...Continued from page 1

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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