Where the Money Is

photo: cafe la corona

Deserted terrace; gray day by the Seine.

This Magazine Is Not a Publication

Paris:- Monday, 8. February 1999:- This week the idea popped into my head that I should try to find the euro symbol for my computer, because we are now six weeks into 'Euroland.'

I say 'popped' because it wasn't on my mind until I stepped off the Pont des Arts on the Latin Quarter side, and noticed the Monnaie de Paris, right there on the Quai de Conti. I figured if they are making it - paper cash Euros and coins - they should have the symbol for it too. (Read 'The Secret 'Euro' Bug' in this issue for the answer.)

Basically, the 'Monnaie' is the French mint. While Willy Sutton is supposed to have said he robbed banks 'because that's where the money is,' this is seldom true today. If you want a bundle of it from your bank, you probably have to make a date with them.

Not so at the 'Monnaie.' The French mint not only has money in its museum and will show you how it isphoto: quai grands augustins made in its ateliers, but if you want a really quick tour you just go around the corner off the Quai de Conti, to the 'Monnaie's' boutique. There, you can not only look at it, you can buy some too.

Just a bit further along from the mint, the Quai des Grands Augustins.

The mint puts out all sorts of coins besides money, and as souvenirs a lot of these are not expensive at all. There are also coins for collectors; some of these being gold - guaranteed! - can be pricey too. All in all, the Monnaie de Paris has a lot to see, a bit of history, some guided visits and special programs for children, and some really well-made hard-coin souvenirs to take away. Willy Sutton would have liked it a lot.

Monnaie de Paris - Musée and Ateliers, 11. Quai de Conti, Paris 6. Museum open from Tuesday to Friday from 11:00 to 17:30; Saturdays and Sundays, from 12:00 to 17:30. Atelier: individual visits possible on Wednesdays and Fridays at 14:15. Info. Tel.: 01 40 46 55 35. Boutique, 2. Rue Guénégaud, Paris 6. Métro: Saint-Michel. Boutique open from Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 17:45; on Saturdays from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 17:30. Info. Tel.: 01 40 46 58 58.

Tocqueville This Week

This week's 'The Tocqueville Connection' has its usual number of interesting articles and features. There are two I will read as soon as I have time: one is the 'OECD Issues Stern Warning' - which is a warning to France, to 'Shape Up!' The other is a bit of a round-up about jazz in France; its history, Paris' history; which is currently on view as a travelling exhibition in the United States.

French 'Net Pub Takes Punch On the Nose

A couple of guys in Brittany are running a internet magazine called 'Echos' along with a host service for local businesses and personal Web pages. The law discovered that a couple of the mini-sites were dirty, so the guys got busted for hustling kiddie porn. We've seen this in France before; and my own access ISP took a fall on the same thing a couple of years ago.

But for 'Cyberbrain,' as the guys call their garage, there is a 'Catch-22' to it. They've been charged as if they are periodical publishers. Last December they wrote to Madame la Ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, to ask how to become a legal publication, as defined by the law in France.

One act which is necessary, is to deposit a printed copy of the publication - the 'dépôt légal - atphoto: the sandwich stairs the Imprimerie Nationale. At the moment, there is no legal way to register a Web-based publication with a 'dépôt legal.' Thus, no Web publication based in France is a publication, as defined by law.

Our guys in Brittany did get an answer from the Prime Minister's office. It said, in effect, that there are no laws defining electronic publications in France - therefore they do not exist. Logically, if they do not exist, then the fellows putting out the 'Echo du Village' are not producing a publication, and cannot, therefore, be distributing kiddie porn.

Meanwhile, the government is supposed to be wrestling with France Telecom to get it to lower its rates so French Websurfers can spend more time reading online French publications - even though they don't exist. 'Logic' is France is about as stiff as a hot noodle.

Marine Things from the Alps

Aquanaute, based in Grenoble, is a collection of sites, all dedicated to telling you about marine life, both on the surface and underwater. My quick glance detected no harmful effects to my browser, so give this one a hit if you like seawater a lot.

Amazon Gets Euro Elephant Competition

Last Monday, European media giant, Bertelsmann, launched 'Books-On-Line' - or BOL for short - in France and Germany without a great deal of fanfare but with a great deal of hard cash behind the effort.

The German-based Bertelsmann is teamed with Havas in France, but on its own has huge operations worldwide, with about a third of its business in the US and a third in Germany. Bertelsmann is also associated with Random House and Barnes & Noble, as well as having a large stake in AOL.

It will be interesting to see if Bertelsmann's expertise with content production and book clubs can be parlayed into a number-one position in e-sales of content. My guess: 'service' to online customers will win and Amazon has a big headstart here.

Milia's 6th Edition - Repeat

From Tuesday, 9. February until Friday, 12. February, this year's edition of the Milia will unrollphoto: retromobile 99 - mathis badge 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!

In case you are inclined to forget, Retromobile starts this coming Friday. Badge photo: courtesy Marcus Brinker©

Last Chance to Overload the 'Net With Valentines

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 French "Jevousaime." As my source says, "Non romantiques s'abstenir!"

Paris' 'LiveCam' Shows Changeable Weather

Hitting this site will give you some views of a sky of some sort over Paris these days from TF1-TV's 'LiveCam' if you want to see what typical 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. The forecast for late today: snow!

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 3.06 - 9. February 1998 - This issue featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'Welcome to Dreamland Paris' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'There Are a Large Number of French in France.' The issue had two features; entitled 'Retromobile: Dreams on Wheels' and 'True Dreams In Montmartre.' A planned new feature, 'Photo Gallery' had a small echo; thereby not becoming regular. There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'The 2CV - for Some a Collector's Item.' If you look at the 'recent issues' page for 1998 you will see that 'Item' is spelt 'Ttem;' which is a gremlin to fix someday.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 327 gray and cool days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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