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 model names have notoriously short lives - and that by the time little Mégane got to school she would not be teased by her classmates.

The car acquired this name after the manufacturer recently decided to quit calling cars by number - in this case a Renault 19, I think - and gave its entire model line a whole batch of names.

Some of these remind me of spices or stagnant pools of water, but 'Mégane' reminded my of a nice young lady I once knew whose name was Meagan.

I can't understand why the family name of 'Renaud' wasn't challenged too.

Man of the Century

The French have voted for Charles De Gaulle for their 'Man of the Century' according to Le Parisien, who hired the CSA polling firm to ask a representativephoto: coquelet des landes sample of 1016 men and women 'on the street.'

This French hero beat out all the other suggestions put forward by getting a score of 56 percent. Even if the three percent of 'don't knows' are subtracted, Charles De Gaulle still leads all other candidates.

Those asked were allowed to choose any leading personality so long as they were political. The second choice for the French was therefore Nelson Mandela, followed by John Kennedy.

A very tiny, very edible, French bird.

François Mitterrand is still held in high esteem by the French, and he was placed fourth; and was the only other Frenchman chosen. France being France, Mao beat Stalin, five percent to two percent. Stalin was even beaten by the 'don't knows.'

Issue of the Century

In another Le Parisien-CSA poll, the same number of people - possibly the same people as in the poll above - were asked what they considered to be the century's most important issue.

In 1944 General De Gaulle and the National Liberation Committee announced the granting of voting powers for French women. The following year women inphoto: boulangerie, cakes France voted for the first time, and in the hurly-burly of this they elected 33 deputies to sit in the National Assembly.

Part of my neighborhood decor.

So this 'right to vote' for women was judged the century's most important political event in France, just beating out paid holidays and getting five times the score accorded to the importance of the impending 35-hour work week.

This goes a long way towards explaining why Charles De Gaulle is rightfully considered by a majority of all the French, to be their 'Man of the Century.'


There is no sports news this week because Norway won the ladies handball in the final, beating out the plucky French girls who were doing great until the last goal which ended the second overtime period. Bravo Norway!

French Web Life This Week

Inside Paris, Again

I'm going to let 'Mon Quartier' run another week because it is a Web site that presents Paris by the activities of Parisians in their arrondissements, quartiers and 'villages.' It has lists of local businesses and merchants, public services, local news and a large area devoted to local associations and artistic activities.

Shorties: - All you wanted to know about dance is featured by 'Imagidanse,' if what you wanted to know is about classic danse. If your memory is short and you can read French, you might be interested in 'Je Me Souviens du XXe Siècle,' but then again, maybe you would rather forget it - or pick another century. If French moviegoer opinions appeal to you, these can be found on the Allociné Web site, which also does TV.

Some of the suggestions for these Web site references have been supplied by 'Internet Actu.' For more weird stuff, give The Liar's Chronicles a shot. If you understand French, look around for anything by Pierre Lazuly and his acid pen.

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini