Sundays until 18:30.

French Lessons - Department of Argot

The 'Dictionnaire Argot Français sur le Net' might be quite interesting - and I have read that it is - but I did not have the patience to try and figure out the author's conception of his Web pages which are supposed to explain it.

Maybe it is because I don't understand French well, and it is therefore futile for me to learn any 'argot' - slang - or maybe it is because the Web was full, or because I have a lousy connection and use an old browser. I don't know. If you try it and it doesn't make much sense to you, don't spend a lot of time on it. If you turn up something interesting, let me know.

Cheapo Paris Hotels - True Stories

I am supposed to say that there are people in Paris who want you to know that Paris isn't as expensive as you may think it is. In fact, it can be WAY MORE expensive than your wildest dreams.

But for just plain folks like us, Suzanne Forster has written a new guide to modestly priced hotels in Paris. In it she lists hotels with accommodations for 600 francs or less - and that's less than $100. To find out what this marvel costs, you'll have to check the Web site for The Insider's Guide to Paris Hotels Under $100 a Night.

If you intend to be hungry as well while you are in Paris, you can check out Adrian Leeds' 'Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris Restaurants'. Adrian's guide lists 75 quality Paris restaurants where the basic menu comes in at under 100 francs. I asked her to put together a list of places where you can get a decent lumberjack breakfast for 35 francs, but she wasn't wearing her red shoes so I don't think she heard me.

Goodbye 1997; Hello 1998

If you are reading this I sincerely wish you and yours a Happy New Year. Tune in to this station at this time next week for the coming episode of 'Paris - the Place You Wish You Were, Part 3.01.'

All of this week's 'Events' are in the Noël Program, Part IV, feature.

Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 1.45 - 30. December 1996 featured the columns - Metropole Diary's 'Metropole's Last '96 Gasp' and count-down eiffel 'Au Bistro' had - 'It Feels Colder Than It Is - To Some.' The articles in the issue were 'The Rue Daguerre - Personal Inspection Finds No Yuppies or Real-Estate Speculators' - 'New Year's in Paris - Gold Card, Cash Only and Empty Pockets Choices' and 'Huge Contest Big Winners - Entries Wildly Unsurpass Expectations.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week rounded off the issue.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 733 days left to go.

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