...Continued from page 1

The 12-year old heroine of the coming TV-spots is going to tell us that 'It's not difficult.' The whole information effort, for France alone, is supposed to cost 18.4 million euros - without taxes and per year! - which is 121 million francs.

All of this is very laudable. The only element that is missing is the clincher - the euro cash. Without this, it is like playing Monopoly by memory.

Mad Cows - Part 73

The headline says, 'One Frenchman Out of Five Doesn't Eat Beef.' Le Parisien's subhead says 43 percent of the French have reduced or eliminated beef from their diets.

photo: red cola, new yearOne result of this has consumers massively avoiding the pre-cut beef offered in supermarkets, but less so in the case of their neighborhood butcher shops.

In Chinatown - red soft drinks and red banners for the parade.

The global costs of the 'mad cow' scare are also driving up the price of beef in France. In Britain, in order to save what there was of the market, there has been a general reduction of 20 to 30 percent.

But in the whole report, there is no mention of the French who could not afford beef in any case, so it is entirely possible that one in five were not eating beef before the crises.

Winter Sports News

The 'Vendée Globe

This single-handed non-stop round-the-world sailboat race may remain unreported for a day or two, but it is still on the high seas and is on its homerun.

The amazing 24 year-old Helen MacArthur has just overtaken veteran sailor Michel Desjoyeaux in the mid- Atlantic and now leads the race.

This is far from over, as the two leaders are nearly becalmed in the area of the Equator - but there are no other competitors within 500 sea miles.

Other Winter Sports News

As of today, 'winter' is 39 days old. It may be a bit tired and slushy, but if you are interested in the state of snow at French winter sports stations, try hitting the Hiver,SkiFrance and Net4Ski Web sites.

The ex-ski champion Edgar Grospiron has an exceptional site, called Ridearth. Especially conceived for actual fans or practitioners of speedy downhills, it features all sorts of current white snow activities, including morsels of techno-ski music.

Web Life:

Two-Thirds UnWired

A recent study conducted by the GFK institute claimed that two out of three households in France are not - will never be? - connected to the Internet. At the end of last year the number of wired households was estimated at 17 percent.

This puts France as a whole 10 points behind the average for Europe and far behind countries like Germany, Britain, and Holland where the connection rate is 48 percent. The number of French surfersphoto: reflections samaritaine is estimated to be 13 percent of the population.

The most connected region in France is the Ile-de-France, which is close to the European average. While there is talk about the need to close the gap between the 'haves' and 'have-nots,' there is little discussion about the fact that the price of the necessary equipment may be prohibitive for many families.

This means that the huge publicity campaigns that spring up like mushrooms in Paris, mainly benefit the ad agencies that produce them - leaving little left over for producing the content that should be the reason for the Web.

Your Paris Web URLs

If you have any favorite Paris Web sites you think other readers should know about, please send them in. If they haven't been featured before and they don't crash my browser, you'll get a modest 'thankyou' here.

The 'Official' Weather: 100% 'Winter'

Météo France 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 even though TV sometimes goes out on a limb with unreliable seven-day forecasts.

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