Tennis Courts At Concorde?

photo: bistro de la place catherine

This is 'Au Bistro' so this is a bistro and not a Salon du Thé.

Mayor Lures Voters with Promises
of Parisian Paradise

Paris:- Sunday, 14. March 1999:- If visitors to Paris could vote in local elections, current mayor Jean Tiberi could probably count on being in office for a long time.

Although Monsieur le Maire is pushing a big rock uphill, he is persisting with his plan for a near-total ban on traffic in the Place de la Concorde. He also wants to make all of the Seine's banks accessible to pedestrians and cut down traffic along the left bank's quais.

The mayor also thinks bicyclists vote a lot so the bike lanes are being pushed further and farther, in a pretty rapid expansion with dozens of extra kilometres being added annually.

Paris' police commissioner, Philippe Massoni has his doubts about what to do with traffic dislodged from Concorde, but is leaning slightly towards one hypothetical plan out of two put forward.

The whole Place de la Concorde is classed as an historical monument so the national ministry of culture wouldn't especially mind seeing the traffic chased out of it.

The mayor wants to see all of his plans under way or complete before the elections early in 2001. Many Parisians wouldn't mind seeing a cut in traffic if there is a corresponding improvementphoto: pedistrian concorde? le parisien in public transport - meaning more of it and more frequently - which could be easily done if general traffic was reduced. A lot more Parisians would probably hop on bikes for everyday transport too, if it wasn't as dangerous as it is now.

The question I never see the answer to, is just how much motor traffic would there be after eliminating 90 percent of all private cars. Would drivers switch to motorcycles, would buses clog whole avenues and boulevards?

The main point is, the core of Paris - its 20 arrondissements - is compact. Bus speeds without cars would be higher. Delivery vehicles would not hinder so many if they in turn were not hindered by lack of parking; and taxi rides would be quicker.

If car drivers in Paris can abandon their radios and heaters, and stop to think of how much of their lives they spend sitting around in expensive tin cans going nowhere, then I think they'll vote for Monsieur Tiberi's plans too.

One other idea that was floating around recently was to add another level to the Perifreak! to enable it to double its capacity. Toss that one out! Why not build a monster parking garage on top of it, and make every driver check their car in it before crossing into the city?

This could pave the way for return of the horse-drawn carriages.

Arte Does Crédit Lyonnais

At the very moment when the Ministry of Finance is making up its mind whether to offer Crédit Lyonnais to the public market, the Franco-German cultural-TV channel 'Arte' decides to turn the Crédit Lyonnais saga in a six-part documentary mini-series.

According to reports, the bank's directors made sure employees were informed of the broadcasts. Le Parisien thinks only a few employees watched the first episode, which supposedly drewphoto: coffee shop, marais 890,000 viewers. How the paper arrived at its conclusion is unknown; because there is no mention of any survey.

However, the sorry story of the Crédit Lyonnais was the subject of an earlier treatment by the investigative TV show 'Envoyé Spécial,' which counted a rating of five million viewers.

Yes, in Paris! Just for java freaks - a filling station.

It could also be that the ten-year old Crédit Lyonnais story has already been sufficiently aired, and the week's news of the jumbo take-over bid by the BNP for Paribas and the Société Générale completely overshadowed it - as it is being called the 'Merger of the Century.'

Actually, Arte did okay getting nearly 900,000 viewers for such an old story that has been retold so many times, concerning a subject which is fundamentally boring and not at all as exciting as 'culture.'

BNP Does the 'Big Bang' Thing

The Banque Nationale de Paris launched a take-over bid for two big French banks last week and if the move is successful, it will boost the BNP into the position as the world's largest bank, overshadowing the Deutsche Bank/Banker's Trust combo by slightly less than a gazillion francs.

Before all the zeros cloud up your eyes, it should be pointed out that the BNP is making a 'hostile' bid for the two banks, and the whole affair is far from being a 'done deal.' There are all sorts of other actors who do not want to see it done - including some of the employees of the takeover targets - and France's Finance Ministry has not made its opinion known.

Besides, you should note that the numbers given in the reports are in francs and as alert readers will remember, these are nearly history. The European Central Bank does not sit in Paris and Deutsche Bank for one, does not want to be number two in the Euro game.

Sports News

While it has been a foregone conclusion that football fans are disgusted with the Paris team, PSG, Le Parisien informed its readers on Tuesday that PSG's players are 'revolted' too. Wednesday'sphoto: maison du chocolat, ternes paper predicted, "One Awaits the Revolt On the Field," as a foretaste of the evening's match against Nantes.

In an issue with tea, and coffee, here's some chocolate too.

So it was with considerable surprise that I read in Thursday's edition that PSG had made a 'Bon Point' in its match with Nantes by scoring nothing. Nantes also scored nothing against PSG and in French this is called a 'match null.' In other languages it would be called unprintable things, so to look at this unlikely turn of events in such a positive manner is very optimistic of Le Parisien. I think.

According to the paper, 40,000 fans in the Parc des Princes were 'reassured' by the goaless tie. The paper is worried, however, by the upcoming match on 20. March against Auxerre.

Paris' Sports Papers

An alert reader, living in Versailles of all places, has taken the trouble to inform me that while 'Le Parisien' has a lot of racing news, the real fan's paper is 'Paris Turf' which I should have known because it was my favorite Paris paper before I started reading them.

He also pointed out that all-sports paper 'L'Equipe' does not consider the hayburner races to be a 'sport' and therefore does not carry reports about it. This news saddens me, because Longchamp is a very beautiful track sorely lacking in fans, and if this keeps up there will be nothing left except the trotters and those funny 'races' where the horses are not permitted to run.

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