Out of Paris, In the Ile-de-France

le grenier sur l'eau
It might not be quite the weather for it, but terraces
will be back in service soon.

New Internet Wrinkle - Reverse Spam

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 26. January 1998:- The week before last I was trying to find out something at a city office, and I was told the 'Tourist Office in the Louvre' would probably have the information I was seeking.

For obvious reasons I have the Paris Tourist Office on the Champs-Elysées firmly lodged in my consciousness, but this reference to a 'Tourist Office in the Louvre' stuck in my head and I started to think about it. 'What is it?' I wondered.

I had been told that it was 'under the Pyramid' so on Friday, while whistling by on the métro, I decided to get off at Palais-Royal and go and see it.

If you haven't been in Paris in more than a few years, the quickest way to get from the métro to the Louvre is directly from the métro quai; which leads into a huge mall of marble, which is full tourism ile de france of shops and restaurants and some services, like a bank with ATMs.

At the end of one of the corridors there is an octagonal space, with an inverted glass pyramid hanging into it. At one of the 'faces,' there is indeed a 'tourist office.'

It is the Paris presence for the Comite Régional du Tourisme d'Ile-de-France. As all good readers will know, the Ile-de-France is the region which surrounds Paris.

Very glitzy, and it's the Ile-de-France Tourism Office in the Louvre.

As a sort of a regional planning unit, the name Ile-de-France has only come into common use in the last 20 years. But, in fact, it roughly constitutes the original kingdom of Clovis, who was followed by Pépin le Bref, and who was in turn followed by Charlemagne, who died in 814.

In political units, the Ile-de-France is composed of the small departments close to Paris: Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne. These in turn are surrounded by the big departments of Val d'Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Essonne and Yvelines.

The grand attractions you've probably heard of are Beauvais, Compiègne, Pierrefonds, Chantilly, Senlis, Fontainebleau, Chartres, Rambouillet, Saint-Germain-en-Laye and, of course, Versailles. There are also the three unalike rivers: the Seine, the Marne and the Oise; and there are the valleys and the forests.

Like some other things in France, the Ile-de-France may have a precise size, but I can not find a mention of it. My guess ile de france brochure is that it is roughly 200 kilometres square; except that it is not square. Put another way, from Paris, the edge is 100 kilometres away.

Within this area, there are a concentration of more interesting sites than probably anyplace else on earth; more possibly, than within Paris itself. Also, while Paris is mostly urban, the Ile-de-France is mostly countryside. Forests cover a quarter of it and over 60 percent of the land is either green spaces or farms.

I should have known all this because, except for very brief periods, I have lived for over 20 years in the Ile-de-France and not in Paris.

Many of the brochures are joint efforts by the city and the region.

The blurred distinction is possibly due to the region's public transport. From Meudon, in the Hauts-de-Seine where I lived ten years, it is only a 14-minute train ride to downtown Montparnasse. From where I live now, in Yvelines, the ride is longer - but it is still a Paris suburb, in the sense that a lot of people who live here, work in Paris.

I am not going to give up working in Paris, because it seems to be endless. But in the future I will be trying to take more trips to the countryside - to look around this Ile-de-France place a bit more than I have done.

Here's the place to start: at the Espace de Tourisme d'Ile-de-France, at the Carrousel du Louvre. In case you wish to write the postal address is 99. rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris. Info. Tel.: 01 44 50 19 98. This office will have a Web site up and running sometime this spring and when it does, you will see its URL here.

Spam is Bad and So Is Bad Spam

A fellow whose name may be Jonathan Brown recently wrote to ask if I could supply the email address of the magazine 'Paris-Match.' He said he'd tried the Paris-Match Web site, but could not find any email address.

I don't have an email information centre here. I do not have any copies of the magazine. By chance, I do have a copy of the French newsmagazine 'Le Point,' and I found an email address in it. Since I used to work for them, I explained Mr. Brown's problem, and requested that they send him the Paris-Match email address if they had it.

To let Mr. Brown know that we are not sleeping on the job - even though this is not our job anyway - I replied to him, explaining what I'd done.

