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, Montparnasse 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.

The transport of bikes is free on SNCF trains in the Ile-de-France and bikes are accepted seven days a week, except at rush hours. These are 6:30 to 9:00 from the suburbs to Paris and 16:30 to 19:00 from Paris outwards.

Bikes are accepted on RER trains, but with restrictions about getting off and on within Paris. For the RER line 'D' the only restricted station is Châtelet- les-Halles. At suburban stations, bike parking has been improved and is as close as possible to the stations.

The SNCF also has a second guide for bike rentals, for the areas of Aquitaine, Centre, Pays de Loire and Poitou-Charentes.

More Sensory Excitement

Partly due to a somewhat unattractive poster, but also due to the late posting of it, a major show devoted to various forms of eye, mouth, ear, nose and feel-candy called 'Théâtres des Sens' has already been open for two months, but is probably still worth a visit.

This show is running under the umbrella of the Comité Colbert, which is the trade association of the French luxo industry. If you are an anti-materialist and like sack-cloth, you will not appreciate the stuff on show here.

If on the other hand, you think the French are pretty good at making fancy stuff for high prices, and you are either a dreamer or rich or both, then this is probably a real treat of an exhibition. Make a note of it, in case there are any rainy days to come.

Les Quatre Théâtres des Sens
Palais de la Découverte, avenue Franklin-Roosevelt, Paris 8. Métro: Franklin-Roosevelt. Open from Tuesday to Saturdays, from 9:30 to 18:00; on Sundays from 10:00 to 19:00. Closed also on 2. and 15. August. This show runs until 3. January 1999. Info. Tel.: 01 40 74 89 00.

Exhibitions and Events in Versailles

These are so copious - at least throughout July - that you should check the Web site if you think you will be interested in getting tickets to various spectacles in advance. If in Versailles, pay a visit to the tourist bureau.

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 also 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.

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.

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

Absolutely Very-Last Chance: 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 2.30 - 28. July 1997 - This issue featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'Thoughts From Off-Centre' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Tapie Freed! and Tour de France Finish.' The article in the issue was 'The Tuileries - The Next Best Thing to a Beach in Paris.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was called 'Beach Landing .'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to
31. December 1999:

Only 523 short days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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