No Cause For Alarm

cafe terrace chez plumeau
Calm terrace dining on Montmartre, about 35 metres
from the world's most visited 'place.'

Not Yet At Least - Maybe Later

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 18. May 1998:- Transportation around Paris pops up in several places in this issue. Linda Thalman writes about the trans-urban RER network, and my own M-R writes about her run-ins with traffic cops.

With the extra visitors expected soon for the World Cup, I think it is time to discuss the possibility of strikes by public transport workers.

First and foremost, very few transport strikes are total. There is always a 'minimum' service at least. Both the management and the workers attempt to make the work stoppages as painless as possible - but it is up to you to be a bit more alert during un-normal situations.

'Minimum' service usually means that there will be one out of two, three or four - trains, métros or buses - operating. This means the service will be 20 to 33 percent of normal. Both management and workers go to some pains to post the times of trains or buses that are in operation.

This is where 'being alert' comes in. You need to look for these temporary schedules and then read them. Watch what other travelers are doing: they may be reading panels with printed 'strike' schedules, or looking at the postings of schedules on TV monitors.

As a visitor, making sense of these temporary postings will not be easy - so it's a good idea to watch what other passengers are doing. Broadcast announcements will probably be meaningless garble, so don't try to make anything out of them.

If other passengers are not 'cancelling' their tickets, if they are taking shortcuts through open doorways, you can do it too. If they are groaning in frustation, you can do it too. Ride in first class if you feel like it. Parisians, out of habit, probably will not switch to first class wagons - but if therechess players luxembourg is a strike, there almost certainly will be no ticket controllers. This will be signalled by the open ticket barriers.

Some of these chess players in the Luxembourg Gardens were playing cards instead.

If there is a transport strike while you are in Paris, you may not even notice it. As a rule, there will be no visible activity by union members; no pickets, no train drivers parading around train stations with signs saying, 'Mgt Unfair to Night Drivers' or 'RER 'C' Stands for Crummy!'

So while you are waiting for trains or buses, remember that every labor conflict has two sides. If it affects a service like public transport, you will know that somebody on both sides is being unreasonable - and the actual conflict is a long-standing one. In other words, there has already been plenty of time to resolve the dispute.

Traditionaly, strikes of all sorts do not tend to happen near or during the summer holiday season - except for airline pilots, ground crew or air traffic controlers - because there are eight other months of the year which are suitable for work stoppages.

The situation of the World Cup in France, starting next month, is going to require a serious increase in transport services, and this is already well-planned. In order to make it work, both management and labor will be compromising with their own June-July holiday plans in order to handle the extra traffic.

Local newspapers are trying to make residents jittery with hints about 'social-conflicts' upsetting the smooth course of the World Cup tournament, but I think, as I've suggested, that the strike season will end the day before the matches start.

I could be wrong though. The truck drivers who were on strike throughout France last winter say that deals made then have no been honored, and they are publicaly hinting that they are considering some 'action' during the World Cup if they don't get some satisfaction before then.

If it does turn out I'm wrong, you can expect me to admit it here. If you are on your way to Paris, keep a close watch on Metropole - 'FlashNews' is called this because it can be put online within minutes or hours. Not days, weeks or months.

5th Classic Festival 'In the Green'

Each Sunday at 16:30, there is a free concert of classical music in the Parc Floral de Paris, on the Esplanade du Château de Vincennes. The next performance will be 'Rameau, Hotteterre' put on by the Concert of the Hôtel Dieu. Following the renaissance and barock in May will be comic opera in June.

The entire program runs through the summer, to the final concert on Sunday, 27. September. Entry to the Parc Floral is ten francs; and you should bring your own refreshments. Métro: Château de Vincennes. Info. Tel.: 01 43 43 92 95.

More 'Green' Music

In addition to the jazz and classical concerts in the Parc Floral, there are hundreds or other concerts scheduled to take place in parks around the city - from now until September. Like the Parc Floral, entry costs ten francs for the concerts at the Bagatelle, but most of the others should be free.

