Pink Vote Takes Cake in Germany

photo: cafes at sorbonne
These cafés near the Sorbonne are full - with students?

Paris Votes for Auto Show

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 28. September 1998:- If things are like they used to be - but what is in today's Germany? - there should be a lot of happy hangovers after last night's election victory parties for the Social Democrats and for their possible 'Green' or 'Red' partners.

Although it was the first time since the war that a sitting Chancellor had been voted out, Helmut Kohl has had his good four terms - 16 long, conservative years; more than any other.

With last night's victory, leftist governments now control all but two western European nations. The two exceptions are Ireland and Spain; both countries with strong Social Democratic movements. Only three years ago, there was a conservative balance of power in Europe.

Herr Kohl seems to have seriously misjudged the voters. Although acknowledged as the 'father of reunification,' notphoto: no cars, quai conti all the 'new' Germans have benefitted from union with one of the world's economic powerhouses. Unemployment in the eastern part of the country remains high.

On the quai de Conti; no cars on account of red traffic lights.

Germans embrace stability over change and Chancellor Kohl was seen as a synonym for the status quo - even though leading the country through its greatest changes since the war.

Perhaps it was this contradiction that induced voters to turn to the SPD's first successful candidate in 16 years, Gerhard Schröder.

Herr Schröder has been playing the role of Germany's Mr. Dynamic. As the son of a cleaning lady, he has climbed over all normal obstacles to the top, picking up a liking for big cigars on the way. For political ideology, he is supposed to be closer to Britain's Tony Blair than France's Lionel Jospin.

Regardless of the final form of his coalition government - Rose-Green or Rose-Red or Rose-Red-Green - Gerhard Schröder will be an united Germany's Chancellor in the new capitol in Berlin, in the new Europe, in time for the new millennium just about to begin.

World Automobile Expo - Mondial de l'Automobile

The 100th anniversary of cars, or of this exhibition, starts next Thursday, 1. October at Paris-Expo. As you will see in this week's 'Au Bistro' column, this carphoto: 22 sept- empty rivoli show started yesterday, with a big parade on the Champs-Elysées, in the pouring rain.

The rue de Rivoli on Tuesday, 22. September. Unrestricted access.

Paris gets this prestige show every other year. When I looked up the press contact telephone number from my 1996 file, the numbers I found were assigned to somebody else. All the same, you can expect a report about this salon in next week's Metropole.

Yesterday I checked the URL of the organizer's Web site and found that it is still 'under construction.' This may be changed by now. An unofficial and commercial site was in operation, if you want to try it.

100th Mondial de l'Automobile
Paris-Expo at the Porte de Versailles
From Thursday, 1. October to Sunday, 11. October.
Open daily from 10:00 to 22:00 for halls 1, 2/2, 3, 5, 6 and 8. Hours are 10:00 to 20:00 for halls 2/1, 4 and 7/1. Trucks and their accessories - with the same dates and hours - are found in halls 7/2 and 7/3.
In addition to hostesses available for translations, there are parks for kids in three levels, from babies up to 12 years, and these are open until 19:00 daily.
Access: by métro: station porte de Versailles on line 12 and station place Balard on line 8. Buses serving Paris-Expo are the 39, 49, 80 and PC. The usual Paris-Expo parking is available, but I wouldn't count on it.

De-Toxed Intox and Feelthy French Pictures

Last Friday's Libération Multimedia section had a big feature about French Web sites, under the heading of 'Les Petits Canards du Web.' Some of these I've heard of and even looked at occasionally. As Lazuly says, "It is indifference that kills," so here they are. Try them out.

The word for 'disinformation' in France is 'Intox' and Lazuly blazes away at this, in his 'Chroniques du Menteur,' which he calls a 'daily, issued by chance.' He has a free email version of this and it comes here nearly every day, regardless of chance.

Most of these sites have been around for a while so they have more contents than I can wrap up here. I may be wrong, but only the 'Guillermito Zone' has any English text; if you want its more extensive VO - French - version just cut "indexang.html" out of your browser's URL line and hit 'return.'

'French' cartoons are not considered 'feelthy pictures' here and a lot of original and topical ones are featured on Erwan Cario's 'L'Ornitho,' which also has a lot of commentary. If you think 'French Feelth' may be too much for your sensibilities, give this one a miss.

Virgile Jouanneau's subhead for 'Les Ours' is, loosely translated as a 'Webzine to Bug the FN.' One of the most well-known sites is Arno's 'Le Scarabée.' It runs off a Swiss server as well as one in France. One or the other guarantees continued operation, in case of exile, if necessary.

While Lazuly's site is a bit asture for graphics, all of the others have plenty of stuff worth a look. They have few annoying techno-tricks and they all load fairly quickly. Finally, all of them have 'links' - to get you in as deep as you want to go.

Opinion from The Tocqueville Connection:

This week I skipped the news section of 'The Tocqueville Connection' to have a look at its Op-Ed page. Remember that this online weekly looks at events in the United States through French eyes, an activity which has being going on since the time of Alexis de Tocqueville. In the light of recent events, it is natural to compare the political systems of the two countries, and this is done by Bertrand du Marais.

Look It Up

I am not trying to get out of looking up phone numbers for people, but frankly, my phone books are out of date. I only get them by accident anyhow, because I don't live in Paris. And if I get them in the city, they are too heavy to carry home.

Some people put the phone directory for France online too. A fairly new service is called 'Annu.' I tried a couple of names on it and got the correct numbers.

Zoom It Up: Paris in 350,000 Photos

Three students began photographing Paris with the first digital cameras available in 1994. These photos, one every 20 metres, one of everything - can be seen at France Telecom's telephone directory Web site, called ' PagesZoom.

From Luxembourg to Web: Média Senat

If you can't be in Paris to visit the French Senate's exhibition called 'Média Senat' you can at least pay abrochure: escapade a velo visit to the Senat's Web site and perhaps leave your calling card. If you have little interest in history or politics, the hostesses are supposed to be worth a look, but these are not on the Web site.

Exhibition Média Senat
Musée du Luxembourg, 19. rue de Vaugiraud, Paris 6. Until Sunday, 18. October. Closed Mondays. No entry charge. Info. Tel.: 01 42 34 21 21.

Coming Soon: 'Lire en Fête'

This is sort of a French lanuage 'Lit-Online' party, set to appear on your browser starting Friday, 16. October and lasting until Sunday, 18. October. The Ministry of Culture and the online 'Lit-Zine,' Pagina are organizing this affair, which - besides literature and poetry - links all the French and Francophone Web sites taking part in 'Lire en Fête.' Long-time readers will probably remember that Pagina has been featured on Metropole's Links page since the year dot. The Fête is just another good reason to give it a hit.

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