What's In a Name?

photo: cremerie restaurant polidor

One of the Latin Quarter's well-known and
inexpensive bistros.

If It's Charles De Gaulle, A Lot

Paris:- Sunday, 12. December 1999:- How is this for a non-story? Le Parisien's headline of 'L'Année 2000, l'Année des Bébés' makes you think, at first glance, that French ladies have decided to bulk up the population - or think that a birthdate in 2000 is a neat idea.

Dumb me. I forget there are people, not just in France, but everywhere who may want their babies born as early as possible on 1. January.

These future parents obviously don't give a heck that if they are successful, this will condemn the resulting kidlet to always getting shortchanged in the gift department for life.

Meanwhile, the French mint is going to put out a special '2000' baby coin, in the hopes that all momsphoto: marche noel, waffles and dads will buy it. They may have done their market research, because the social services people have figured out that newborns in early 2000 will be up three percent over the same period in crummy old 1999.

A popular 'Marché de Noël" food treat.

There is even more egg-salad in the face in France. The Minister of Health is mildly annoyed that potential French parents are not copying their British counterparts - who are in a race to plunk down the first kid of the year, century, millennium.

Of course, the Minister of Education knows better; knows for example that the next millennium does not begin until 1. January 2001. This is when he expects a French baby explosion.

But what he is really worried about, are all the French teachers who may be on maternity leave then, and where to get substitutes for them.

But maybe... the collective consciousness of France's 'sage-femmes' have a feeling that hospital maternity services are going to be producing a lot of babies in January.

One says, "Not a day passes without a new pregnancy being announced.' Other hospitals are counselling prospective moms to get it over with by the 28th to avoid the New Year's rush.

They expect a horde of ladies to show up on the morning of 1. January, whether they are ready to go or not. I ask you, where would you rather be? In a dreary maternity ward or out dancing and drinking Champagne?

Meanwhile, the wedding costume people are also expecting an explosion of orders in 2000. Thisphoto: wine and coke makes sense for people who can count, and if they can't, are listening to the Minister of Education.

All the people, all in love, are looking at the calendar and subtracting nine months from 1. January 2001. They are on the phone right now ordering bridal gowns, wedding receptions and all the other doodads necessary to pull off a wedding near the end of March 2000.

Along these lines, a good number of French city halls have decided to open up right on the button on Saturday, 1. January to handle the expected rush to tie knots.

Some mayors are even reported to be running lotteries, so one lucky couple can win the chance to be married at exactly 00:00 on 1. January. These people will have a difficult time getting the baby out on I. January 2001, but everybody knows it is impossible to have all good things.

What's In a Name?

A family affairs court judge in Nantes decided last week that eight-month old Mégane Renaud can keep the name 'Mégane.' Madame Renaud, on hearing the judge's decision said, "We've won!"

A local prosecutor brought a charge against the Renaud family last June for attempting to name their baby daughter 'Mégane.' Reason: one of the Renault car manufacturer's models is named 'Mégane.'

The judge based his decision on the notion that car odel names have notoriously short lives - and that by the time little Mégane got to school she would not be teased by her classmates.

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