Montmartre Barricades the 'Butte'

photo: roller bistro monte carlo

After Friday's 'Roller Folk' have gone, this bistro
returns to normal.

Homeless '2000' In Paris

Paris:- Sunday, 18. June 2000:- This afternoon residents of Paris' most famous hill hit the streets to keep cars, trucks and tour buses out of them. Even the RATP's popular 'OpenTour' double-decker bus was turned back at the Rue d'Orsel, forcing its passengers to walk to the funiculaire's lower station.

The action was led by the greens - 'Les Verts' - whose slogan is, 'Let Paris Breathe.' Car drivers arriving at barricades all claimed to be residents of Montmartre, and that their homes are very near the top.

One was reported to have said, 'I don't care what they want, what they do,' while claiming to be a Montmartre resident with a car registered in 94 - the Marne; adding, 'I want through, that's all. They aren't the police, are they? So I'm going through.'

The 'Verts' in place thought he should visit Paris on his bicycle. Meanwhile, on top of the 'Butte,' lack of traffic and its noise was enjoyed by both residents and visitors. 'It should be like this every Sunday,' one said.

Paris Clochards, '2000 In France' Version

Artist Jochen Gerz had a project idea for France's 'Mission 2000.' After a lot of deep thinking thephoto: notre dame's new face organization accepted the idea, and it is now on view on the Parvis in front of Notre-Dame in Paris.

Called 'Les Mots de Paris,' it consists of a modern bus shelter, which shelters a dozen 'homeless' - in French: SDFs - persons, who are dressed as themselves. The 'Mots' are under glass, lying on the ground, and are the words of the exhibition's animators; unfortunately all in French.

Notre Dame surprises visitors with its 'brand-new' look, and its 'Homeless' tribute to '2000 In France.'

The crew of SDFs are paid the 'homeless wage,' which is slightly more than half of France's minimum wage. The bus shelter cost the '2000 In France Mission' 1.5 million francs.

This little affair has raised some strong objections, even though 'homeless' persons and clochards are a common sight all over Paris. It is not thought 'good taste' for them to exhibit themselves, even if they are permitted to sleep on the streets.

'Clochards' are usually homeless, but are not necessarily seeking one. The 'SDFs' in contrast, are usually seeking both reliable shelter and jobs.

Unlike 'voluntary' clochards, many SDF persons are victims of circumstances. Even withphoto: shoelace of the week a valid French Carte d'Identité, only paid telephone or electricity bills are usual proof of residence.

Without 'proof of residence,' it is nearly impossible to get a job. Getting social aid from either city or state is also difficult without some 'proof of residence.'

'Homeless' rope shoelaces are not yet a big fashion item in Paris.

Thus, this modest '2000 In France' project has granted at least a bit of cash to the homeless. At a minimum, this can rent a hotel room - which can be an address - and this can get them started up the tangled rope of red tape towards becoming bona-fide full-benefit citizens again.

Paris' Cardinal Lustiger has not complained about the display in front of his church, so it seems to be time for the rest of the Parisians to accept the idea that the homeless are human beings too. This 'exhibition' will continue for three months.

Paris Transports - 'Batobus'

While fooling around waiting for the weather to make 'Paris Plage' slightly more plausible, it occurred to me that the 'Batobus' operation wasn't making much noise for itself.

This Seine shuttle service which runs from April to October, has just added a handy new stop - right beside the Pont Alexandre III. This will give passengers easy access to the trio of 'palaces' there, the Petit, the Grand and the Palais de la Découverte.

This new landing stage adds to the six existing ones. A daily fare of 65 francs is good from 10:00 tophoto: traction of the week 21:00 and allows getting on and off as often as you like. The same fare for children is 35 francs, and the two-day ticket is 80 francs for adults, and 40 for kids under 12.

This is... an exceedingly rare 'Traction Coupé of the Week.

The name of the new stop is Champs-Elysées, even if it is about 350 metres away from the avenue. The fares above are reduced if you already have some other form of transit ticket like a Carte d'Orange, so don't forget to mention it. Simple single tickets are a bit pricey.

