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A card will be made out for you and each time you visit, you will be given a daily card, which you return when you leave. You then consult the information centre and when your turn comes you are assigned a seat and the assistance of a librarian. There are all sorts of rules and regulations, but if you are seriously hunting for some 'lost fact' these should not be bothersome.

Photocopies can be made of certain items, if the photocopy machine is 'in service.' Talking is frowned upon and telephones in the reading rooms are forbidden. Telefons - verboten! Probably the only place in Paris, besides the Bibliothèque Nationale. No food or drink is allowed.

The Bibliothèque Historique is open from Monday to Saturday, from 9:30 until 18:00. The nearest métro is Saint-Paul on the rue de Rivoli, about three blocks away.

From Friday's The Toqueville Connection:

The lead story, 'Another Crises for France,' takes a look at the reactions to last week's murder of Claude Erignac, the regional prefect for Corsica. The prefect was killed as he walked from his car to a concert in the southern Corsican port of Ajaccio. He had no bodyguards. Corsica's modern nationalist violence erupted in 1975 and continues today. Most Corsicans are sick of it, but nobody seems to know how to bring it to an end.

For the complete report, see The Toqueville Connection. Friday's issue also features a review of 'Philippe, Duc d'Orléans, Régent of France' by Christine Pevitt. The Toqueville Connection's editor Catherine Antoine takes a look at it, and you should too. Philippe d'Orléans, never king, "took nothing seriously and dedicated himself to serious pursuits." Better than fiction.

International Salon de l'Agriculture

This is the salon to go to see a lot of what you eat while it is still alive. Once you've seen some of the cows and other animals you may decide to be a vegetarian. It is a very big annual salon and it features all sorts of regional specialties, and Parisians flock to it by the hundreds of thousands. Other activities, sometimes related to the outdoors, are on display.

At Paris-Expo, Porte de Versailles
From Sunday, 1. March until Sunday, 8. March. From 9:00 to 19:00 daily. Métro: Porte de Versailles. Info. Tel.: 01 49 09 60 00.

15th Banlieues Bleues

Banlieues BleuesNormally this would translate as 'Blues in the 'Burbs' but in this case it is the name of a long-running annual jazz festival, which will begin Friday, 27. February and runs through to Thursday, 9. April. There are 36 evening performances billed, featuring 53 bands, with 19 new creations. The info card I have for it says the festival will be playing in 16 different towns in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, so for this one, you should call the Info. Tel.: at 01 42 43 56 66 to get the full details.

150 Years of the Marine Nationale

The Musée de la Marine has just opened a new thematic space at the museum devoted to France's modern navy; ranging from the Gloire, launched in 1859, to the huge aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, launched in 1997.

France's Navy Museum is also celebrating its own 250th anniversary this year, and so there is a special exhibition for this as well.

Musée de la Marine
Palais de Chaillot, place du Trocadéro, Paris 16.
Daily, except Tuesdays; from 10:00 to 18:00.

18th Salon du Livre

Everything French or foreign publishers want you to see Salon du Livre is on view at this popular salon, including the latest multimedia products and a lot of other odds and ends, which include comics. Meet live authors, take part in literary discussions, or just talk about books. Guest country of honor this year is Brazil, and it is the first Latin American country to be invited.

This salon takes place from Friday, 20. March until Wednesday, 25. March. Monday, 23. March, is reserved for professionals. Location: at Paris-Expo - Porte de Versailles, in Hall One - all of it. Info. Tel.: 08 36 60 00 51 - warning: this is a toll number, costing twice as much as the Minitel. Organizer is Reed-OIP and their email address is livre@reed-oip.fr

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 2.07 - 17. February 1997 featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'X-perimental French Record Reviews' andcount-down eiffel 'Au Bistro' had - 'Movie and Music Awards for Charles Aznavor.' The articles in the issue were 'Looking Back at Retromobile Salon Is Like Looking at Starwars in a Mirror' - 'Place des Vosges Remains Unchanged After 350 Years' and 'CD Music Review: 'Zip Band's - Getting X-perimental Over U.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was History of Gué Automobiles.'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 684 days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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