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The only other suitable piece of grass is in front of the Invalides. Without apparent co-ordination, groups of amateur players have been showing up around 18:00 with footballs, and playing.

The police don't like this one bit. The players say the police don't do much except honk; but once they took the drastic action of confiscating the ball. The police also say the players should take their games to some miserable field in Neuilly.

Visitors to the city seem to appreciate the impromptu games - which can last until 20:30 - and some even join in. The boules players only a few metres away, play in perfect legality.

Paris' Unforbidden Sports

Reported to be more than overstressed, the young folks in Paris seem to agree that the greatest obstacle to meeting strangers of the opposite sex, is lack of any sort of inventive come-on.

Jean Gabin's "T'as d'beaux yeux tu sais" simply doesn't work any more, even if photo: poste gendarmes, luxembourgit scored some successes in prehistoric times.

For this reason, the parisienne Véronique, launched the 'Ecole de Séduction' five years ago. This is not any kind of marriage bureau; in fact it is the opposite - it offers a course in independence.

The Luxembourg's police post is not a flying saucer.

Graduates are trained - in a two-month course costing 6900 francs - to 'not miss the bus.' Graduates are also not trained to be Don Juans; their own 'sleeping potential' is merely awakened.

There is also a nine-month course costing 13,600 francs. The two courses had 300 graduates last year. This outstanding success has encouraged Véronique to plan the opening of a branch in Lyon next year.

Meanwhile, if you aren't intending to invest this much, Le Parisien offers some key phrases to use in particular situations.

Don't try tango. This type of dance requires years of training. Stick to salsa. Even if you know how to do it, you can always ask somebody - preferably 'jolie' - to show you how to do it.

In parks you must be original, because hordes of 'séducteurs' before you have been crudely offensive. Try saying, 'watch out for that pigeon!'

In a frozen-food department, I can't hurt to ask for advice - such as, 'can you recommend something I can fix for friends in an hour?'

If this seems unlikely, in a spot where there are a lot of visitors you can try, 'would you like to discover the authentic Paris?' For this you need to do it in English, with a 'seductive' French accent.

Libraries are supposed to be good spots because you are likely to run into someone with tastes like your own - if you have any. Here, the magic phrase is supposed to be, 'can you lend me an eraser?'

I'm not sure these tips really work. The magic phrases, formed as questions, invite quick 'nos.' I would try to rephrase them to increase the chance of a positive response.

On the street, the failure rate is high, so being successfully 'seductive' requires a high degree of finesse.

Here, I don't understand the recommended phrase, so I substitute my own - everybody's actually - "Excuse-moi de vous déranger, mais..." and then ask for an address of a café you know is around the corner.

You need to make up the rest, but since you are inventive enough to read this, I don't see any problems. One last tip; absolutely do not smile when you say any of this, except perhaps with the eyes - 'les beaux yeux, tu sais.'

Web Life In France:

It may be a bit late for it this year, but it might be the right time to start planning your next campingphoto: arc de triomphe, 22 august vacation in France or Europe. Camping is popular here even if all campsites are not in gorgeous national parks, where Smokey the Bear delivers the morning's kindling for your breakfast fire.

A commemoration of Paris' liberation was held at the Etoile last Tuesday.

Russell Lee has drawn attention to his KarmaBum Cafe, which is a travel Web site devoted to doing it cheaply, with a good 'road' book always in hand. What attracted his attention to Metropole, was the article about the Camping Paris Ouest campsite in the Bois de Boulogne.

When I visited it in 1998 I was told they would have a Web site, and sure enough, now they do. Check it out too.

The 'Official' Weather

Météo France is the official source for the TV-weather people and for other professionals who are concerned with the affairs of France's skies. If you don't get French TV where you are, you can get the weather from where they get it, before they put their versions on TV. Because it is 'official,' don't expect forecasts to exceed 24 hours. Since they can't do anything about it, they don't talk about it much.

Summer Festivals - Last Days

Take a look at the Ministry of Culture's Web site for the section "Organismes" and then look for the Festivals category, and you should find some events that are on during what remains of this summer. Festivals are better than TV. So much so that TV keeps showing fascinating clips from them..

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