Cascades of Visitor Information

photo: flag cafe terrace
As the terrace of the Flag Café faces Bastille, most clients sit inside during rush-hour.

Not From Me - From the Ville de Paris

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 8. June 1998:- Except for 'unstable' weather, last week seemed fairly normal - but as I write this I am too aware that 'something changed.'

The idea I had, to do a kind of guide for things for kids to do in Paris, started off with some notion of what would be involved, but this has gotten buried under a pile of newspapers, guides and brochures more than twice as deep as usual.

On Wednesday I found one of the new Paris information kiosks open and ready for business, and the crew of two gave me three free guide books.

'Paris à l'Heure de la Coupe du Monde' is a really handy 98-page guide to nearly everything happening in the city during the World Cup. 'Ete 98' is a 120-page guidephoto: merry go round to Paris' entire summer program and it has a mind-boggling list of events in the areas of music, theatre, dance, exhibitions, conferences and special film programs.

Most of the photos for the guide for kids were done; only the guide is lacking.

The third free guide, to sports activities in Paris, was published last year. It has about 230 pages. Besides the guides, the information kiosks also sell telephone cards, and dispense free information. There are 15 of these new kiosks scattered around the city.

Because of the transport strikes, I bought more newspapers than usual. On Wednesday, Libération had a guide to activities for kids, called, 'Paris Mômes.' This is published every second Wednesday, so many of its items are for events in the near future.

Then to top it all off, Libération published a 48-page supplement on Saturday, entitled, 'L'Eté des Festivals.' This is a guide co-produced with World-Media, which is a pool of 20 leading newspapers - 'Reaching 35 million readers in 20 countries.' Six of the papers in the group are not evengraphic: liberation's l'ete des festivals European, so what you may find on the Web site if you try the link may be surprising. I am too buried under paper to look at it myself just now. Ah, heck, I plain forgot to do it.

Added to all of this, are the brochures I pick up each week like Mr. Sticky- fingers, and the result is I am very far from putting together any sort of guide to kid's activities in Paris and the region.

I did skim some of the paper, so I know there is far more for the kids than I thought. Monte McGee took his kids to the Musée de la Marine and he said it is a good show. Since the flap about the museum being moved has faded into a past memory, it has continued with its own previously planned renovations and expansion, so there is more to see than before.

There is also an exhibition of marine paintings worth seeing at the museum. With all I have here, I can't find any information about this; and I blew my chance to ask the Admiral about it yesterday.

The long and the short of it is, if you are in Paris with your kids - take them to the Musée de la Marine at Trocadéro. For everything else, pick up the free guides at the new information kiosks.

Painter's Picnics

Last year I had beaches on the brain and this year it looks like picnics are going to be the big thing. I have been meaning to get around to mentioning all the locations near Paris, where the painters used to hang out. Theygraphic: fete impressionists chatou are getting popular again. A century ago, people got themselves out of the city on weekends to be beside the rivers, to picnic and to be cool.

One such place is the island in the Seine at Chatou, just west of Paris. On Saturday, 13. June and Sunday, there will be the 16th annual 'Fête des Impressionistes' there. It seems to be arranged as a wedding party, with the groom's party on Saturday and the marriage ceremony on Sunday.

This apparently happens with period costumes and music. There appears to be a fleet of five sailing barges, full of Loire wine, on their way to the fête from Nantes. There will be three competitions: for painting, for photos and for costumes. The program starts at 13:00 on Saturday. Info. Tel.: 01 34 80 46 49.

'FlashNews' Updates and 'Past Issues'

Due to the transport strikes in Paris and throughout France last week, a 'FlashNews' bulletin was posted on the Contents Page, each day between 10:00 and 11:00, Paris time.

Each time this was done, the action 'disappeared' the latest version of 'Past Issues' and substituted it with the 'Past Issues' page which ran with issue number 3.20.

Nobody here knows why this happens but we know it does. On Friday, due to being in Paris, the fault was not fixed until later in the day. I hope this has caused no inconvenience to anybody other than me.

The search engines got the updates too and most 'accepted' them. Infoseek seems to be the fastest to show the changes. On Friday, AltaVista said the updated page was '404' - Not Found. Normally AltaVista returns a 'found' within ten seconds; but with so much activity, it may have 'lost' Metropole entirely.

'Unstable' Weather Knocks Off Web-Server

Sometime on Saturday, after I posted the day's 'FlashNews,' lightning stuck something somewhere not far from Paris, and blitzed the line that connects Metropole's server to the World Wide Web. If you have not been getting access to it, this is the reason.

The server itself is fine, idly spinning around as usual. The suppliers of the line were - are - '404' not found - not by telephone, not by fax, not by smoke signals and not by distress flares. Linda Thalman thinks they are at Roland Garros watching the tennis. Sometime today, they are going to wish they are watching the submarine races off the coast of South Africa.

In case they are in fact, doing this, I will say I'm sorry and Linda will say she is sorry. It does not happen often, but when it does, it happens on weekends - and some people in France do not work on weekends. Not even to keep WWW lines open.

La Fête du Football

Last week's offer of free tickets for the Fête du Football on Tuesday, 9. June in Paris was not taken up. I am beginning to think some readers are indifferent to the World Cup. If you are, let me know so that I can ignore it and anything to do with it. For starters, I can cut the following:

Metropole's World Cup Links

Since just after the beginning of the year, a few links to World Cup sites have been a weekly item near the end of the 'Au Bistro' column - sort of in the guise of 'SportsNews.' The whole kabozzle is nearly upon us, so I've moved these links to a page of their own. Doing this puts fans into a kind of a 'links ghetto,' except for one link there to an anti-World Cup Web site.

Continuing Exhibitins and Events:Max Ernst Exhibition
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