Paris Is Wet

photo: resto aux petits oignons
Away from flash, a modest neighborhood bistro.

Search for 'X' Finds the Mayor!

Paris:- Sunday, 1. November 1998:- The number one news of the week is the November weather which has been pouring on Paris and battering the rest of northern France for the last couple of weeks of October.

Frankly, I do not recall even November weather being so relentlessly wet. Tomorrow's forecast calls for it to get significantly colder as well.

There has been some flooding in eastern France and some people have had to leave their homes. In contrast, the weather in the south has been generally good.

Just to prove the point, after passing the bistro above, the photos of what came later for weather in Paris last Wednesday, are below.

The Haunted Church Hoax

In the last edition of Metropole there was a report here about a haunted church in the small village of Delain in the valley of the Saône. The Archbishop of Besançon had lent his exorcist to the case - which left him baffled - and then the police were called in.

Last week, the gendarmes asked the mayor of the village a lot of questions, several times. At one session, the mayor was flanked by two municipal councilors and a municipal employee, but police allowed them to leave while they continued to question the mayor.

According to a later report, at the end of Wednesday's interrogation, the mayor confessed to be the 'nasty little devil who haunted the village church.' The mayor's lawyer said that he was hospitalized in an appropriate establishment the same evening, following the advice of his physician.

Delain's inhabitants are more than a little vexed, saying that there are 'some things you don't joke about.' The deputy-mayor and the village secretary are carrying on with sad hearts. Even though this is a true story, it also means that Halloween is over for another year.

Loto Goes Cyber, Player Goes Into Orbit

The people who run the Loto in France have dreamed up a new way to make players millionaires fast or make them poor slowly, but steadily.

In a test area near Bordeaux, the Loto is selling a telephone-card-like 'Loto-Card' which costs a minimum of 100 francs. With it, the player gets a 'PIN' number. Then, instead of getting the tabac people to run the Loto machine, you do it yourself.

One player's first surprise was not to getphoto: rain rue st dominique any ticket in return - which caused him to have to note the date of the drawing and the numbers he'd played. On top of this, he had opted for the 'Flash' system, which randomly picks sets of six numbers out of 49.

So he had to consult the Minitel to find out how he did. This is how he found out the computer had decided to play the number 44 twice for him, out of six numbers, for both draws on both Wednesday and Saturday. His chance was nil, in other words.

Now, this is all a test phase for the 'card' system. The 'Flash' system has been around a long time. The Loto proposed to reimburse the player for the Saturday draw, and asked for their card back.

But what the player wants to know first is, if the Loto's computers can give him a double '44,' how is he to know whether or not all the other numbers randomly assigned by the 'Flash' system, might be 'bugged' a bit to make him an eternal loser.

Le Parisien's editors helpfully note that a 'bug' is a program error, for readers unfamiliar with the word.

The Loto's counter-offer was to reimburse the amount played for Saturday, plus throw in a three-number 'win' worth 53 francs. The player went to the fraud squad instead and they are looking into it, and so is a lawyer for a consumer association.

Meanwhile the player has a magnifying glass and is reading the Loto's long list of rules, which are in very tiny print.

Eternal Resting Place in France - Virtually

How does that old saying go - 'See Venice and die?' It sounds sinister to me even if most people think spending all their time in Italy after they're dead, is nearly ideal.

To be dead in France - or Monaco! - may only rate second place after Venice or Naples, but all the same an undertaker in Monte Carlo has put a virtual cemetery on the Web.

Yes! Now you, for only 500 francs a year, can maintain your loved one's memory in cyberspace, which is neither here nor there, but everywhere all at once. That is, so long as you have access to the Internet.

This might be a good deal. With access, youphoto: rain de st germain can visit anytime of the day or night, as well as decorate the site with virtual flowers in addition to the most elaborate virtual tombstone you can afford - which could add up to an immense financial relief to the estate. Family members, close and distant relatives, could also save a lot of time and money while making virtual visits to pay their respects too.

Another aspect of it is, you can buy your virtual 'plot' in advance, and design it yourself - not forgetting to leave your own self-edited biography as a public record of your good deeds. The Internet is good for more things than you imagined, isn't it?

Champagne Shortage Rumor Is a Base Canard

I haven't heard this rumor myself, but it is a sign that people are really serious about getting ready for the evening of 31. December 1999 or 31. December 2000, or probably both dates.

The spokesmen for the Champagne moguls showed up in Paris last week to deny the rumors of a shortage of Champagne for 2000. Putting out an estimated 320 million bottles is supposed to be 'no problem.' This is 20 million bottles more than they've got lined up to sell this year.

And besides, there is a bit of Champagne in the cellars - 900 million bottles! But remember, keeping these in stock is not cheap.

No shortage then, but the price - the price for bottom-level Champagne has climbed from its longtime price of about 50 francs retail, to 70 francs. Nevertheless, the big houses are promising future rises of no more than four to six percent, over this year's prices.

Now that everybody is stirred up by 'rumors,' the advice is to buy your Champagne early, just to be doubly sure - sure of having some and pretty sure about the price.

'Les Riches' At the Flea Market

Over the past while, there have been little mentions in the press about all the famous and beautiful people who have been passing their time out at the Marché aux Puces at Saint-Ouen. The flea market is 'in.'

As these things go in Paris, the 'big hats' do not go out there in block-long limos and create circuses of themselves. Shopping for stuff, even used, is fun, even for people who can hire other people to do it for them.

photo: rain behind procopeBut the flea market is very popular and in a year draws about 11 million visitors, which is a bit more than the Tour Eiffel. With this sort of a crowd, and no métro sound-system to warn about pickpockets, there is a bit of urban insecurity.

Some time ago, after a Belgian dealer was mugged, the other dealers applied for 283 gun permits. Instead of granting them, the security authorities decided to assign some undercover dicks to the scene - seven in all. This may be upped to nine before this year's end.

Apparently it is thought that uniformed policemen will disturb the browsers and buyers; and a few plainclothes officers will do. Well, now you know - if you don't see any cops at the Puces, they are really there, somewhere.

The BnF at Tolbiac May Still be On Strike

Despite combing through the papers, the last mention of the strike by BnF employees I can find dates to last Wednesday. Apparently talks are now centered around classic working-condition issues.

One item demanded is a weekly day off, or rather, one day a week when the BnF is closed entirely. Many state museums close on Tuesdays, and Paris' own establishments such as museums and libraries, are often closed on Mondays.

For more information, try the Web site of the Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand or the alternate information which may be currently available about the strike.

Winter Sports News

All of this 'championship' is too early for me, so I am declaring football 'not a winter sport,' and will use this space instead to not report on real winter sports.

Since these do not seem to have gotten underway yet, I direct you to the winter sports Web site, which is sponsored by Miko ice cream. The site contains a lot of useful information in French and English about weather, ice cream, snow, equipment, ice cream, accommodations, resorts and facilities as well as ice cream; all of which are available in France's more vertical areas.

As far as this type of 'sport' is concerned, I have always preferred getting no closer to cold and snow than a map showing the whereabouts of northern Canada. Luckily I can get some tropical fruit drink, complete with warm-looking vacationing polar bears eating ice cream on the label, right across the street. This is not a paid announcement.

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini