'E-Biz' Comes to Metropole

photo: le rocher st lazare
A downtown Saint-Lazare café, on a dim day.

Real Plugs For Real People

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 14. December 1998:- Last week was a hectic one for me and for this reason I am skipping my usual so-called philosophical scribblings today.

Super Giant Jumbo Free Plug(s)

As regular readers know well, Metropole Paris has nothing to sell but dreams, and these are free. Many of the photos and images in the magazine contain commercial information, but are reproduced as representations of what anybody sees in Paris during any given week. These posters and brochures are illustrations - not paid advertising.

Metropole itself has nothing but Paris to sell; correction: give away. However, this has not yet been packaged in a form suitable for delivery. Next year this may change. The first 'Metropole' product I am thinking of is a 'Euro' key-chain with a built-in Euro-exchange calculator - an absolute must for every un-mathematical visitor!

Since it is the season and you may be looking around for ideas too, this week's Super Giant Jumbo shameless plug is for the writers and publishers who have placed their wares on Linda Thalman's WFI server, for online sales.

For one reason or another, I routinely offer 'shameless plugs' to all sorts of commercial efforts - after all, if nothing were 'for sale' it would be nighttime on earth - so I am more than happy to now boost some good people I've actually met.

The people below are real and live in or near Paris, have done their research here - so whatphoto: brasserie ballard they're offering are 'Paris' products - some of which are possibly only available via online purchase. Despite what all the gloom merchants may say, ordering goods online is no more risky than having hot pizza delivered to your door.

The Barasserie Ballard; right on the rue Saint-Lazare.

Since I am fond of author Thirza Vallois, the first plug is for her excellent 'Around & About Paris' series of in-depth books about Paris.

While I don't know the artist Alain Kleinmann, he also offers several of his books and 'An Artist' is his latest, I think.

Last summer I blew a chance to meet Rachel Kaplan at a garden party, because nobody thought to introduce us. Her Web site is called 'French Links' and on it you can find her 'Little-Known Museums In and Around Paris' and 'A La Découverte des Plus Belles Routes Ile-de-France.' She also has written books about little-known museums in London and Berlin.

Suzanne Forster's 'Insider's Guide to Paris Hotels Under $100 a Night' might be very handy, especially if I ever get around to offering the 'Metropole Paris Euro-Converter' and keychain. In the meantime, her prediction that this 'spellbindingly rich cultural center needn't clean out your savings account' may be true.

'Jeanne Feldman's Best Buys in Paris' is subtitled 'A Shopping Guide to Discounts and Bargains in the City of Light.' What is hinted at sometimes in Metropole, is set out in full in this guide about how to shop and get away with it with some money to spare for necessities, such as food and drinks.

The 'Leeds Good Value Guide to Paris Restaurants' by Adrian Leeds - is not only about 'good value,' but also about finding it in tidy surroundings. Once, while having lunch with Adrian, she was so busy making notes about the tablecloths and curtains, that her meal got cold. Mine was fine through.

'The Best Biking Guide to Paris' is a brand-new guide by Rose Burke. Rose has been writing about Paris since she arrived here with her husband in 1994 and began to look for a parking place. Last year when I met her she said they'd given it up and gotten bikes instead; so this book is not based on theory.

Rose has also included nine 'best bike rides around Paris,' descriptions of routes in Paris and around the Ile-de-France with kilometre-by-kilometre directions to two-wheel dream spots such as Versailles, Auvers-sur-Oise and Giverny. Quote Rose: "Paris is kinder to cyclists than most: geographically, meteorologically and psychologically."

Finally, but by no means last, Editions Ellébore Paris has books and videos in French, and you can check out the titles in their catalogue. Many of the titles are for books about better living and improving your lifestyle. You may think living in France automatically takes care of this, but you can never know enough.

And the last:- the above plugs concern books, as in 'books;' but also include what Linda Thalman calls 'e-books.' You put your plastic number into the order form and the 'book' comes to you via the Internet. This way, you get what you've ordered quickly. It's up to you to print it or not. See each of the Web sites mentioned above for details.

In Tocqueville This Week:

The Tocqueville Connection's main story is about the cat-fight going on within the right-wing Front National party, and it may containphoto: cafe emile a slightly different view from my own. I haven't had time to read their's and I'm not sure I'll have had time to write mine.

The café Emile is on a side street, not far from the Gare Saint-Lazare.

More interesting, is Tocqueville's explanation of the difficulties encountered by French producers of 'cultural' CD-ROMs, who would like to make some profits from their expensive productions by finding markets in the United States. Many of these have quite a bit more to them than action games, although one is a 'whodunit' set in Versailles in the time of Louis XIV - a reconstructed Versailles impossible to see today; but historically authentic.

In describing France's latest and 349th 'New Wave' of film makers, Tocque ville's Jacques Régniez writes that in the movie the 'Dieu Seul Me Voit,' the characters are 36 but act like teenagers. The is interesting news - I thought characters were being portrayed this way these days because the script-writers had teenage mentalities. But this is not the case; the theory is that nobody is developing into adulthood anymore.

For French Wine Surfing:

Maybe because of France's Internet boycott yesterday, I don't have as many 'interesting and exciting' new URLs as usual. But with all the 'book-plugs' above, a lot are hardly necessary.

France is famous for wine and you may have a local merchant near you. However the biggest wine caves are in France and these have a greater selection for winesphoto: cafe garnier than the formidable one for cheeses. You either know a lot about this or next to nothing; but with the aid of the Internet you can find out more - by ordering wine online.

Garnier, also very near Saint-Lazare station.

'La Grappe' is the virtual cellar put up by the Maison Coste, which has a real cave full of real wines, spirits and Champagnes here. Their 'virtual cave' is not finished yet, but there is a list of what they have to offer, as well as aid for making a choice. If you have the proper plug-in for your browser, there is supposed to be an audio welcome message too, in French of course.

Le Poste's New 'Annuaire'

I haven't checked this out, but it could be a very useful resource for almost anybody who has or will have anything to do with France. This new 'Annuaire' contains references to four million French businesses, and has a powerful search function, permitting searches by sector, company or individual names. Those included are allowed to update their own listings - perhaps keeping it more up-to-date; out of self-interest.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 2.50 - 15. December 1997 - Thiscount down Eiffel Tower issue featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'Really Not the Weatherman' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Papon Is Confronted With Facts.' The issue had two features: 'The Odd Shopper' and 'How the French Do Noël' by M-R Erickson. Last year's holiday season continued with 'Noël Program II - More Opera, Ballet, Theatre, Concerts and Events.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' pages again and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was subtitled, 'Little Gifts,' which seems to have been a re-run of the previous week's, but wasn't.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 383 twenty-four hour units of time left to go.

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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