Can It Be Good If It's Free?

photo: cafe terrace on rue mont cenis
Where rue Mont Cenis runs into the place
du Tertre, near high noon.

The World Cup - Success or Flop?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 29. June 1998:- You may get the impression from the photos in this issue that I spent a lot of time watching football matches at the place de Stalingrad - at the Rotonde de la Villette to be exact - but this is not so.

Big screens have been set up around the city and one of the favorite locations is supposed to be the place in front of the Hôtel de Ville. But I have been around there so much lately, I decided to take a look at how it looks in other arrondissements - such as the 19th.

This Rotonde at Villette thing - some Corn Palace I suppose - is on a pizza-shaped bit of land, which sits on the Canal Saint-Martin and points to the Villette basin. There are two arms, along the quais of the Seine and the Loire, where there are elevated walkways covered with trees. The vast area between them is an expanse of dirt. The actual canal part is on the east, or Loire, side.

Viewers can either range themselves under the trees, as you can see in the photos, or they can sit out in the open, on the ledge of one of the canal channels. The screen has its back to the Rotondephoto: screen at pl stalingrad and the sun, so it is visible, but to watch it - from the 'desert' - you face the sun.

There were a few kids waiting in the shade for the game to start.

Last Wednesday, the French team was playing in Lyon and the game started at 16:00, right when this place at Stalingrad was getting all its sun, full in the face.

No awnings against rain or sun were provided and there were no chairs. As a 'public place,' there was one or two of the automatic toilets somewhere nearby - and others in cafés, further away.

There was a fair-sized police presence, and this seemed to be about the total of the city's contribution to free World Cup football viewing, near where the 10th, 18th and 19th arrondissements meet.

No big sponsor had stepped forward to offer stands to sit on or any sort of refreshments. Some fans brought their own drinks, and some clochards had their living-outside equipment for comfort.

It reminded me of boules. You find some dirt place and you bring three metal balls, and if anybody else shows up you can have a game. You don't really need much. You could hardly need less.

But in Paris, in this corner where there are maybe 300,000 inhabitants nearby, on a school-free Wednesday afternoon with good weather - my impression was that free World Cup football had drawn a very meager crowd - maybe less than for a good automobile fender-bender.

Nobody is collecting tickets at these free broadcasts so nobody is counting heads, and I might have been at Stalingrad at the wrong time - but I wonder if - except for some hard-core fans - this whole big razzle of World-class football in Paris, is a big flop.

Hard News from The Tocqueville Connection

This week's 'The Tocqueville Connection' has a report about France ending its nuclear-test era. This online magazine, with its in-depth and somewhat insider news and views, goes online on Friday mornings.

This can be a shame, because this week they missed the Sunday TV-news report about the French navy firing up the reactors on its brand-new 'world-class' atomic aircraft carrier. With one of these babies, France becomes number two in the worldwide atomic aircraft carrier race, right behind the United States, which is the leader. I think the report said there is no number three. At 16 billion francs a pop, I guess not.

Take a Good Look at ShareLook

A month ago a fellow named Damien called me up to suggest I take a look at a relatively new search service called 'Sharelook.' This search outfit started in Germany in August of 1996, and Austria was added in early 1997. Switzerland followed in June of last year, shortly after the introduction of the Sharelook 'cities' sites.

The French version has been online since the beginning of this year and now it is really starting to roll. What I like about it, in addition to its Paris selection, is Sharelook's direct connections to other cities, such as Berlin, Bochum, Düsseldorf, Köln, Wien and Zürich. Notice that Bochum is included. This can only mean that München and Bremen must be in sad decline.

Take a look at Sharelook and find out.

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 razzle-matazzle is now upon us, so I've moved these links to a page of their own. Doing this puts footfans into a kind of a 'links ghetto,' except for one link there to an anti-World Cup Web site.

Exhibitions and Events in Versailles

These are so copious - at least throughout July - that you should check the Web site mentioned in this issue's featuregraphic: guides to versailles about the town. If in Versailles, pay a visit to the tourist bureau.

In addition to the town of Versailles, there is this 'stately home' and its 'stately park.'

The covered part of the Notre-Dame market is open daily, but the stalls in its centre are only in operation on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The 'outdoor market' in the same place is on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday afternoons. Even if you can't remember this, you'll probably hit it right by accident.

Paris' Centre de la Mer

While Lisbon has its World's Fair with a ocean theme, Paris has its own Institut Océanographique, in spite of being some way from the nearest sea.

