Traffic Jam of the Week

photo: cafe bouvette, jardin de luxembourg

While not exactly a bistro, the buvette in the Luxembourg is cozy all year around.

Bonus Exciting Sports News

Paris:- Sunday, 22. October 2000:- The award for this past week goes to Wednesday, when the angry employees of a bankrupt public works cooperative began a slowdown on the A1 autoroute near the level of Le Bourget.

This happened while the management was on its way to have talks at the Finance Ministry, concerning the bankruptcy, which was caused by slow payments to the co-op.

About 24 large and 70 little trucks were blocked by the CRS police at La Chapelle. This group of vehicles divided into four, and began escargot races in both directions of the Perifreak!

With the CRS interceding where it could, jams multiplied until they totalled 180 kilometres around 18:30 in the afternoon. An hour later, the co-op's management received an agreement for a meeting with the Finance Ministry, and the trucks reversed.

The CRS passed the good word to the trucks stuck on the interior of the Perifreak! at 19:30 and they freed its three lanes that they had been blocking for five hours.

By 21:00 the length of the traffic jams had dropped to 65 kilometres and at 22:30 the Paris region had returned to normal normal for a rainy Wednesday followed by a rainy Wednesday night.

Quite naturally, all other drivers were completelyphoto: pantheon taken by surprise by the action, which some described as 'surrealistic' and others marvelled that even motorcycles couldn't get through.

This is merely the Panthéon area on Saturday, having nothing to do with the surrounding text.

In Paris itself, witnesses described blocked intersections as 'folklorique' or as 'Italienne.' Some drivers moved ahead at the rate of one metre every 15 minutes, while others attempted to gain the opposite roadsides to reverse their way out of bottlenecks.

Police later claimed that by the time they realized they had a 'situation' on their hands, it was too late. With one demonstration divided into three of four groups of trucks - any one of which could block an intersection.

Normally, authorizations for demonstrations are accorded by the police, except in cases where 'public order' might be jeopardized. However, because of its nature, the Perifreak! is never authorized as a route.

Last year, firemen from outside Paris gave the Perifreak! its first major paralytic test and their example was followed this year by angry truck drivers.

Instead of gathering at the Place de la Nation or Bastille and waving flags, groups of discontented workers find causing drivers to lose their cools much more effective.

Even the angry co-op workers were surprised by the extent on their action. They thought they would be directed to garages, but were instead blocked by the CRS.

To all readers who are confusing this week's report of the 'Traffic Jam of the Week' with last week's report of last week's 'Traffic Jam of the Week,' I assure you this week's was new and original and not a warmed-over repeat of last week's.

Demo of the Week

This award certainly goes to railroad workers who staged an 'authorized' march through Paris On Friday, with may have numbered 30,000 and an alphabet-soup of letters representing seven rail unions.

The train guys, from all over france, were protesting against Brussels' plans to liberalize rail traffic for both passengers and freight.

Protestors cited the latest train wreck in Britainphoto: jardin des tuileries as an example of what can happen when a country's railroads are not centrally organized. They say that rail safety cannot be assured by a bunch of independent and under-financed rail operators.

Strollers in the Tuileries and métro riders failed to notice the week's demos and traffic jams.

While railworkers had what they called a successful and colorful demonstration in Paris, it was hard for a rail user to understand what the fuss is about.

If Brussels' Eurodom says national rail networks have to allow competing operators, this can only happen if a national operator like France's SNCF wants to sell part of its network.

It could be that ambitious waterworks companies who are currently flying high in the portable telephone business might feel that operating railroads is a business with a bright business future - if they could credibly bid for the SNCF's TGV operations - but it is hard to understand why the SNCF would consider selling it.

The week's several other demonstrations were no less worthy, but were a lot less noticeable.

Sports News Update: The 'Subway' Series

Today's totally unbiased report is from a Metropole reader, Café Metropole Club member, and rabid Mets fans from Queens who is unbiased:

'Sleepless in New York' reports:- "High spirits and high hopes abound as World Series fever grips NYC. World Series banners drape the street poles along Lexington Avenue. Floor mats with the team logos adorn the entrances to Grand Central Station - where you can catch the subway lines that travel north to Yankee Stadium or east to Shea Stadium - and admonish all who cross them to 'Pledge Your Allegiance.'

"'Yankees' and 'Mets' cookies are for sale at the bakery stand. Locals are wearing their chosen teams regalia and exchanging good natured ribbing.

