All Sorts of News For Visitors -
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resto relais de la butte
Another quiet terrace - halfway between the top of
Montmartre and métro Abbesses.

The Seven-Day Weather Forecast -
Coming Soon

Paris:- Saturday, 16. May 1998:- Météo France, which gives us our weather predictions, has been satisfied for a long time with putting out a four-day forecast. They say that they could have given seven-day forecasts, or ten days, or even a whole season, but didn't do this, because over these time periods, the forecasts were unreliable.

With big fanfare it was announced during the week that Météo France had just got some new hardware from Japan and would henceforth be putting out seven-day forecasts.

Weather forecasts are like 'tax-reform.' People think the latter means 'tax-reduction' and the former means accurate advance weather predictions. While radio France-Info touted the seven-day forecasts without any reservations, Le Parisien says there is wagering involved.

It goes like this: if Météo France says next Saturday is going to be as nice as today, with a 'confidence index' of four, then I can reckon on not wearing my winter coat. But if their 'confidence index' is two, I can flip a coin to get the answer.

You will see from the photos in this issue, that the sun has been shining on the Ile-de-France. It is doing so today, as I can clearly see from my window.

'Atmo' Breathes For Us

Like looking out of a window, 'Atmo' does not predict the level of air pollution; it just measures it. France has becomeparvis la defense very air-pollution conscious and there is now a network of air-sampling stations; hooked up to no less than a new Japanese jumbo supercomputer.

With a little breeze, I 'rated' last Wednesday, a solid 'two.'

If I can believe Atmo's brochure, there is now a standard for levels of pollution in France. This is a handy gauge as it goes from one to ten.

One means excellent air quality. Where or when this is, I don't know. Air is breathable from one to five; from six to ten it goes from mediocre to 'exécrable' - which is a word I can't use here; but is sort of like sewage.

If you want to find out about air quality at any given minute, try the Atmo Web site, which may still be 'under construction.'

Also remember, this is the air quality right now; it may be totally different in a couple of hours - especially with this 'NAO' we have running around here on the loose.

A Typical Transport Strike Day

Early last Tuesday it was made well-known to Parisians by press, radio and TV that there was to be a national SNCF train drivers' strike on Wednesday.

This information was put online as a 'FlashNews'-update item in Metropole just before noon on Tuesday. Since the CGT, CFDT and Sud-Rail unions were to take part, I thought the threat deserved a high rating.

For my own plans, I even remembered to go to my local station Tuesday evening and make a note of Wednesday's train times to and from Paris - so I would not have to hang around on platforms for hours.

My Wednesday train was bang-on-time. I did not punch the ticket I had for La Défense - like some passengers who did; going only one stop - and rode all the way to Saint-Lazare as well, to shorten the trip to Montmartre.

The weather prediction for the day was 28 degrees, and that it about what it was, with a little wind. Weather predictions are never confirmed by follow-up facts, so the temperature may have been 25.5 or 29.

With a massive 250 kms of stalled traffic in the Paris area in the morning, by early afternoon the air began to hit the bottom edge of pollution level two - this is not an 'Atmo' level two; this is much worse - a level reached in Lille and Alsace.

The RATP's métro and buses were not taking part in the strike, so it was business as usual and I got my ticket checked by controllers in a tunnel at métro Concorde. There seemed to be neithertunnel entry to arc more nor less métro riders, and when I connected with my train at La Défense on the way back, the train was on time and not over-full.

At the top of the Champs- Elysées, the entry to the tunnel to the Arc.

During the day, the SNCF passenger services throughout France operated 20 to 33 percent of their normal traffic. The Paris - London Eurostar service operated on its normal schedule.

Unless one tried to outwit the public transport strike by trying to drive to Paris, it was hard to notice that there any strike at all. From a user's standpoint, there was no content to the labor- management 'message.' This was about average for a Paris area public transport strike.

And with this tidy wrap-up, I now eat my words. Last night a train driver, operating out of Saint-Lazare, was 'insulted' by a teen-ager at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. This morning there are no trains, suburban or long-distance, operating on lines running out of Saint-Lazare.

To get to downtown Paris today, my only option is to take the RER from Saint-Germain-en-Laye. I'm going out right now to see if there are any buses going there today. No, I'm not. Just kidding.

Atypical Demo Day

Each issue of Le Parisien caries the 'traffic' page, and this is usually on the last page. Under the subject of traffic, comes demonstrations. For example, every Friday the 'Fed-Up Motorcyclists' association gathers at Bastille, and parades to Vincennes.

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