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cafe - ah! ca ira
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.

More Living Artists

Artists and galleries around the Abbesses area are having open house daily from 15:00 to 20:00 - from now until next Sunday, 17. May. Take the métro to Abbesses and start looking around Montmartre.

The artists around Belleville are doing this too and for the 9th time; from Friday, 15. May to Monday, 18. May. There are two meeting spots, where you can find guides to where to locate the artists' ateliers: 2. boulevard de la Villette and at the bus podium at the place des Fêtes. Open from 15:00 to 21:00 daily.

Very Last Chance: Manet, Monet - La Gare Saint-Lazare

kids luxembourgThis exhibition's last days are approaching. This show at the Musée d'Orsay will be on view for the last time next Sunday, 17. May.

Another shot of the Luxembourg, taken last Friday; of 4,837 kids, all yelling.

Musée d'Orsay
Except Monday, daily from 10:00 to 18:00, Sundays starting at 9:00, and on Thursdays open until 22:00. Métro: Solférino or RER 'C.' Reservations are recommended, under about the same conditions as the Grand Palais - see below. Info. Tel.: 01 40 49 48 14.

Man Ray - La Photographie à l'Envers

See the article in this week's issue, entitled 'Man Ray in Montparnasse.' The exhibition is on show until Monday, 29. June, in the Galeries Nationales of the Grand Palais.

L'Art au Temps des Rois Maudits

Until Monday, 29. June, in the Galeries Nationales of the Grand Palais.

Delacroix, les Dernières Années

Until Monday, 20. July, , in the Galeries Nationales of the Grand Palais.

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
Open daily, except Tuesdays, from 10:00. Without reservations, from 13:00 to 20:00. Entry: Square Jean Perrin. Métro: Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau.

Reservations for Exhibitions at the Grand Palais can be made and are necessary for visits between 10:00 and 13:00. The rules say you must make the reservation 48 hours before your intended visit; and you must be there within 30 minutes of the time indicated on your ticket.

Make reservations at the Paris Tourist Office, 127. avenue des Champs-Elysées, or at the ticket services of the main fnac stores, 'France Billet' in Carrefour stores, Virgin outlets, or at the boutique of the Musée d'Orsay. Info. Tel.: 01 49 87 54 54.

No reservations are necessary for visits beginning at 13:00. Past advice for popular shows at the Grand Palais remains the same: try to time your visit for around 17:00 when most people are elsewhere.

Charges for the different exhibitions vary, but are in the 35 to 50 franc range, with reserved tickets costing slightly more than 'take-your-chance' stand-in-line tickets.

Delacroix: 'Le Trait Romantique'

An exhibition of about 250 drawings, watercolors and engravings, by Delacroix - showing him to be a master of color and line. The exhibition has two parts; the essentials of his engravings, including the series of lithos for Hamlet and Faust, and the other shows off the artist's different techniques.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France - Richelieu
Galeries Mansart et Mazarine
Until Sunday, 12. July. Open daily except Mondays, from 9:30 to 18:30. Entry, 35 francs; catalogue, 160 pages, about 145 francs. 58. rue de Richelieu, Paris 1. Métro: Quatre-Septembre or Bourse. Info. Tel.: 01 47 03 81 10.

Delacroix et Villot

This exhibition accents the copies of Delacroix done by Frédéric Villot, painter, engraver, art historian and friend of the artist. The original and the copies of Sardanapale are shown side by side, for the first time. Other engravings, designs, letters and manuscripts by Villot are also on view.

Musée Eugène Delacroix
Until Friday, 31. July. Open daily, except Mondays, from 9:30 to 17:00. Entry, 30 francs - allows access to permanent collection as well. 6. rue de Furstenberg, Paris 6. Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Près. Info. Tel.: 01 44 41 86 50.

Printemps Vietnamien

The following exhibitions fall within the over-all framework of the 'Printemps Vietnamien,' to be held mainly at Les Halles, and lasting until 20. June.

Paris-Hanoï-Saigon, l'Aventure de l'Art Moderne au Vietnam Pavillon des Arts from until Sunday, 17. May. At 101. rue Rambuteau, Paris 1. Info. Tel.: 01 42 33 82 50.

La Photographie Vietnamienne
Espace Photographique des Halles, until Wednesday, 20. May. At the Forum des Halles, Place Carrée, Paris 1. Info. Tel.: 01 40 26 87 12.

Ad Nauseam Repeat of Free Newsletter Offer

The free Volterre-Fr 'What's New' Email Newsletter has its own 'What's New' to announce and I believe it is a change of name. As I write, I'm not quite sure what it is called now. Doesn't matter, this rest of this old information is still good.

You can automatically receive the latest information about Paris - with travel and tourism, restaurants, hotels and castles, language learning and education, art, multimedia, books, health and beauty, and juicy blurbs for Metropole. More is added to nearly every issue and there's probably something for in it for you.

Use the Web Subscription Form or send an email to Linda Thalman. This is not a discussion list; the newsletter updates WebFrance International 'What's New' activities and it is free. You can unsubscribe at any time just as easily as subscribing.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 2.19 - 12. May 1997 - The issue featuredcount down Eiffel Tower the columns - Café Metropole - 'Rain Fell Mainly In France this Week' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Nothing But Cannes and Politics.' The articles in the issue were 'Elections '97 - Chirac Fails to Spark Lackluster Campaign' - 'When the French Ate Grass Instead of Bread' and 'An Unexpected Day in Passy.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was called 'Baguettes of Grass,' which might of had something to do with eating greens.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 600 (!) days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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