...Continued from page 1

In principle, a bank could start doing this tomorrow. But if the other banks didn't follow suit, the first bank to do it might lose its customers.

The Minister of Finance, Laurent Fabius, said that the government doesn't like the idea - withoutphoto: strollers banks agreeing to institute a 'minimum bank service.' This would allow all those now totally excluded to have at least a minimum of bank service.

An ordinary view shouldn't need any caption, even if it is the Champs-Elysées.

The banks are going up against long-ingrained custom. If cheques cost too much to process - and they certainly do according to the banks - these same banks have not been overly inventive in finding new ways to operate that save them and their customers money.

When I lived in Germany 25 years ago, cheques were used only rarely for routine payments. For normal utility bills, direct account-to-account transfers were normal. This kind of transfer was also possible on a 'one-off' basis - like for a magazine subscription - by just filling out a form with the correct numbers.

Web Life In France:

This so-called 'Web life' is getting to be a mystery to me. As I cruise around Paris I see a number of posters for events that I am pretty sure are not going to be mentioned by my usual sources. If there's time, I try to note whatever Web URLs are shown.

Then, if there's time and I remember my notes, I attempt to check them. Without keeping score, I guess I make a successful connection to about half of them. The other half are simply 'not found.'

Sometimes, 'working-around' by way of the search engines tracks them down, but this has its 50 percent failure rate too. My impression is, despite everybody's good will, not everything is 'on the 'net.' Not in any place they can be found, that is.

Of the other half left - the successful connections - very few of them seem to have any notion of providing information via easy access. After some acrobatics, sometimes the information is available - but sometimes it is so convoluted that it is impossible to decipher.

Four examples are the coming events for the Paris auction house, Drouot; an anniversary for the Cité Universitaire; the annual 'Fête de la Science;' and a noisy thing called 'Journées de la Percussion.'

The Drouot URL turned up 'no DNS entry,' possibly because it was not the same as the auction house's regular URL. According to the poster, Drouot is having some special days on Thursday to Saturday, 12 to 14. October. Drouot's regular Web site does not mention this event, except possibly via some 'Flash.'

The 'Fête de la Science' poster mentioned two locations; one of which is the Musée Arts et Métiers, but on this site I found nothing about the 'fête,' which is supposed to roll off from Friday, 20. October until Sunday, 22. October.

For the 75th anniversary fête for the international Cité Universitaire, this is the link for its MixCité program. This fête lasts from Saturday, 14. October until Sunday, 22. October, and has something for everybody.

The percussion thing takes place from Thursday, 2. November until Saturday, 4. November; and will feature 60 of the world's best heavy hitters, for all classes of drum music. To get anything out of this Web site, be sure to have 'Flash' installed and your sound programs tuned in, for the Journées de la Percussion. This Web site does offer a variety of techno options too. If your browser conks out on this, the address is 1. Rue de Madrid, Paris 8. Métro: Europe or Saint-Lazare.

URLs: You Can Help

Since you are operating from longer distances than I am, you depend more on the Web for your Paris information. Ifphoto: mercedes 203 you have good URLs and you are willing to share them with other Metropole readers, send them in and I'll place them in this spot with a 'thankyou' for you.

Mercedes' new small model between its big small model and its little small model. The price of all three is the same - big.

An example: a couple of Metropole readers wanted to lock up some tickets for classical music events at the end of this month, but the two URLs I provided turned up zilch. From another source they found Ticket Avenue's site and got their tickets for the performances that weren't already sold out.

Therefore, a 'thankyou' is in order for Debbie and Bob Groberg, and I hope you enjoy the concerts and opéra performances in Paris that you've managed to book.

Grape Season, Continued

If you are an active fan of the red, white and rosé juices - like some astute Metropole readers - you can follow their seasonal progress from the vine to the part where the '50's-model Italian ladies hold their skirts up high and kick raisins into juice in giant vats.

Even if this pleasant idea is not quite fiction, the Web site Wine Today watches over this throughout the northern hemisphere, but the link included here should give you the section focusing on France.

The 'Official' Weather: Now Mostly for Worse

Météo France gets another run this week on account of approaching winter and my concern that fall may be skipped entirely. This is the official source for France's TV-weather people. If you don't get French TV where you are, you can get the weather from where they get it. Because it is 'official' - meaning: as true as possible - don't expect forecasts to exceed 24 hours or be as accurate as the sky outside my apartment.

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