Since then - 20. January - I have been getting the message with the familiar subject of: 'Warning: could not send message.' We've all had these messages from time to time - there's not much that can be done with them, because their 'headers' are pure Internet gobblygook. This one has a different twist though. It goes like this [edited]:

'The original message was received at Tue, 20 Jan 1998... while talking to ornak.waw.pdi.net.: 444...MAIL From:erickso@worldnet.fr ...Sorry storm.worldnet.net. User not interested. Spam is bad. Change your ISP. Last-Attempt-Date: Tue, 20 Jan 1998 (MET) Will-Retry-Until: Sun, 25 Jan 1998 11:11(MET).'

'User not interested. Spam is bad. Change your ISP.' I wonder if Mr. Brown knows that his ISP is sending this message to me in his name?

On top of it, now I have to write to the friendly folks at 'Le Point' who might be getting the same message - to tell them the earlier request from me was legitimate, and say, 'Excuse me!' Yessir, I agree: anti-Spam is bad too.

Some Events - On or Coming:

Bibliothèque du Film - Cinéma

This is a dependence of the Centre National du Cinéma which has everything you want to know about movies; and it has a modern médiathèque for consulting its archives which include films, videos, magazines, posters, sketches for costumes and stages, plus a photo collection. There are also exhibitions and the centre publishes books as well. Its documentation centre can produce material on demand, either for research or for exhibitions. Visit or write to 100. rue du Faubourg-Saint-Antoine, 75012 Paris. Info. Tel.: 01 53 02 22 40.

Lots of Movies for 18 Francs

This year marks the 10th anniversary of '18 Heures - 18 Francs,' which runs from Wednesday, 4. February until Tuesday, 10. February. Here's the deal: during this period, participating cinemas in Paris offer seats for 18 francs for their showings at 18:00; which includes all starting times from 17:00 to 19:00. There are usually fewer customers at this time and it is just right for taking in a movie before going to dinner.

Expolangues '98

After last year's visit, I'm giving this exhibition a skip this year - but it is probably worth a visit if you are interested in languages and language training, or even in learning a new one yourself. This year's guest of honor is Japan, and thinking of this, maybe I ought to go to see what's new with software translators. Starting Wednesday, 28. January, Expolangues runs through to Sunday, 1. February. At the Grand Halle de la Villette, 211. avenue Jean Jaurés, Paris 18. Info. Tel.: 01 41 90 47 47.


Xavier Zimmermann and Eric Dessert are two photographers who travel long distances to do their work. Both are showing at the Bibliothèque Nationale's Galerie Colbert, from Wednesday, 4. February until Saturday, 4. April. Galerie Colbert, either 2. rue Vivienne or 6. rue des Petits-Champs, Paris 2. Except Sundays and public holidays, from 12:00 to 18:00. No entry charge. Info. Tel.: 01 47 03 81 10.

Old-Time Cars, Boats, Cycles and Parts, Parts, Parts

Retromobile 1998 rolls into the exhibition grounds at Paris-Expo gull-wing merc on Friday, 6. February and runs through to Sunday, 15. February. Several 100th anniversaries are going to be celebrated; those of Renault, Ford and Michelin's very round Mr. Bibendum. In addition to old cars in sparkling 'as new' shape with 'low milage,' there will also be some old speedboats such as the famous 1912 'Batboat 1' and a steam-powered motorcycle. Need some parts for your 2CV which is 50 years old this year? This is the place. In the Hall 2/1, open all week. Watch this space for daily times.

Coming Attractions: New 'Grand' Exhibitions

Musée du Louvre: the 'Lemme Collection' of 17th and 18th century portraits: opens on Friday, 13. February.
Musée d'Orsay: 'Manet, Monet, the Gare Saint-Lazare' opens on Thursday, 12. February.
There are 12 other 'Grand' exhibitions scheduled to open in Paris, mostly between March and the end of June.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 2.04 - 27. January 1997 featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'The Annual Comic Book Festival at Angolême' andcount-down eiffel 'Au Bistro' had - 'Justice Reform and an Honor for Johnny.' The articles in the issue were 'Musée de la Musique - Another Big Museum Opens' - 'The Faubourg St. Honoré - Where the Rich Hunt for Bargins' and a 'By the Canal Saint Martin - Still Some Ice.' The Email from Makiko Suzuki was about 'Bombayed Underwear' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week closed off the issue.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 705 days left to go.

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