...Continued from page 1

Compared to Mercier, what I do is like a walk to the corner grocery shop and back. Then, consider that Mercier did this - stroll - for the years leading up to the Revolution. He knows whether Parisians were eating cakes, bread or nothing. His 'Tableau de Paris' made him famous at the time. He survived Robespierre, and went on the write a science-fiction novel, set in the year 2,440.

Hear this, Paris history buffs! Paris' history museum, the Musée Carnavalet, is going to be showing a selection of Mercier's works - reduced to 8,000 pages - along with a whole assembly of paintings, household objects and even pots and bones dug up by the Vieux Paris commission.

Daily life in Paris has not been the centre of historian's attention in the past. This show should do much to upset this imbalance - and should do much to show us Paris as it was, in the streets of the 18th century.

Mercier himself, has long been considered either historian nor literary genius - but as a 'journalist' he was the first to turn the usual catalogue nature of a guide, into a real story. He said he walked at lot to do the 'Tableau de Paris,' so he allowed himself to say he did it with his legs.'

This exhibition will present a mine of little-known material about Paris and I think I, and others too, will be digging in it for some time to come. But not for 30 years.

At the Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris - from Thursday, 18. March until Sunday, 20. June. 23. Rue de Sévigné, Paris 3. Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:40. Entry: 35 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 42 72 21 13.

Tocqueville This Week

This week's 'The Tocqueville Connection' has its customary number of interesting articles and features, I assume. I didn't get a chance to look; I suggest you do and decide what you want to read yourself.

Books In French - Give BOL a Tryout

Some readers write to me to ask general questions such as 'What are the French really like?' This requires, ofphoto: hockney at beaubourg course, at least a book-length answer; if not a whole library of books. In fact, writing about 'who the French are' is a minor industry here, and if you are really concerned you too should be reading it in French.

A couple of weeks ago, European media giant, Bertelsmann, launched 'Books-On-Line' - or BOL for short - in France and Germany, with a great deal good intentions behind the effort.

Beaubourg is partly open and David Hockney is in it now.

Metropole's readers always get replies, even if I can't supply a book-length answer in an email. If you have one of these short questions and you really want the long answer, then give BOL's online bookshop a try. You can expect that they will be offering the books you seek.

Paris' 'LiveCam' Shows Typical Weather

Lots of Metropole readers are giving this site a hit because it will give you a current view of the sky over Paris. This comes from TF1-TV's 'LiveCam.' If you want to see what typical winter weather looks like, now you will see it - for what it's worth to see leaden, gray skies one minutes or bright, blinding sunlight the next - unless it happens to be nighttime here, which it usually is between about 16:30 and 07:30 GMT. If you are in our modest combo 'Euro'-and-'continental' CET zone, nighttime is between about 17:30 and 08:30.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 3.09 - 2. March 1998 - This issue featured thecolumns - Café Metropole - 'The Endless Search for the 'X-Generation'' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Beware of Fake Taxis and Good Money.' The issue had two features; entitled 'Who Am I? Who Are We? Find Out in Paris' and 'East of Bastille, Work and Play.' Photos were featured in 'Photos: February Scenes in Paris.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Eat the Exhibits.'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 306 days of thaw left to go.

Regards, Ric
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