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This oddly-named café has ordinary drinks for 5 or 7 francs.

X-perimental Non-Geek Coding Going On

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 11. May 1998:- I have a list of things to write for this column and some of the good stuff I've got isn't even on it. This column is also nearly as nearly full of words as it will hold - and the darn deadline is coming up so fast I'm sure somebody boosted a day out of the week when I wasn't looking.

It's probably all my fault because I'm always saying I'm responsible for everything. There are the month-of-May long weekends which tend to drag on, sometimes because the SNCF decides to fix its tracks on a holiday, thus turning a simple 'aller-retour' into the city centre into a six-hour run-around.

But that's not it. The SNCF didn't tell me to 'fix' the code behind these words, in a vain and silly attempt to improve the readability.

The 'Web Code for Lamebrains' book has been written and I've got a version of it, but there's something about the code itself which defies trying to be rationalboules luxembourg with it. About once a week I get an email from Linda Thalman asking, "What did that?" or I send her one with the same question.

Friday scene in the Luxembourg Gardens, as spring showed up - again.

If you have any problems seeing this issue, do not tune your TV set. Send me an email, preferably with MSMail, because it single-handedly turns perfectly good messages into pure gibberish without any help from me.

If you do have MSMail and you actually have to tell me something, write it on a postcard, put my name on it and drop it into a mailbox. I won't get it, but you'll feel better. If you don't worry about the great stuff I'm not putting in this week, I won't either.

By next week the code will be fixed. Maybe. Maybe the week after next. Stay tuned.

Echos of May '68

Friday's edition of the Christian Science Monitor's online edition features The 'French Look Back At May '68' by Peter Ford. This answers the question of whether the 'Events of May '68' have had a lasting impression on the French and if they did, what they might mean.

Metropole's readers have some things to say too and you will find their comments on this week's eMail page.

Back to the Future - Really! Paris 2000

Paris is broke and feeling a little run down at the heels; the mayor's office is under more or less permanent siege - but that is another story - and just when you think things are going to get lots worse before they get better, some bright spark manages to pull a magic rabbit out of a hat.

Am I overdoing it? This is about the exhibition area in the Hôtel de Ville after all; the one that puts on little shows, more or less for ordinary-sized people, like the average Parisian.

Over the years, for all sorts of oddball reasons, all sorts of oddballs have been hatching plans for the 'Paris of the Future' and most of these have been based on the idea of Very High Structures à la Manhattan; although there have been some pretty strange proposals for underground areas as well - probably because it kind of looks like Moletropolis down there.

Some of the plans and sketches for some of these ideas are currently on display the city hall's reception, and if it isn't a funnier show than some of the Egyptian stuff, I'll eat a skyscraper. On until 3. October, at the rue de Rivoli entry to the Hôtel de Ville; from 9:00 to 18:00 except on Sundays and holidays. No entry charge, and don't tip the cops guarding the door. Info. Tel.: 01 42 76 40 40.

New Exhibition: 'La Gloire d'Alexandrie'

Ever since Napoléon went down to Egypt and left his army in the lurch there, Parisians have been fascinated with things Egyptian and this year they seem to be going gaga on it. Le Parisien has a list of no less than 10 Egyptian things to see or do in Paris - even if one of them is only standing in the place de la Concorde and looking at the obelisk.

Maybe it is because Napoléon's army passed through Alexandria once - or maybe is it because there was a bigger library there once, or maybe because one of the 'seven wonders of the world,' a huge lighthouse, was at the harbor's entrance - who knows? - but 'La Gloire d'Alexandrie' is now on show at the Musée du Petit Palais.

One of the items on show is a seven-metre high fragment of a statue of the Pharaoh Ptolemy II. Although I find no reference to him, he might be related to Ptolemy I - who was a Macedonian pal of Alexander's - who was sent to Egypt to run the place. An interesting sidelight, is Ptolemy - no relation! - of the 2nd century, who was also sort of Greek, and who lived, by chance! in Alexandria - who cleverlyexpo: alexandrie figured out the earth was the centre of the universe. This discovery might have make him rich but it didn't make him famous.

Alexandria is the only place in Egypt I have ever been curious about, and I am not thrilled it is getting all this indiscriminate attention. I was hoping it would kind of stay unknown until I got around to giving it a visit, but this looks hopeless now.

So you may as well toodle over to the Petit Palais and give these new treasures an ogle. On the avenue Winston-Churchill; métro Clemenceau, Paris 8. Except Mondays, showtimes are 10:00 to 17:40 and until 20:00 on Thursdays. Entry charge is 45 francs and Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 12 73.

Abolition of Slavery Celebrated

All France noted, with considerable fanfare, but without much pride, the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery and I overlooked mentioning it. I made notes about it, I watched documentaries on TV about it - it just didn't end up here.

But there is still time, because there is an exhibition currently running at the Mairie of the 5th arrondissement, which continues until Wednesday, 20. May. Open daily from 11:00 to 17:45 and on Sundays from 14:00 to 17:45. There is no entry charge and the location is at 21. place du Panthéon, just up the hill from the boulevard Saint-Michel.


This coming Saturday and Sunday, 16. and 17. May, there is a sort of expo and old toy market for fanciers and collectors of the stuff kids used to like a long time ago before they discovered the marvels of 'rap' and video games. Open from 10:00 to 19:00, you can find this at the Salle Equinoxe at Aquaboulevard and the given address is 4. rue Louis-Armand, Paris 15.

Old Books - Big Show

I'm amazed. It is only the 10th International Antique Book Fair which is happening this coming Thursday through Sunday, 14. to 17.May. Apparently there will be about 20,000 old books to thumb through; well, maybe you can't exactly do this because some of the books are not only old but rare, nay, priceless - but for the occasion will be, in fact, be offered for sale. There is also an expo of the municipal Bibliothèque of Rouen's treasures. From 11:00 to 19:00, on Thursday, 14. May, from 17:00 until 22:00. At the Maison de la Mutualité, 24. rue Saint-Victor, Paris 5.

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