"And now the first game of the '2000 Subway-Series' is over. The longest World Series game in recorded history at four hours and 51 minutes ended with the Mets falling to the Yankees, 4-3 in the bottom of the 12th inning.

"It was not a pretty game for either team.

"As the game ground on past 01:00 Sunday morning many yawning fans on both sides just wanted it to end before daybreak. The Mets shot themselves in their cleats with sloppy base running andphoto: halloween window poor relief pitching. For their part the Yankees squandered several scoring opportunities and left 15 men on base before ultimately prevailing.

Because of high-class 'news' don't expect many reports of Halloween in this issue..

"Tonight the teams meet again at Yankee Stadium. Ticket holders are encouraged to bring their own blankets and pillows. Rumor has it that concessionaires will be stocking 'No Doze.'"

Ed's Note:- For worldwide readers unfamiliar with baseball - for the above report is indeed about baseball - you should know that 'subway' means métro. Shea Stadium is not called 'Mets Stadium' like Yankee Stadium is called 'Yankee Stadium' because somebody in New Jersey scooped up the 'Mets' name before the Mets could get around to registering it themselves.

Normal baseball games are only nine 'innings' long, unless they are 'called' on account of rain. This is unlikely to happen when the Yankees have 15 men 'on base' - bases are like life-saver bags filled with chalk dust - because New York is having a spectacular 'Indian Summer,' unlike boring-weather Paris.

Players 'shooting' themselves 'in their cleats' are usually ejected from games, unless there are no men on bases. Speaking of men, very few women play on either team and those that do usually sit out of sight in dugouts, on special 'bases' filled with popcorn.

On a professional note, Metropole's own eyewitness reporter covered the game in person via TV on account of being in San Diego watching big fish eat mermaids when the surprise 'Subway Series' was announced and all the tickets, even to the all-night games, were sold out without warning.

More exciting game reports may follow, if the Yankees don't win the first four games - which is very unlikely because the Mets have more fans with more heart. 'Truth in Advertising' forces me to reveal that this report appears here because I have been promised season tickets for all Mets 'C' team games in 2007.

Web Life:

URLs: You Can Help

Since you are operating from longer distances than I am, you depend more on the Web for your Paris information. If 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.

This week's 'thankyou' has to ba a major one, going to Alan Pavlik for a small portion of his 'bookmarks' list, starting with London'sTime Out Paris edition. Also in English, is RFI's daily press round-up, which he follows with Libération's links to all the other papers and magazines, which are mostly in French.

As if life in France wasn't a riddle enough, here's a site for them. Montmartre's web site has been in this column before, so here is a reminder of it. For our music fans Nova gets mentioned enough; hitting this will give you some of its techno if this is your thing. While on the noise front, let's not forget video too.

Alan's favorite singer is Patricia Kaas, plus here is everything you will want to know about Edith Piaf. Finally, if you are as tired of Los Angeles as Alan pretends to be, check your bags onto Escape Artist's getaway trip.


What is in that stuff on your plate? Finding out may take you on a wider tour of the Agrimonde than you expected, but you may also find out something that even foodfolk hero Jose Bové doesn't know.

'Befores' for the Mois de la Photo

One is a photo gallery supposed to worth a good look and Visuel Image is said to be especially rich. Enough words; just for looking. Finally, Canon is having an exhibition in Paris at the end of the month. If you are in town, the dates are from Monday, 30. October to Wednesday, 1. November and the location is in the Carrousel du Louvre. As a last shot, check out ArtCom's take on the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.

World Wide Poll Revisited

From Wednesday, 15. November until Saturday, 18. November, a worldwide poll will be conducted in eight languages, to find out what it is like to be a humanphoto: rain, boulevard voltaire being on the eve of the new millennium.

The poll which is modestly called PlanetProject, has been organized by 3Com, whose president Eric Benhamou wants to know about the haves and have-nots in our electronic age.

The single 'rain' photo in an issue supposed to be full of them.

This planetary poll will seek to gather some idea of the values and beliefs of the world's population. Poll responses will be analyzed by the Harris Interactive polling organization.

This seems to be a positive and pioneering project that is only possible because of the existence of the World Wide Web, so I suggest that everyone who considers themselves to be an active member of mankind, take part in it.

The 'Official' Weather:

Météo France is featured again because of the lackluster autumn it is giving us. In better times 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.

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