The Escargot Races

photo: terrace st germain
If terrace weather is only every other day,
this is not one of the inside days.

France Is Nearly 100 Percent On Holiday

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 27. July 1998:- Those of us still left in Paris seem to be a bit shell-shocked. The big party is over; so what are we waiting for?

One good thing for us here is the weather. One day is crummy, one day is so-so, and an occasional day is nearly all sunny, but never so warm that we can be fooled into thinking it's July.

The evening TV-news shows the weather map, and there is the old sun, down there, shining mightily. So what if it is 37 degrees? It sounds just fine and we slash another 'x' through the day on the calendar.

The news isn't that great though. Heat waves in Texas, forest fires in Catalonia, tidal waves in the Pacific. Weather can be ugly.

While the weather in the north of France is about 'normal' it has been extra hot in some places in the interior of the country. The Tour de France kind of ridesphoto: marais historic library around the outskirts of the country and the pictures from it each night show brightly-dressed riders in bright sunshine.

Paris' downtown Marais doesn't look like yours.

As usual, a lot of France is standing by the roadsides to see them go by; and in a lot of places it is a big event that comes slowly, passes quickly and is soon out of sight. But it is an essential part of France in summer - even if it is a bit later than usual this year.

So, while we wait for our 'turn to go,' we can watch the Tour de France each night on TV. If it is just the race, then it is usually a short item. If it is a long item, then it is bad news nobody wants to see or hear.

TV-news is very diligent, but they are over-doing it. We had a lot of good news. All we want now are some pictures of people in sparkling waters wearing few textiles. Even some green mountain valleys full of cows or sheep would be acceptable.

The best thing I watched on TV all week, was a TV-film with an escargot-race as its central theme. These are very exciting.

The good guy's eccentric escargot won, he got the girl and they lived happily ever after on their escargot ranch in the Bourgogne after she got her doctorate for writing a paper about backwards-spiraling escargot shells.

The Tocqueville Connection This Week:

The Tocqueville Connection' says current haute couture is somewhat back to earth, Charles de Gaulle's entente was not so cordiale, and shipwrecked Champagne is still drinkable.

I've been reading about General de Gaulle's activities in 1940 lately, and learning that he was a pretty lively cookie compared to some of the deadheads he worked with - so he had plenty of reasons not to be cordial with some people.

With brief glimpses of the runway shows on TV, couture may be 'back to earth' but I'm not sure about the century its in. And if you are shipwrecked, I'm sure Champagne would be tasty.

Searching For Festivals?

If summer heat sets in like it seems to have done, then nights are really wonderful and even better if you are on the Côte d'Azur and there's a festival event to attend within walking distance.

The guide to festivals in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region - aka PACA - yukk! - is now online. If you intend to be down that way between now and September, give it a look to find out what you can see and hear.

Août au Ciné

If you are less than 25, there are 150 independent cinemas showing movies for the entire month of August, for 25 francs a seat. All you have to do is find out where to get the free 'Carte Août au Ciné' - and you can start by asking for one at the Paris Touristphoto: 4 gay choirs Office on the Champs-Elysées and possibly at Fnac outlets and RATP ticket windows. Info. Tel.: 01 42 78 44 72.

Concert des 3 Continents

Four international choirs with one hundred singers will be putting on an unique concert this coming Thursday, 30. July at 20:00. Tickets: 100 francs each. Featuring the Atlanta Gay Men's Chorus, the Pink Singers from London, the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir and the Mélo'Men, Choeur International Gai de Paris. At the Espace Reuilly, 21. rue Hénard, Paris 12. Métro: Montgallet. Tickets from: Fnac, Virgin, the Paris Tourist Office or at the site. Info. Tel.: 01 45 79 76 77.

SNCF Finds Its Vélos

At long last and back by popular demand, the SNCF has finally found time to print its summer guide to bike rentals for Paris and the Ile-de-France. Although the mini-guide does feature a double-page about Paris' 100 kms of bike lanes and routes, the guide mainly points out the train stations to head for to get out of town.

They are the gares: Nord, de l'Est, de Lyon, Montarnasse and Saint-Lazare. From these points you can head to Trilport andphoto: sncf bikes 98 Lizy-sur-Oureq, Fountainbleau and Moret-sur-Loing, Rambouillet and Versailles, and to the Isle-Adam in the Oise.

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