There Are a Large Number of French in France

winebar Aux Negociants
The patron here likes a good chat, but not at lunch time.

Number Two in Europe After Germany, Darn It!

Paris:- Saturday, 7. February 1998:- France's population didn't quite manage to break the 61 million barrier, coming in at 39,400 short, according to the latest statistics.

Some years ago, a consumer magazine changed its name from '50 Millions' to '60 Millions' of consumers, and it still hasn't happened. When France counts its population, it includes all overseas citizens - in mainland France itself, there are merely 58.7 million French people.

The statistics people are very annoyed that France is only increasing its population at a rate of about 230,000 a year. As a percentage, this amounts to a mere 0.4 percent, which is the lowest rate in the last 20 years.

Unless the numbers people count all people living in France as French, they have not provided any numbers for foreigners living in the country - and I know for a fact that there are more than three or four.

The National Assembly Votes for the 35-hour Week

After debating the issue during the week La Boheme Galante in the Assembly National, a vote was held yesterday evening and the new law was passed.

Martine Aubry herded the measure through the legislative assembly with considerable aplomb, and managed to have the essential points retained more or less intact.

If Twiggy had a shop in Montmartre, it might look like this.

As it is apparently of no importance whatsoever, Saturday's Le Parisien didn't bother to mention the score. The deputies voted one way of the other and the majority won by 'X' votes and everybody went home for the weekend.

The Trial of Papon Is Still On - Sort Of

While the court heard testimony last week about the 12. January 1944 convoy of 'deportees,' things were a little unquiet behind the scenes.

Last week's bomb concerning the relationship or not of the court's president to a certain family of victims, kept on ticking, without a word being said about it.

Outside the court it was a different story. France's Attorney General, Mme Guigou, said on a visit to Bordeaux that the country didn't need a 'trial within the trial' and indicated that Paris wanted the trial to continue with the existing president of the court, Mr. Castagnède.

Meanwhile, Bordeaux lawyers held a meeting and came out of it calling for sanctions against Arno Klarsfeld, who set off the bomb with a press release.

Only Mme Guigou or President Castagnède can file suits against Mr. Klarsfeld for slander and neither wants to do so.

Disciplinary action against Mr. Klarsfeld cannot be ordered by Bordeaux courts because he is registered with the bar in Paris. He was summoned to Paris yesterday for a discussion about the matter.

Web Sites With Contents About the Papon Trial:

The Matisson family were the first to launch a civil case against Maurice Papon, in 1981. Jean-Marie Matisson runs the website, and reports from the courtroom. At the website, click on 'Affaire Papon.'

Another website of interest contains daily coverage of the trial by the Bordeaux paper, the Sud Ouest.

Germany Beats Unemployment Record

In January, 4,823,000 Germans were registered as job seekers, which pushed their rate up to 12.8 percent of the workforce, just beating out France's record of 12.2 percent for top jobless numbers.

To say the least, Bonn is worried; and Chancellor Kohl is planning to run for re-election in September on this record. So he has brought out the slogan of 'Work for All!' and his finance minister, Theo Waigel, claims its execution won't 'cost a pfennig.'

The unemployed in Germany seem a little doubtful about this. Last week, for the first time, they took a leaf from the French notebook, and occupied some employment offices and 40,000 held demos throughout the country.

These actions were shown on TV-news during the week. Many more Germans than French belong, or more accurately belonged, to strong, country-wide labor unions.

Although these go on strike only rarely, when they do they are highly organized. Thus, last week's demonstrators were well-equipped with banners and signs: 'Ich will Arbeit' seemed to be a fairly common slogan. This neatly matches Chancellor Kohl's 'Arbeit für Alles.'

Paris Grocery For Sale: Good Location

If you love Paris and you've always wanted to try your hand with the fruit and veggies, there's a shop on the place de la Madeleine - called Fauchon - that was for sale; but seems to have already changed hands.

The upscale take-away had been acquired from the family that has had it since 1896 by the Waldo Group. You've never heard of Waldo?

No, this is not the well-known Waldo Bini; this is some other Waldo, one that nobody seems to have heard of. Waldo seems to have nothing more in Paris than a mailbox and people are scratching their heads over it.

