All Sorts of News For Visitors -
Some Of It Good

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 carries 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.

Today, in addition to the 'motards,' who re doing their thing today too, we have a rugby final and a fine-weather weekend. The rugby is at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis tonight, so that leaves:

-14:00:- from Nation to Menilmontant, demo for the National co-ordination of the 'Sans-Papiers.'
- 14:00:- from Bastille to République, the national committee against the Maastricht Treaty.
- 14:00:- from the Tour Eiffel to the Bastille, the French Federation of 'Angry Motards.'
- 14:30:- from Châtelet to Opéra, national teachers' demo, organized by the unions SNES-FSU, SNEP, the SNU-ipp, SNALC and the UNSEN-CGT.
- 15:00:- from Trocadéro to place du Canada, a gaggle of associations who are seeking a referendum on the 'immigration' question.
- 17:30:- from Denfert-Rochereau to the Arab World Institute, demo for justice and peace in Palestine.
- 16:00: after this time, avoid north Paris and nearby suburbs on account of the rugby frenzy.

All of these activities have police permits for their marches and parades. Le Parisien thinks the situation is serious, and has another map, showing where all these groups will criss-cross downtown Paris. The paper suggests going to town on a scooter, taking the métro or even... walking.

Shortie From Cannes

'Las Vegas Parano' - aka 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' - was eagerly awaited at the festival, and got a good roll of hype from TV-news, but today's Le Parisien said the unhip audience thought it was a story about sustained hysteria.

This is, according to people who know about these things, a serious blow for Johnny Depp. He bombed in Cannes last year in 'The Brave' with Marlon Brando, or something. Personally, I think it is his name that is holding him back.

Cannes is very much 'on the air' here and has definitely blown 'Memories of May '68' off the airwaves - unlike the other way around 30 years ago. Mr. Depp was obviously 'brave' or foolhardy in attempting to play Hunter Thompson; the only actors who could have done it, are dead.

While on this entertainment section, I may as well mention that Le Parisien has given four stars to the two Egypt shows, the theatre piece 'Le Chanson de Roland,' the gospel concert of Liz McComb and the ballet 'Don Quixote.' Brilliant! But only four stars.

Tragic Football Passion

A week ago Wednesday, I saw some football supporters for the Lazio team, riding the métro. Their blue and white colors led me to think they were Greeks, but the team is Lazio Roma. The SportsFans were in town to see UEFA Cup match between Lazio and Inter Milan.

That evening in a Paris suburb, SportsFan Mr. F. was glued to his TV set to watch the match, along with the two brothers of his wife, Mme F., who was not a great SportsFan.

A violent argument broke out after she decided to change the channel. She was outvoted, and in a fury ran into the kitchen, opened the window and said she was going to jump out of it. Furious, SportsFan Mr. F. decided to call her bluff.

He climbed onto the open windowsill in the kitchen, unbalanced, and fell 15 floors to his death. The police decided the death was accidental.

Two days later, Mme F., unable to support her grief, snapped and jumped out of another window, four floors up. At the time of the edition of this story in Le Parisien last Tuesday, her medical situation was not good.

There is a noun in French for jumping out of windows. It is 'défenestration,' and Le Parisien uses it as a verb - as in, "il s'est défenestrée." Inter Milan outscored Lazio Roma by three goals to zero at the Parc des Princes that night.

New SportsNews

wc98 min of sportsFor some reason of other, tonight's rugby score has failed to register. I think it was some French Catalonians against 'Stade-de-France,' so I will recklessly predict that Perpignan won since the Stade de France has been in operation only a short time. Banner poster, from the Ministry of Youth and Sports.

Old SportsNews

I never got the score for last Saturday's game between - who was it? Metz and Lens? Where are they? What are they?

Not getting this important information is turning into a personal Mudville for me. If I had a gram of sense, I would sit this one out at the SportsBar.

SportsBar Is Quiet On Tuesdays

While real SportsFans lead otherwise normal lives on Tuesdays, those at the SportsBar, known as the Football Café play checkers while awaiting the approaching World Cup championship matches. Their girlfriends are not amused, but cannot figure out how to dislodge the true SportsFans from their 'Football Caf&eacute.' in which they are whirling away their thoughts, while spouting their checker-philosophy and drinking lukewarm World Cup SportsCafé. Three cheers and a crambola! for the Football Café and for the single-mindedness of the SportsFans!'

Less uplifting are the 'official' Web sites: represented by the FIFA - which stands for Federation International - and the French Organizing Committee, known to all far and wide as the CFO. I don't what the initials stand for, just like RATP does not sound like métro to me.

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini