Three Candles for Something

cafe de cluny
Where the boulevards meet, is the Café de Cluny.

Re-Look at Our Links Page

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 16. March 1998:- Just a touch under three years ago, I was riding the métro in Paris and I noticed posters announcing the start of the annual Salon du Livre.

In order to dispel a foul mood, I was on my way to a mail-order company to purchase a digital camera. I wasn't sure this would be the right medicine, but the price had tumbled by 57 percent overnight, so the deal looked attractive.

Fate dispenses its little tricks, so the place closed for lunch five minutes before I arrived; leaving me two hours to kill in the 15th. When it opened, the cameras were being unloaded from the truck. Had I arrived on time, I still would have had to wait for the camera delivery after lunch.

After returning home, I remembered the Salon du Livre posters. I phoned a contact to arrange for an entry to the salon and that night I went online to see if I could find a Web site that might take a report on it.

By next morning, the entry ticket to the salon had arrived by mail and I got a tentative go-ahead from Norman Barth to do a story for his 'The Paris Pages' Web site. That left testing the camera and it turned out acceptable enough photos.

Friday, 17. March 1995 was a big day for me - the day of my first 'Paris Internet Reporter' job. The salon itself was huge, and Norman had asked for its entire program - in addition to a first 'report.'

It was also Saint Patrick's Day and that evening the party was at my place. With the kind of people I know, this affair leans to the wretched excess side of the good manners scale, but everybody was gone by 01:30. Duringcours st andre the 'fête' I took photos of some of the participants, and then amazed some of the ones who could still see by showing them onscreen.

In the cour Saint-André, in the alley behind the Procope.

So it was only after all the bamboozle had gone that I got around to the salon's photos. They all came out looking like tar - they were 98 percent pitch-black. I had done something wrong. The 'throw-away' party photos were perfect, and my new 'career' photos were garbage.

I fought and wrestled something mucky out of them and then spent three hours writing an impossibly-long program for the salon. Norman ran all this, and all of the rest of the story is online at 'The Paris Pages' or 'Metropole Paris,' and sometimes on both.

Tomorrow is Saint Patrick's Day again and next Friday I will be at my third Salon du Livre. This year there will be no party here for Patrick and I'm not doing much of an advance program for the salon.

Meanwhile, I will figure out how to celebrate 'three years online' sometime during the week and tell you about it in the next edition.

Metropole's Links Page

Last week I said I had been doing a bit of surfing. I have heard that some people call the Web 'WorldWideWait' and I can certainly second this. Surfing is not my favorite activity.

I do it in order to check new Web URLs to see if there are good Web sites to tell you about. This means, I am usually in a hurry when I'm doing this - and if a site presents the slightest problem, I might give it one second try and if it fails again, that's it.

Readers of this magazine send me URLs and I always check these. Please keep sending them. Some good people find Metropole, and they suggest mutual links and I check these too. Then I think it over for six weeks before doing anything. Or is it six months?

Generally, I will link to any other Web site which enhances Metropole's coverage of Paris. But practically speaking, this is a foggy area. The question I always ask first; will this 'new' Web site link be useful to Metropole's readers?

For example, as near as I can tell, there are now three Web sites which have the equivalent of France's 'White and Yellow Pages.' The one that has worked best for me in the past, is now saying, "Tired Server" or some such other nonsense, for the last several days.

France Telecom has one too, but it seems to be as dumb as their Minitel; which I am too dumb to operate. The Postal people have leapt into the fray with their version, but it has some defect which defies me. Let's say, from neither do I get numbers, addresses or even names, in a timely manner. The result is, I don't want to put any of these three in on the links page. Not just yet.

In the course of 'housecleaning' the links page, I have re-ordered it a bit. Mostly, you want information about Paris, so this is near the top of the page. Complimentary editorial and service sites follow.

Then there are lists of, mainly, media sites. For Paris, the International Herald Tribune is good, because you can find the work of some of their best local columnists on it. The French newspaper 'Libération' has a weekly multimedia supplement, and this will lead to new and interesting French Web sites. The TV 'Canal J' site could be useful for curious younger readers: my son got me to look at it.

That's it. Check out the links page from time to time. Any suggestions, complaints, proposals, brick-bats; send them to me. Click on my name at the bottom of this - and every - page for the Web mail form.

From Friday's The Toqueville Connection:

Starting this week, 'The Toqueville Connection' takes a permanent place on Metropole's Links page, so this will be the last regular weekly plug for it.

The question of the week is, 'Will the Right Unite?' While the right is in quandary over possible alliances, Sunday's elections will measure the popularity of the Socialist Party's policies. Another Socialist, ex-Foreign Minister Roland Dumas, is in trouble. Still no European central banker selected - and other stories. Give it a read, for a 'newsier' viewpoint than Metropole's.

Meanwhile, see the answer to the question above in this week's 'Au Bistro' column.

Saint Patrick's Day Party

As I have already mentioned above, I am not having a Saint Patrick's Day party at my house. If you come, I will be out. If you do not come, I will be in. I am not anti-social and I have sunk more than a jar or two, somest patrick's party of them on Saint Patrick's Days in the past, but - alas! - I cannot do it anymore. And this has nothing to do with 1995 either.

Having Saint Patrick's at the Diva du Monde with four Irish groups, might be fun.
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