Champs-Elysées Changes Suits

photo: cafe trocadero

Although cold today, people were sitting out on
terraces at Trocadéro.

Edith Piaf Chosen 'Singer of the Century'

Paris:- Sunday, 19. December 1999:- Everybody has been complaining to me about the state of the Christmas decor of the Champs-Elysées. This is like yelling at your TV set about the weather report.

It was another one of 'great events in the whole history of mankind' that I missed on account of watching the wrong channel, or having forgotten to turn the thing on in the first place.

The story apparently revolves around the gauzy sacks enshrouding the trees. These were supposed to be different pastel colors when lit from inside. One day when I was on the Champs they actually were different pastel colors when lit by sunlight.

This must have been before the leaves fell off, they got hit by a bit of a wind storm and before the pollutionphoto: mummy, pont st michel got to them. Present and future members at the Café Metropole Club said, "Your Champs-Elysées is 'Ugh!'"

Lonely mummy seen from bus window on the Pont Saint-Michel today.

Last week, the street's decoration committee - lot's of streets in Paris have these - decided to rip the junk down. According to Roland Pozzo Di Borgo, the committee ran a test for a month and it worked fine.

Projections of advertising logos was what was supposed to happen to the trees. Now, after new illuminations are installed, these projections may be directed at the sidewalks, where you can walk all over them.

More People and Things of the Century

Le Parisien and the CSA polling outfit are finding more number ones, and some of the findings are unexpected - if those polled were telling the truth.

Edith Piaf being selected by an absolute majority as the 'singer of the century' comes as no great surprise because she might win this recognition in countries other than France as well.

Céline Dion got only half as much support as Edith Piaf, while getting less than twice as much as Tina Turner - who got two points more than Ella Fitzgerald - who most likely would have come in at one or two if only music fanciers had been polled.

Actually these polls show some fundamental French ideas, which expose some generalities about them as myths.

They gave a big majority, when asked to choose the 'French monument of the century,' tophoto: santa at bhv the Channel Tunnel. The great, huge, wonderful Stade de France came in a distant second; and only because it was the site of a recent super-grand French feat.

Santa loads up on small passengers in front of the BHV last week.

The tunnel, built by a consortium, does link France and Britain, but I was unaware that it would be considered as a 'French' monument. The French think otherwise, possibly because so many Britons now buy their wine and cheese in Calais instead of in Devon.

It would be interesting to know if a majority of the British would vote for the Chunnel, as they call it.

As long as we are on 'monuments,' I would have voted for the Airbus - even if is built by a consortium too. The Ariane rocket would get my second place vote.

'Suit' of the Century

For this personality, the French who were polled gave two men equal percentages; Marcel Dassault and Bill Gates. André Citroën was close behind in third place, for his 'Traction Avant.'

Citing André Citroën is fairly unusual because he died in 1934 and thereby missedphoto: caroussel hotel de ville the other 76 years of this century. But he is remembered for innovation even today - which seems to present a stark contrast with Bill Gates.

One of the two carrousels in from of Paris' Hôtel de Ville today. Skaters filled the nearby free ice rink.

Of course the French are fond of their Minitel too, so this probably explains Mr. Gates' popularity. Perhaps surprisingly, nobody seems to want to be credited with inventing the Minitel - even if its financial model will - if it hasn't already - outstrip that of Mr. Gates' firm.

Two other foreign 'suits' were chosen by the French to be in the top ten. They were Giovanni Agnelli of Fiat fame, who was outvoted by Aristotle Onassis, of plain fame.

Strike Warning

Normally I do not post 'strike warnings' because most of the time there is no warning of any kind. When managers are having difficult times with their employees, they never bother to tell the public that they are going to let a situation deteriorate to the point of zero.

photo: brasserie le luxembourgHowever, employees often know a strike will hurt them so they tend to 'go public' as a way of putting pressure on employers to be a little more reasonable.

After two days on non-stop rain, everybody came out today and some brought their balloons.

This is apparently the case at the moment at Disneyland-Paris. Six unions have jointly suggested they will be walking out soon if Disney management keeps dragging its feet on the 35-hour work week issues.

Disney would like to get serious after the holiday season and the unions would like to get serious before Disney can count the receipts from the holiday season.

French Web Life This Week

Anyone For Food?

All you wanted to know about what people in Timbuktu eat for Christmas you can find out by hitting the 'Tastes' site, which also features the recipes too - helpful unless you live in the US and need certain ingredients from France.

Anyone For Brain Food?

Editions Atlas, which is a big encyclopedia publisher got tired of selling 10-franc versions on CD-ROMs for 700 francs, and had put an 11,000-article encyclopedia online.

Consulting it is free after a registration procedure. Searches can be done by keywords, or there are 13 overall themes to chose from. 'Webencyclo' is something you should bookmark if you have to look things up, and don't mind a few banner ads too much.

What IS In a Name?

If your name is Noël and you want to have email addressed to you at noel@noel.net, you can do this by paying the modest sum of five francs a month to Noël Net. If your name happens to be Santa Claus, you need not bother doing this, because you've got too many emails to answer already.

Where Is Christmas, Anyway?

The newspaper Le Progrès de Lyon has put together a Web site for children that has everything about Christmas traditions, from Iceland to Italy. Christmas, like Halloween, has its various origins - such as 13 Santa Claus's - or is it Pères Noël, who are almost as famous as the Smith Brothers.

France and Canada, United

These two countries have more in common than green pea soup, so there is a bit of a crossover when it comes to the 'History and Ancient Traditions of Father Christmas,' or the Pères Noël as they are referred to in places where the Smith Brothers are not well-known, such as Québec and downtown France.

Metropole Has No Exclusive On Food

What do other people eat for Christmas? At one time most people were so busy eating their Christmas fare that the question would not have arisen. Now, everybody eats so fast that they have time to wonder about what other people eat - except the French, of course, who still eat a lot and slowly enough to enjoy every morsel.

Shorty: - All you wanted to know about French beef is answered by a Web site that wants to sell you some. At least, this is what I gather from their ad in Le Parisien.

Some of the suggestions for these Web site references have been supplied by 'Internet Actu.'

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