Political Turmoil Continues

Le Gourmet Latin
It was a bit chilly for terrace dining, but the
customers didn't seem to notice.

And Life Goes On As Usual

Paris:- Saturday, 29. March 1998:- The shambles experienced by France last week after the elections continued during the week, and if anything, intensified.

When the dust and smoke settled, it appeared that five regional Council Presidents had been elected with aid from the ultra-right Front National Party - and all five of these elected were of the UDF party.

There is much hand-wringing about this state of affairs. One UDF leader was trying to start a new party, with three new initials. By week's end, demonstrators were in the streets, and today saw marches in large numbers in many cities throughout France.

For the departmental ballot, the SocialistsA2TV demo Paris picked up 12 new ones, bringing their total to 32, against the right's 60 or 61. The communists gained another department head, bringing their total to three.

Tonight's France 2 TV-news shows demonstrations against the FN throughout France.

Quote from this column last week: "As recently as September 1996, Alain Juppé, RPR, characterized the Front National as a group, 'almost viscerally racist, anti-semitic and xenophobe.'" Last Monday evening, President Chirac appeared on TV, to say almost exactly the same thing.

Papon Trial Suspended

Last Wednesday, during the wind-up defense plea by Maître Varaut, Maurice Papon's wife died, and all parties agreed to suspend the proceedings until Monday.

All involved with the trial want it to come to an end, as it is about three months behind its timetable. Baring any further incidents, the defense attorney will finish early in the week and a judgement is expected next Wednesday or early Thursday.

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.

Paris Adds Capacity to Roissy

Without warning, Paris airport Charles-de-Gaulle has just added another terminal, called 'F' I believe. This new building is so big that TV-news was unable to show it in its entirely, so I have no idea what it looks like. The interior photo of it reminds me of the Chicago stockyards.

For years there has been an on and off battle about laying more concrete for landing strips at Roissy, but I heard nothing about a new terminal. This new one, is a sort of extension - the fifth - to the newer 'Aérogare' Two, which just keeps growing. The furthest end of it may be in Aachen someday.

But one thing the architects did do - despite its size - built to handleA2TV demo Sat1 six million passengers a year - they made the front door no more than 150 metres from the furthest loading gate.

Demonstrators numbered in the tens of thousands.

This one terminal will add a third to Roissy's total capacity. Only the first 'peninsula' of it is now open; the second opens in April 1999 and it will be designed to handle the coming super jumbos. It is also designed with the telescope tubes for access to aircraft and no more than 20 percent of passengers will have to find some other way of getting on or off the planes.

Paris' two airports, Orly and Roissy, handled 60 million passengers last year; which amounted to a rise of 2.6 percent.

Amusement Parks

France is not only amusing, it has official parks set aside especially for the purpose of paying to be amused. Near Paris - a big amusement park itself - there are four others.

Disneyland Paris, as it is now called, attracted 12.6 million to its amusements last year. Disney's big advantage for Parisians is that they can get to it without changing trains, if they live near the RER line 'A.' The disadvantage of this park, is that it costs more to be amused in it - an estimated 1540 francs a day for a family of four. This includes the entry, parking, a bit to eat while sitting down and incidentals.

Parc Asterix pulled in 1.9 million and a lot of families on a budget like it because its daily cost is only abut 1145 francs a day. Its drawback is, like the other parks below, having to take a bus after the ride on the RER. By road, it is about the same distance from Paris as Disneyland.

France Miniature costs the least at 740 francs for the family for the day, but I've heard its attractions are not quite so elaborate - although it does contain a miniature France. To this one you take a suburban SNCF train and then a bus.

The Mer-de-Sable park is not one I know much about, except that it has been in operation for 35 years. Its big attractio is a lake of sand. For a family of four: 820 francs a day, plus a bus from a RER station.


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