The program can be obtained the the reception bureau of the Hôtel de Ville, at the Paris Tourist Office on the Champs-Elysées, or by consulting the programs posted at the parks themselves.

New Life At the Hôtel du Nord

A cabaret spectacle named 'CanCans' - after the style of Toulouse-Lautrec - is 'newly installed' at the 'mythic' location of the Hôtel du Nord. This is the real Hôtel du Nord and not the movie stage made for the film - at 102. quai de Jemmapes, Paris 10. Info. Tel.: 01 40 40 99 20.

The Neighborhood Wolf

Is actually called 'Le Loup du Faubourg' and is also a cabaret, which runs all year long. I don't know if it is experimental or the way cabaret is going these days, because they have acts which include Mimi Bastille's 'neo-realist' songs and 'Bals Clandestin,' which involve accordeons and guitars. Maybe it's ordinary stuff with funny names. I think you pay your entry by buying drinks and you can do this at 21. rue de la Roquette, Paris 11. Info. Tel.: 01 40 21 90 95.

In The Same Neighborhood

For the second year running - er - this is the second time - ah - the 'Festival Onze' is an arrondissement party, which runs from Thursday, 28. May until Sunday, 7. June.

I actually have the program for this here someplace, because I stumbled on to the organizers some weeks back while snooping around the city hall of the 11th. I am not going to trymusee a bourdelle to find the program right now, but I remember that just about every bar, dancehall, musician, singer, performer and all the good citizens, have a good, big party for the duration.

The Musée Antoine Bourdelle in Montparnasse, owned by the City of Paris since 1948.

Good heavens! I have found my hand on the thing. Okay; so they've got everything: music, theatre, dance, street stuff, art stuff; stuff in bars, cafés, bistros, churches, cinemas, in the street, on TV - last year there were 215 'spectacles,' and 302 shows put on by 822 'artists.' Anyhow, 11 wild days and nights in the 11th arrondissement. Info. Tel.: 01 53 27 11 47.

In A Different Neighborhood:

Across the river and up on the 'heights' of Montparnasse, the 'Fête de la Bretagne' cranks up tomorrow at 18:00. Otherwise known as a 'Fest Noz,' this affair happens around the marché at Edgar Quinet, which is handy because it has a métro stop by the same name. If you go there, you ask anybody speaking Celtic where it's at, and if they speak Celtic, you are there.

This seems to be a one-night party, but if you are in this area you can always find something Celtic going on.

Exhibition: 'La Gloire d'Alexandrie'

On show until 26. July at the Petit Palais 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.

Man Ray - La Photographie à l'Envers

See the article in last week's issue, entitled 'Man Ray in Montparnasse.' This 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 hourstheatre ticket kiosk before your intended visit; and you must be there within 30 minutes of the time indicated on your ticket.

These ticket kiosks sell show and theatre tickets, possibly at a discount.

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 exhibition falls within the over-all framework of the 'Printemps Vietnamien,' being held mainly at Les Halles, and now lasting until 28. June. The show below was supposed to be over in May. It is either a new show with an old name, or it is the old show with an extended run.

La Photographie Vietnamienne
Espace Photographique des Halles, until Sunday, 28. June At the Forum des Halles, Place Carrée, Paris 1. Info. Tel.: 01 40 26 87 12.

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This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 2.20 - 19. May 1997 - The issue featuredcount down Eiffel Tower the columns - Café Metropole - 'Caught by Surprise Long Weekend' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Tapie On Trial, Again.' The articles in the issue were 'Elections '97 - Into - Yawn - the Final Stretch' - 'Art On the Table in the rue de Paradis' - 'East of Suez in the Passage Brady' and 'Courbevoie Found - Near La Défense.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was called 'Don't Forget to Vote,' which might of had something to do with yawning.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 593 days left to go.

Regards, Ric
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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