Only Nine Days Until...

The summer sales begin in Paris on Tuesday, 27. June according to what Printemps told Metropole reader Brigitte. I forget how long they continue, but in the past it was for four of five weeks.

To get good choices for bargains, the first days are the best. 'Bargains' means this year's summer fashions that haven't already been snapped up. Discounts will range from 20 to 50 percent off regular prices. By law, sale prices have to be shown together with the original retail prices.

Also by law, only items that were in stock at the beginning of the 'sales' are allowed to be sold. This doesn't prevent shops from stocking up in anticipation, but is to ensure that more and lesser-quality goods are not put on the shelves while the sales are on.

'No exchanges, no refunds' are the rule, us usual. But don't forget to enquire about sales-tax refunds if you are taking goods out of Europe.

Web Life In France:

In the old days, which are now referred to as 'pre-Internet,' Paris had one cable-TV operator - and this was a water-supply company. I happened to live in a 'reception-pit' so when the cable service was first offered, I took it.

It was great in the beginning because it provided BBC-1, ZDF, Rai-Uno and TV-España - in additionphoto: opera with new glitter to the usual French channels. Then, little by little, these were dropped entirely, or offered only in special, extra-cost, packages.

All that glitters in the Opéra area - is the new exterior decor of the Opéra itself.

To be fair I must say the TV-cable did offer some interesting cable-only programming, and from this it was also possible to see foreign productions. One channel had Paris-only programming, and I miss it now.

Now that the telephone and TV have been deregulated a bit, the offers involving telephone, cable and satellite reception have mushroomed into a mind-boggling maze. The easiest thing to do is just ignore it all and rely on the old minimum antenna reception.

For several weeks - one reader claims it has been is months - Paris has been plastered with billboards advertising a thing called 'NOOS.' These ads carry next to no information.

But - aha! - NOOS turns out to be our old friend, the cable-TV operator - hiding behind a new name because its old name is associated with a user-unfriendly monopoly.

I have one of their ads here. It says, "Foot, tennis, athlétisme... pour tout le sport sur votre TV ou sur le Net, passez par NOOS." If you can't access the link, you can call an '800' number, which is free. Many '800' numbers are not.

Now, after the months-long publicity campaign costing a fortune to say little, a story in Le Parisien tells all. This is how I know it is the cable company, the one that wants to "Forget the past."

According to the paper, the 'NOOS' offer will be generally available soon - possibly in September.

Other operators offering Internet access via cable have not fared too well, due to being stormed by users wanting big-band 24-hour a day connections - which 'unfairly' overloaded thephoto: mercedes cabrio of the week operators' capacity. Regardless of their 'commercial offers,' their technical offers weren't up to scratch.

Expecting to find elegance in the Place Vendôme, the reward is this 'Mercedes Cabrio of the Week.

Since NOOS has been financing its non-information campaign with what it overcharged me for 12 years, I think I'll wait until at least six months after they launch, to find out what their 'commercial offer' may be.

Aubade Is Online

Rounded-form fancier, Metropole reader and signed-in club member Mark Kritz assumed I knew that rounded-form underwear manufacturer Aubade had a Web site. I knew no such thing, but by taking a tiny little peep at it, I have discovered that the person responsible for Aubade's photos is Hervé Lewis. Hats off to a hard-working photographer and his stable of unusually well-fed models.

Paris, Texas

When I tried to find Paris, Texas on the Web some years ago, all I turned up was the sort of desolation of an empty lot depicted in Wim Wender's movie of the same name. Times have moved on and now Paris, Texas is fully online, as is the town's newspaper 'The Paris News.' Read all about it. In print since 1869.

Paris' Peace Wall, Forever

This still leaves the URL for Paris' Peace Wall which I imagine is still on the Champ de Mars. If so, this 'Mur Pour la Paix' is worthwhile because 'Peace' lives on! You can also learn how to read the word 'peace' in 31 languages, including Estonian.

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