...Continued from page 1

Last spring, the Ville de Paris tried to suppress the Foire du Trône, or move it elsewhere, and the 'forains' did a lot of incoherent demonstrating. Now, it has been announced, thephoto: champs elysees, 31 july Fête à Neu-Neu has been refused permission to use either of two possible Bois de Boulogne sites.

Jully 31st shot of the Champs-Elysées, for those who can't have enough. Note the 50-50 weather.

The 'forains' do not seem to be well-organized as well as not being in agreement with each other. They suspect their official spokesman of trying to get a permanent license for his own amusement park.

The Tuileries crowd shut down their amplifiers at 20:00 in order to keep on the good side of city hall and the ones out in the forest of Saint-Germain are so far away that they seem to be out of sight.

None of this is earth-shaking news, except that city hall seems to be treating the 'forains' with a certain contempt. Despite the big flashy rides and the loud noise, most of the 'forain' people have pretty marginal livelihoods. Nobody seems to know what public opinion is or if it even has one.

Parking Metres Go On Holiday

Starting today, parking metres in residential areas of Paris will be turned off for the month of August. This will be mainly on streets where there are no shops, bus lines, or heavy traffic.

Largely unaffected will be the right bank arrondissements of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 8th, 9th and 10th. The measure, first tried in 1977, will see 111,000 free spots created out of a total of 145,000.

This means 34,000 will still be liable for parking fees. A yellow sticker on a parking metre means it is on vacation. The 'pervenches' who normally place tickets on cars are mostly on vacation too, and this appears to be the main reason for the measure.

Before you dash off on a wild parking spree, remember that August is also the month when all the roadworks get done and many streets become impassable. Some streets are also closed to motorized traffic to allow pedestrians to walk around like human beings for 30 days.

Special attention should be paid by night drivers as the Périphérique gets its annual overhaul, usually from 21:30 through to 06:00. It won't ever be entirely closed, but the southwest corner looks like it will be closed most often - for eight different periods during the month.

Eye Strain

Paris was flooded with the publicity of World Cup sponsors for the duration of the event and residents were treated to such novelties as the WWII German camouflage paint on the Tunisian bus.

What was a 30-day gag has turned into a nightmare as local bright sparks have begun to apply these ideas to transit vehicles, turning them into ugly, rolling billboards.

Métrobus, the RATP's spacephoto: village roof sales arm, took in an additional 40 million francs during the championships and they seem reluctant to give it up.

One of my neighbors is having a new roof installed. When finished, it will look as old as the rest of the place - on purpose.

The ads are placed on the bus or métro train with a special 'cling-film' that allows passengers to see out of the windows, and leaves no traces when removed from the bodywork.

The process is expensive, with the cost of the material and its application being as much as 140,000 francs for a bus and a half-million for an entire métro train.

More News?

I'm afraid not. But I am tempted by the story of the RATP expanding its bike rental business - planned for October - but for now, I'll just say the RATP is renting two bikes for the price of one during August.

Take care though. Their Métrobus people may have the idea to outfit the riders with yellow jerseys, with the name of some bank on them. Sort of like the 'sandwich' men you used to see about 478 years ago.

The Tour de France: An Online Sports Event

The Tour de France is the world's number one bike race by virtue of being the longest and hardest. This year's edition is the 85th and it started in Dublin. Not quite the same race finishes in Paris tomorrow.

To get an idea of it, check out VéloCity. These are the same people who brought us the Sports Café during the World Cup. It has all the news you want to know, and I suppose, quite a bit you wish you never heard of.

Both VéloCity and the Tour de France's official Web site sell various bicycle-related goods online, and if you feel like getting into the swing of things by doing it in French, then give 'Le Tour' a shot.

Metropole reader Ed Grant may possibly be a bike nut, so I asked him if he had any favorite Tour de France Web sites. He offered the following: Bicycling magazine and the comprehensive site of bike fan, 'kjtar.' This guy has everything except his own name here, and he even has t-shirts for sale and maybe a low-milage - never raced, certainly never rallied! - BMW 2002 tti as well. If you like this kind of '70's car, that is.

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