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Also, I haven't taken into account possibly and likely local initiatives. Parisians and the French are perfectly capable of putting on their own shows, so I have no doubt there will be a lot more going on than what is 'official.'

Today is the 1st of February. Normally, I would expect people to start thinking about their travel plans to Paris right after Saint-Valentine's Day. I think this year will be different, because some Metropole readers have already locked in their travel plans - to be in Paris on Thursday, 31. December 1999.

If you want to do the same, book early.

Tocqueville This Week

'The Tocqueville Connection' has an unusual story about an unusual American, Varian Fry. He arrived in Marseilles in August of 1940 with $3,000 in cash and the intention of 'exporting' all the people who were being sought by the Nazis under Vichy's infamous Article 19 clause.

After many 'exportations' worthy of several spy thrillers, Fry was expelled from France in September 1941, for 'protecting Jews and anti-Nazis.' He made one return visit to France in 1964, to visit Chagall, Ernst and Picasso. In 1967, he was awarded the 'Legion of Honor' by the French government. He died in the same year, in relative obscurity.

There will be a display of works by the artists he assisted, in Marseilles from 18. March to 30. June; and there will be a two-day colloquium on 19. and 20. March. A similar show of art - some of it very famous - will be held in Aix-en-Provence until 11. April.

One of Metropole's readers is preparing a Web site about Varian Fry, and when I get the details about it you will find them here.

Festival International de la Bande Dessinée

Every year the people who make the comics you read and enjoy gather in the Cognac town of Angoulême at the end of January to celebrate their survival for yet another year. For every 'star' comic-book artist-author there are hundreds of unknown and solitary soulsphoto: in car in versailles who sketch away the nights in garrets, dreaming of the day when they might be honored at this festival.

Every-day Versailles; as seen through a dirty windshield.

The serious side of this fun is the fact that the 'lifetime achievement' awards are not given to anybody under 70; only to those who have passed at least 50 years in those lonesome garrets. This is dedication. This is not a game for those in search of 'overnight success.' Comics are a hard grind.

Not only this, the year I went to Angoulême, I had a hard time finding any Cognac.

Milia's 6th Edition

From Tuesday, 9. February until Friday, 12. February, this year's edition of the Milia will unroll in Cannes. The 'Milia' is to interactive content what the 'Midem' is to music: an international showcase and a trademart. Still, it's the place to see now what you may be buying tomorrow - if you care for multimedia, that is. This year, I believe for the first time, games are featured. This site requires Shockwave, so you too can be - interactive!

Everything You Wanted to Know About Normandy

This site has the subtitle 'Toute la Normandie d'un seul clic!' and this is about what it amounts to - with a simple search-engine look and a list of categories, leading to just about everything Normandy has on the Web. Under 'Tourism' you will find not only the War Memorial at Caen but also the Cidre Museum in Calvados, which is in the centre of the high-proof apple world.

Never Too Early for Valentine

As a confirmed crochet I feel silly writing this but realize that many readers may not share my views of the expansion plans of the greeting card industry. Therefore, since email Valentines destroy no trees, I logically feel I have to support this annual silliness. Here then, is the URL for sending someone a "Je vous aime." As my source says, "Non romantiques s'abstenir!"

Paris' 'LiveCam' Shows Sparkly Weather

Hitting this site will give you some views of a bright sky over Paris these days from TF1-TV's 'LiveCam' if you want to see what atypical winter weather looks like - unless it happens to be nighttime here, which it usually is between about 16:00 and 07:30 GMT. If you are in our modest combo 'Euro'-and-'continental' CET zone, nighttime is between about 17:00 and 08:30.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 3.05 - 2. February 1998 - This issue featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'Readers Respond to 'Help'' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'A New Suspension for the Papon Trial.' The issue had two features; entitled ''Egyptomania!' Rages in Paris' and 'Bob Sends Me to the Pig Restaurant.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'The Game's Tomorrow!' I don't remember the cartoon at all; but that's why this is here - for you to look it up. I do remember 'Bob' and the 'Pig Restaurant.' They seem like more like a lifetime than a year ago.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 334 bright and cold days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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