The 'Centre de la Mer,' as it is alsographic: centre de la mer called, currently has a exhibition lasting until 6. September. The event being marked is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Albert 1st of Monaco, who founded the institution; based on 28 scientific cruises undertaken between 1885 and 1914.

Also, if you get too hot in Paris and haven't got time to go to the coast, a visit to this institute will remind you of the sea, with its displays and aquariums.

Centre de la Mer - Institut Océanographique
195. rue Saint-Jacques, Paris 5. Open Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 12:30 and from 13:15 to 17:30. Open weekends from 10:00 to 17:30. Info. Tel.: 01 44 32 10 90.

L'Art Joue Au Foot

Like some other activities surrounding the World Cup in Paris, this little exhibition is getting a late start. If I understand this correctly, eight artists were asked to provide models or sketches for World Cup t-shirts - and this exhibition shows their proposals. According to the information I have, these are highly diverse, but it is a free show and it is in the Marais.

At the Hôtel d'Albret, 31. rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris 4. From Thursday, 1. July until Wednesday, 21. July. Open weekdays from 10:00 to 18:00. Info. Tel.: 01 42 76 67 00.

Les Grands Boulevards du Monde de Paris

I have an undated press release here which says there is a commercial 'animation' on the Grands Boulevards, between Madeleine and the place de la République. There is no need to mention the names of the heavy-duty sponsors as they are well-known to one and all; but I'd like to point out that there are supposed to be two 'monumental' arches - possibly at each end.

A very large steel company has also put up some sort of recycling plant for the cola cans of a well-known soft-drink manufacturer; both of whom are sponsors. This should add a neat touch of industrial class to the Grands Boulevards.

Exhibitions and Events, Which Last Nearly Forever, But Not For Much Longer:

Max Ernst Exhibition

Although well-known as a painter, Max Ernst was also a periodic sculptor. He seemed to do it while off on trips - to visit his pals Giacometti and Paul Eluard, or further off, on Long Island or in Arizona. The Centre Georges Pompidou is showing 110 pieces and 15 paintings at the centre itself.

Max Ernst, Galerie Sud, Centre Georges Pompidou
Daily from 10:00 to 22:00; closed Tuesdays. Until Monday, 27. July. Entry: 30 francs. This exhibition will move to the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf where it will be on show from 5. September to 28. November.

Beaubourg Moves to Paris' Modern Art Museum

This is an example of being totally renovated and showing your stuff off at the same time. Some 350 of the Centre Georges Pompidou's modern art treasures go on show at Paris' Museum of Modern Art, starting on Thursday, 18. June.

This is a long showing so it will be in three parts, with the third kicking in at the end of this coming October. All of the sub-classifications of modern art will be represented; from the fauves through to the 1981 'Psycho-sites' of Jean Dubuffet.

From Thursday, 18. June until Sunday, 19. September 1999.
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11. avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16. Open from Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:30; weekends from 10:00 to 18:45. Closed Mondays. Entry: 30 francs; catalogue of 80 pages, 49 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 53 67 40 00.

21st Foire Saint-Germain

Although this is only the 21st modern version of a 'Foire' which first took place 822 years ago, you shouldn't think there is a lot of moss growing on it.

The Foire is centered on the place Saint-Suplice, but actually takes place in six locations, including the Odéon theatre. Basically there will be exhibitions, concerts, and some theatre and dance, plus street animations.

Within the framework of the whole Foire, there will also be 'marchés - four in all. Coming up there will be the 'Journées de la Céramique,' which last from 3. to 5. July.

The Foire Saint-Germain - until Sunday, 5. July. Jointly sponsored by the Mairie of the 6th arrondissement and the Mairie de Paris. Info. Tel.: 01 43 29 61 04.

Exhibition: 'La Gloire d'Alexandrie'

Apparently, this exhibition is supposed to interest children or a certain age. It has a lot of underwater items in it. 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.

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.

Delacroix: 'Le Trait Romantique'

An exhibition of about 250 drawings, watercolors and engravings, by Delacroix.

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. 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.

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

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 2.26 - 30. June 1997 - This issue featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'Official Summer in Paris Starts' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Ready, Set, Go - Let's Scramble Out of Town.' The articles in the issue were 'World's First Modern Art Factory on Montmartre' and 'Touring the Latin Quarter with Thirza Vallois.' Robert Lovejoy sent an eMail about the Lovejoy's Best 25th Wedding Anniversary. There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was called 'Paris - Paname - 1997'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 551 short days left to go.

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