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Mayor Tiberi has rightly taken credit for many recent initiatives such as the bike lanes, the upgrading of various quarters and shows he has some humor through the active tolerance of mad activities such as the weekly Friday night roller 'Rando,' and the permission for the upcoming Techno Parade.

Nominally Paris belongs to Parisians. In reality, Paris belongs to the world - as can be seen by all these 'foreigners' such as Jack Lang - Mayor of Blois - and all the other non-native 'Parisians' who are about to fight for control of Paris' Hôtel de Ville.

It looks like everybody is going to either have a finger in this contest, or will be an eventual beneficiary of it - so the Paris municipal elections have become 'news' for Metropole Paris.

Car-Free Day in Paris

After last year's somewhat feeble adherence to carless day in Paris - cars minus 13 percent, bikes plus 110 percent - this years' edition takes place on Wednesday, 22. September. This year will see a wider area of Paris closed to traffic.

Arrondissements with restricted traffic from 07:00 to 21:00 will be the right bank's 1st, 2nd, 3rd, part of the 4th and the left bank's 5th, 6th and the 7th. Concorde in the 8th will be restricted, as will be Montmartre's summit and the basin at La Villette.

This will close 150 kilometres of Paris streets to ordinary vehicle traffic. Permitted to roll as usual with be all the police cars, ambulances, fire equipment, taxis, RATP buses, private electric or GPL cars and anyone with a special permit.

In order to reduce the stress on incoming suburbanites, public transport will be increased and shuttle buses will be pressed into service. Socialist councilman Bertrand Delanoë has called for a special day's transit ticket, good for anything that moves, including the Batobus.

Ten other Paris-region towns will also be having a carless day, plus another 55 towns and cities throughout France. In Italy, 93 cities there will be carless on the same day.

Strike in Champagne

Champagne house and distribution workers were on strike on Friday over the 35-hour work week issue, just four days before the expected begin of this year's - estimated to be of excellent quality - grape harvest.

Most of the major houses have already signed accords or are in the process of doing so, but many small and medium producers are balking at what they consider to be too many advantages 'for the privileged.'

This would be a storm in a flute glass if it were not for Champagne's expectation to make a fortune this year by getting everybody in the world to possess a bottle of it on Friday, 31. December.

New Looks

During the week both France Soir and Le Parisien - both Paris dailies as well as national papers - put on new looksphoto: new france soir for the newstands. Le Parisien's change was slight: more color photos, a more compact serif typeface for body copy and modern sans-serif type for headlines.

Does this mean France-Soir will have a page three like the Daily Mirror?

France Soir's fairly recent major face-lift did not lift falling circulation, so it has shifted to a look closer to that of UK, US and German tabloids - which means less on the front page but everything bigger, brighter, bolder, better! This certainly came across better in billboards all over Paris than Le Parisien's sober in-paper statement.

What's the Meaning of This?

Claude Berri, the director, is not an unknown maker of funny movies. Last year's 'Asterix' might not have been the success he had hoped for - but my kids liked it.

Mr. Berri's next film debuts in Paris on Wednesday, 6. October and he thinks it is going to be the first film that has the drug Viagra in the plot. I have been wondering when the first film about it will show up and now I know and so do you.

The well-known director has not made an autobiographical movie since his 'Je Vous Aime' with Catherine Deneuve, Alain Souchon, Serge Gainsbourg and Claude Berri in 1980.

Although personal elements are in this new film 'La Débandade,' as well as Mr. Berri himself, he has said the film is not entirely autobiographical. Fanny Ardant stars as his wife, and Claude Brasseur and Alain Chabat help out.

'La Débandade' means rout or to straggle along, or plain confusion, so I'll have to wait to see the movie to see if its title is related to the story.

Sports: Hunting Season Opens

Hunting season opened today in most of France with the usual sounds of gunshots and protests. Hunters and fishermenphoto: le bouledogue bistrot have formed their own political party to defend their traditional 'rights' against the ecolos, who have won some points for the liberty of non-hunters to use hunting areas for other purposes.

This bistro shows the French spelling of 'Bulldog.'

The European court recently decided it was perfectly proper for private property owners to prohibit hunting on their lands - which the hunters still claim is an infringement of their historic 'rights.' Fresh from this victory - enforceable? - the ecolos now want hunting forbidden on Sunday afternoons so that others can roam the forests in safety, and they want the season to close in January.

The hunters, who have proved they can elect representatives, are willing to provide swing votes to larger parties who see their point of view, so their political weight is heavier than their geographic concentration.

As of today, if you are thinking of taking any strolls in France's wooded areas this fall and winter, be sure not to dress like 'fair game.'

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