Risky Living

photo: cafe de la bastille

On a sunny day at Bastille, lose yourself in a sea of tables.

Info Instead of Fear

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 21. June 1999:- Since I have little to say this week I should be brief about it. If you note the date you should realize today is the first day of summer - unless you live south of the equator - and then it will be your first day of winter.

Either way, you might as well come to Paris right now. Below you will read that part of Paris is falling apart - but I assure you this is only a tiny amount: there's lots of Paris left, mostly in tip-top shape. What is not in tip-top shape, is probably 2000 years old and may show a little wear and tear, but it is quaint and what you are paying for to come and see.

If you read this week's 'Au Bistro' column, you will come across some alarming news concerning food and drink. I don't want to be the bearer of 'bad news' but you do need to be informed of possibleposter: eclipse show at hotel de ville dangers. I expect you will be able to draw your own conclusions.

The known 'dangers' can easily be avoided, as you will realize. What cannot be avoided are dangers that we do not know about; dangers that have yet to surface. These are risks we all face and are a regular part of daily life no matter where we live or what we eat and drink.

See this week's Scene for eclipse details.

At one time the whole world was a dangerous place for fragile people. As time goes by, progress is constantly made towards reducing these diverse dangers. But no matter how much it is possible to reduce danger, it cannot be eliminated to nothing - so life remains a little risky for all of us.

This should be common knowledge to everybody on the planet and it is a wonder to me that so many news organizations trade on 'fear of danger,' as if it is something to draw profit from. The rest of the press thinks half-empty bottles sell better than half-full ones.

The only thing I'm truly pessimistic about, is the notion that we'll never get to try the 'half-full' versions - because it may be considered to be too risky for sales of 'news.'

Closed: Parvis at Trocadéro - Last Wednesday I found the flat place between the two parts of the Palais de Chaillot to be closed. At the time I thought it was for preparations for the Fête de la Musique.

I was wrong. The Parvis 'des Droits-de-l'Homme' has become too fragile to support much weight. Since 26. April, rollers have been banned from it. The Parvis was built for an internationalphoto: lighthouse at trocadero exposition in 1937 on top of parts of the old Palais du Trocadéro. A thin lid of cement forms the floor of the Parvis, and the roof of the Théâtre Nationale de Chaillot which is underneath.

The Parvis will be closed for repairs for at least two and a half years. This dashes the hopes of many, who intended to follow this year's Tour Eiffel count-down on Friday, 31. December - the last or second-last New Year's Eve of this millennium.

Unless you hurry, you'll miss the salt works at Trocadéro.

The Parvis is also one of Paris' biggest attractions, although it is nothing more than a simple deck. From it the view is stunning and the Tour Eiffel across the way can be seen from no better location.

All is not totally lost, because it is possible to mount the garden side of the Parvis, and you can get to this either by walking around either end of the Palais de Chaillot, or by coming up from the Seine and the Pont d'Iéna.

Park-a-Car, Rent-a-Bike - Starting today, two big downtown Paris parking lots will be renting bikes. These are at the surface parking at the Place de la Concorde and the underground lot at Saint-Eustache - Forum des Halles.

The idea is to get drivers to park their cars and use bikes for inner-Paris trips, but the bikes are available to all comers. This is part of the RATP's 'Roue Libre' bike operation. If there is sufficient demand for it, other parking locations will adopt the service and the first to be considered will be the parking lot at Bercy.

Although drivers will not get any reduction on parking fees - which are 15 francs per hour - by parking they will get a 15 percent reduction on bike rentals, for which 'Roue Libre' charges 30 francs per day during the week.

Other than 'Roue Libre,' bike rentals in Paris cost between 20 and 30 francs per hour; 50 to 60 francs for half-day, andphoto: cafe de la danse 75 to 90 francs for a whole day. All the major bike rental firms operate seven days a week, usually between 9:00 and 19:00.

The Café de la Danse is not all that hard to find in its alley.

The Bois de Boulogne has two rental locations; one at Porte d'Auteuil and the other at the roundabout by the Jardin d'Acclimatation; métro: Sablons in Neuilly. The spot to rent a bike at the Bois de Vincennes is at the esplanade of the Château, or on nice days, at the landing stage by the Daumesnil lake.

Bikes can also be rented at the Carrefour des Anciens-Combattants in Boulogne-Billancourt, at in front of the Hôtel de Ville, in Saint-German-en-Laye. Same tariffs as 'Roue Libre.'

Babble by Ric Recorded for 'Visions by Herb'

On Sunday, 16. May, Herb Malsman had me talk into his microphone for a 'wretched excess' lasting three hours in the Latin Quarter. This was reported in the 'Scene' column in issue 4.20. After considerable editing - I hope - Web broadcast time has finally rolled around, and this will be in two parts: today, Monday, 21. June, and on the Monday following, 28. June.

Herb Malsman didn't know about sculptor Ousmane Sow's 'Little Big Horn' show on the Pont des Arts before he saw it, and seeing it blew him away. Tune in to his 'Visions' on Broadcast.Com's audio-book Web site to hear what my babble sounds like, plus some other Paris noises. If you don't have an audio plug-in, you'll need to download one to hear this - something I do intend to do, too.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 3.25 - 22. June 1998 - This issue featured - Café Metropole - 'Now Official: Leave Your Woolies At Home!' and the 'Au Bistro' column had 'France Worries, But the Games Go On.' This issue had four features, entitled 'Take a Slow Boat To Bastille - The Arsenal Marina,' 'Champs-Elysées - The World Cup Grill and Lounge,' 'On the Beach In Paris, and a Last Picnic' and 'My Exciting Sailing Weekend In Brittany' by Linda Thalman. 'Links for WC'98: Ready, Set - Parlez Foot!' was an service feature nobody asked for or noticed. There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was titled 'Ticket Salesman.'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 194 more partly cloudy, partly sunny Ile-de-France summer days to go until something else really happens.
signature, regards, ric

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