President Bill Gates Pays State Visit to France

On Tuesday, to minor bewilderment, the minister for Finance, Dominique Strass-Kahn, announced some sort of co-op deal with the software king of east Seattle. The minister said that state functionaries would be involved, as well as research centers - and the latter were somewhat surprised by the news.

Montmartre stairsThe head of one French software factory, which employs 800 people to make educational and gameware, acidly noted that Microsoft is facing several US government challenges to its business practices.

If counting steps is your hobby, you can pass a lot of time doing it in Montmartre.

This executive likened the co-op deal to giving Mr. Bill the keys to the cash register. I read elsewhere that Prime Minister Lionel Jospin was considerably more circumspect with his remarks.

After the blitz visit, which I believe took place last Monday, Bill flew off to take over other European countries; allowing one day for the bigger ones and managing two of three per day for the smaller.

SportsNews: Fly Fishing is Popular in Paris

This is welcome news indeed because it gives us a break from soccer and another opportunity to think about and discuss another popular sport about which I know next to nothing - with this subject I can only get smarter.

According to Le Parisien - my main source of all useful knowledge these days - there is an English saying. It goes like this, loosely translated, "One life is not sufficient to learn everything Libarie Papeterie Journaux there is to know about fly fishing."

Oh! By reading the rest of the opening paragraph, I learn that there is a three-day Fishing Salon this weekend at Pantin. The purpose of this Salon is apparently to prove that the English are guilty of over-statement: - you, yes you! - can learn to flyfish within your lifetime - if it is sufficiently long.

Here is where you can get slick magazines, with photos of really big fish.

Le Parisien says catching trout this way is ecological. Let me break in here a moment to remind readers that Le Parisien is owned by L'Equipe group and L'Equipe, as everybody over four should know, is an all-sports daily newspaper, and traditionally, France has only three types of sport.

They are football, boules, and playing boules after dark. There is horse-racing too, and rugby for the tough guys down south, but mainly it's football and boules, boules and football. 'Le Foot,' as it is called in France. French people used to energetically play pinball a lot, but this sport seems to have lost it's mono-maniacal fascination.

Parisians do not have to go far to find water to fish in. It is right here, in the Bois de Boulogne and the Bois de Vincennes. I don't suppose there's any need to remind readers that watching horses run around clockwise and playing boules is also possible in these two parks, plus the Bois de Boulogne also has a polo patch, or pitch, or paddock, or whatever it is.

If you don't already know how to fish with flies, and many of us don't; there are courses available. These are given on three days of the week somewhere near the Suresnes bridge - and the first-year signup costs 700 francs which is much cheaper than golf.

One can also learn how to tie flies while the trout are out of season. For 70 francs a day you can also do 'real' fishing right beside the Longchamp racetrack and if you catch anything, you can keep two of them.

The deal out at Vincennes is similar, the pond is beside the track there too; but you have to throw the fish back in if you catch any.

Before Closing

I was going to skip the World Cup entirely, but there is one bit of news that may affect you. Some outfit named ISL has been given some sort of monopoly on selling the TV rights Hispano-Suiza to hotels and bars that wish to offer the broadcasts to their clients.

This Hispano-Suiza has nothing to do with 'SportsNews,' but it is sporty all the same.

The hospitality operators are spitting mad because they are getting bills of 160 francs per TV set. They already pay the state 735 francs per set for annual license fees. About two-thirds of the Ile-de-France's 130,000 hotel rooms are equipped with TVs.

This ISL outfit has real moxie too as it tries to enlist local tourism organizations to do the collecting for them. The region of Languedoc was apparently told it could have a flat rate of 400,000 francs - with the idea that the Languedoc officials get it back from the hotel operators.

ISL denies that it is doing this, but does say it is selling rights to any collective group that wants to pay for them. The hotel people say they been threatened with legal actions if they don't pay up.

The World Cup SportsBar Never Sleeps; May Snooze a Bit

Real SportsFans should hang out the SportsBar where the fans have all the nogegg they can make themselves, at the Football Café, and have relaxing bowls of wheaties while discussing the finer points of the world of football, without getting too 'psychomaniac' about it. Ultra cool.

Less uplifting are the 'official' Web sites: represented by the FIFA - which stands for Federation International - and the French Organizing Committee, known to all far and wide as the CFO. I don't what the initials stand for, just like RATP does not sound like métro to me.

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