...Continued from page 1

photo: fete forain slide, tuileriesAccording to one professional, the present course lacks professionalism - because its lacks actual practice. There is a proposal to add 400 hours of apprenticeship with a detective agency, plus the second cycle.

This means that if you drop out of the course after the first cycle, you will not be Inspector Maigret.

Attendance probably picks up in the evenings at the Tuileries' rides and attractions.

Private eyes don't work much on divorce cases anymore. Now most snooping involves economic intelligence. There are 2900 registered detective agencies in France and professionals want some sort of legal statute.

With students coming on the market with mint diplomas in hand, the time 'for rules' could be now, they say. Apparently one of the detectives' major activities is seeking PSAs - rotten-skunk debtors who have disappeared without politely leaving a forwarding address.

Divorce cases still come up, when it comes to deciding who gets the kids and how the fortune is to be divided. P.I's in France do not carry guns and can arrest nobody. They slooth.

A Month of Movies for 98 Francs

All the movies you want to see in a month is the offer by the cinema chain UGC. You have to sign up for a year, but if you like lots of first-run movies and don't mind the selection offered by one chain, then it's a lot for a little.

This plan ran into a hiccup with the competition watchdogs but is back on the rails again and drew waiting lines of two hours to get the photo-ID card that goes with it. Now the chain has a system for making a card in five minutes.

Before you think this might be a good way to spend a month in Paris, or Bordeaux - you have to sign up for a year and give UGC authority to debit your bank account every month.

Operators of the Pathé and Gaumont chains are watching the project closely. Also watching, are the smaller independent cinemas - that mostly show classic movies and cult films.

One such cinema, Le Brady, is owned by the director Jean-Pierre Mocky. With ticket prices of 35 francs per film, if his cinema sells every seat it will still operate at a loss of 8000 francs a week.

He is thinking of offering a card too - one movie a week for a year for 300 francs. All he needs are 750 cinema fans.

Free Phone Calls - Temporarily

A software glitch at a mobile phone operator's server prevented recharging prepaid cards Thursday evening. This left the operator, with eight million clients, the choice of cutting access to everybody, or to let everybody call for free.

This they did. Somehow - maybe everybody but me knows how - the word got around and everybody went on a phone-call binge. One young ladyphoto: arc du carrousel managed to be onlne for nearly 48 hours non-stop, with many calls to family - a large one - friends, casual acquaintances and complete strangers in Africa.

Visiting Paris was hot work one day last week - Tuesday.

Long before the first hour-long call was over, her phone's battery conked out. She switched to house-power and talked on. When word got around - quickly! - the operators' network was saturated.

Local calls with the special-offer subscription cost as little 1.87 francs per minute, but the maximum cost is 12 francs per minute. The operator regained control of its network on Saturday and hasn't added up the bill yet.

Web Life In France:

This was a little low-key this week. For those are thinking of taking in a festival of two instead of staring at jiggly banner ads on a flickering monitor, the URL below is for you.

Repeat: Summer Festivals

Take a look at the Ministry of Culture's Web site for the section "Organismes" and then look for the Festivals category, and should find nearly 1000 events on this summer throughout France. And a lot of it is really great.

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