Incredible Weather Bombs Picnic

photo: bistro salthy's, penticton

A Canadian bistro - style 'rustico typico.'

The Métro's 100th Birthday

Paris:- Sunday, 16. July 2000:- On Friday everything was ready for four million to take part in L'Incroyable Pique-Nique. Everything was ready except the weather - which was miserable.

In Paris, beginning at 13:00 the picnic started - with more success in narrow streets like the Rue de Seine than on wide avenues such as the Avenue de l'Opéra.

The Paris Prefecture estimated that only 3000 Parisians braved the elements for the outdoor eat-fest, while 20,000 filled the Luxembourg Gardens, where a pop concert began at 16:00.

Elsewhere in France, there were blizzards or it was weather strictly for ducks. In Cantal, two out of 21 villages had to annul their picnics.

Radio France-Info also said that many French did not understand the idea of a picnic, and arrived without bringing any food. In some areas, merchants who had anticipated good business had to cart their wares home again because of the lack of picnickers.

The opening of the observation deck at Orly airport was a bigphoto: picnic, rue de seine success because the weather was a little better there - with actual sunshine! - and it was the public's first access to the terrace overlooking the airport's runways in a very long time.

'L'Incroyable Pique-Nique,' winding down in the Rue de Seine.

The Sénat invited 14,000 mayors and their spouses from all over France, and tour buses clogged the Boulevard Saint-Michel and the Boulevard Montparnasse near Port-Royal.

For a fête I almost slept through, there was a lot going on. The whole basin area of the Luxembourg was full of spectators for the concert, and among these were many tired-looking mayors.

Most seemed to agree that the picnic idea was a good one though, and some began planning for cross-France picnics, or for a picnic next Bastille Day. If the weather ever gets good enough for one, it'll probably draw everybody who isn't watching the Tour de France.

Wednesday Birthday for Métro

The métro's first line opened for business on Thursday, 19. July 1900 with one line, running from Porte Maillot to the Porte de Vincennes - which is today's line one.

Opened to serve 1900's Universal Exposition, the first line was built in 18 months. In 1897 six lines were planned with a total distance of 65 kilometres, but in the end only the line one was rushed to completion for the historic year.

Nothing stopped the métro's expansion once it was started. Not the electrical accident atphoto: drums, crowd at buci Couronnes in 1903, which saw 84 killed by carbon monoxide, nor the big flood on 1910 which filled the underground stations. By WWI, ten lines were in operation.

After the picnic, the noisy drums - at Buci in the Quartier Latin.

During WWII the métro proved its worth by having 55 stations deep enough to use as bomb shelters. During the French army's mobilization, the trains ran for 24 hours a day for 12 days. Later, the Nazis used the Place de Fêtes station as an aircraft parts factory.

After the war, in 1945, the métro had its record number of passengers; carrying 1.5 billion. The RATP came into being on 1. January 1949. Today, including multiple trips, the métro carries an average of 4.2 million persons a day. In rush hours, 570 trains are circulating.

The crosstown line one, with its showcase walk-through trains, actually makes fewer round trips than the north-south line four; which makes 424 daily. Métro trains start running at 05:30 and continue until about 00:30.

The Sedov Is Liberated

The four-masted Russian sailing ship Sedov, the world's largest, on a visit to participate in the Brest 2000 marine show, was seized by a commercial court on Friday and nailed to the quayside.

The Sedov is owned by the Technical University of Murmansk. A Swiss import-export firm called Noga hadphoto: entry to senat, luxembourg the ship seized for non-payment of a 1.4 billion dollar debt it says is owed to it by the Russian government. A French high court decided the ship belongs to the Russian state.

On Saturday the court released the ship, allowing itto take part in the Brest 2000 marine fête; but under strict French navy control. The organizers of Brest 2000 are trying to figure out who to sue over losing the attraction of the Sedov's sailing rights for two days.

After the 14,000 mayors, the Sénat cleans up. Note weak sunshine.
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