On the Back of the Bus

photo: bus 29 at st lazare

The rear platform on Paris' bus 29.

Call For All Linotypists

Email from Doug Fuss. Sent via the Internet: Tuesday, 27. February 2001:-

Ric,

Here is a possible story line - 'The Best Bus Route in Paris!'

Seeing the 'Cars Rouge' and the yellow 'OpenTour' buses flashing by to the monuments and sights of Paris for a ripping 125 francs for two days of on and off provoked some thoughts about the ordinary RATP buses. Eight francs maximum, takes you throughout Paris on any given line - an improvement from the former multiple-ticket practice.

There are only two remaining lines that have the open rear 'observation platforms.' The bus line 56, unfortunately runs from Porte de Clignancourt, past Gare de l'Est, through the Place de la Nation and ultimately out to the Château de Vincennes. Hardly the stuff of dreams or the romantic heart of the city.

But the line 29 is a gem. Leaving Gare Saint-Lazare you are driven leisurely by Opéra Garnier, the Bourse, through the Place des Victoires and past the Pompidou Centre. Then the route goes through the heart of the Marais, the Place des Vosges, the Place de la Bastillephoto: doug fuss, club meeting and on to the Gare de Lyon - from where a short walk takes you to the ateliers at the Viaduct des Arts in the Avenue Daumesnil. For a Paris visitor this is an eye-popping trip.

Doug Fuss, at last Thursday's Café Metropole Club meeting.

There are a few other routes that come to mind. The 63 bus can be picked up at the east end of Ile Saint-Louis and you will be chauffeured through the heart of the Rive Gauche, past Saint-Suplice, along the Seine and past Les Invalides, then across the river and up the hill to the Trocadéro and the great view of the Tour Eiffel.

These are the two best. The Montmartrobus can't be beat for funk, especially with its colorful departure from the Place Pigalle. And, it sure beats climbing the 'Butte.'

There are other contenders and wannabes but these are the top picks. So, for a few francs - and cheaper with a 'carnet' of 10 tickets - pick a nice day, grab your camera and head for the back of the bus on the number 29.

Regards, Doug

PS: I liked the story on Guimard. When you have a free moment, the Musée d'Orsay has some great furniture he did in his classic Art Nouveau style.


On the Back, With Some Fresh Air

Bonjour Doug -

The last time I rode the number 29 bus was on a 'total strike' day in 1997, and it was everything you claim it is. But to check it out again as I did Friday, it was not necessary to pick one of this year's perfectly rotten weather days - which it was.

On top of it, I decided to ride it from east to west. The height of perfection was adding a tour of Bercy's new 'Les Enfants du Monde' statues first, and then hiking uphill a much further distance than planned, to the Place Félix Eboué - to get the ride past the 'art' ateliers under the viaduct in the Avenue Daumesnil.

The bus' outdoor rear platform had a lot of people coming and going, but two ladies stayed on it - speaking, I think, in Polish - for nearly the whole route.

The slight danger of falling off the platform may be one of the best things about it. The sign warning passengers not to lean overboard is a world's classic of miniaturization. There are bars to hold on to, but no overhead straps.

Being on the platform is like being on a stage rolling through Paris - followed by cars and trucks that will squash you like a bug if you make a mistake. For the price of one ticket - genuine cheap thrills!

For smoke addicts, the bus 29 has been made for you. This was demonstrated by some of Friday's ridersphoto: place des victories who choose this bus for the express purpose of smoking on cold and windy RATP property, which is forbidden everywhere else.

From the bus 29 platform, leaving the Place des Victoires.

On top of it, the bus seems to be a favorite with roll-your-own adepts. Doing this requires two sets of fingers, so a rolling-sea stance is absolutely necessary for staying alive long enough to roll and smoke a hand-rolled butt. Otherwise, there was a lot of fresh air on the outside platform.

For Metropole's past feature about bus 29, see 'While the Air's Away On Paris' Pollution Day.' Another piece, expressly for the benefit of tourists lacking time, was the 'One Day Tour.'


Call For All Linotypists

Email from Giorgio Coraglia. Sent via the Internet: Monday, 26. February 2001:-

Dear Editor,

I am Giorgio Coraglia, a former linotype operator for 'Tuttosport' [1969] and 'La Stampa' of Turin. I have been retired since 1993.

My new Web site is dedicated to the profession of the linotype operator. 'Linotype & Linotipisti' contains the description and the history of the mythical machine and its inventor. All models of Linotype, from the American - including the Intertype models - English, German and Italian are featured. There are also technical cards, user and maintenance manuals.

You can read the memoirs and testimonies of linotype operators, editors, publishers and journalists. There are numerous original photographs, other links, and many curiosities as well.

I turn to you, if possible, for gathering information to enrich the pages dedicated to the Linotype and to linotype operators who have worked on newspapers throughout the world.

It is a trade that has nearly disappeared, swept away by the new technologies. The intention of this Web site is to maintain a historic record of an innovative profession that revolutionized the production of newspapers.

'Linotype & Linotipisti' is a site which welcomes the memoirs and stories of all those whom have dedicated a life of labor to these romantic professions - to the linotype operators, typographers and journalists, worldwide. To remember and to remind.

Giorgio Coraglia

Note: You can write directly to Giorgio Coraglia, who lives in Cavagnolo, near Turin in Italy.


Not Quite a Lintotypist

Bonjour Giorgio -

I share some of your feelings for the Linotype typesetting machines. The first newspaper I worked on had two of them. When I joined the village paper it was in a stage of switching from hot type to cold - changing over to offset in other words.

But all of the body or column text was still set with the Linotypes. They were fascinating to watch. The 'operator' - the typist - enteredphoto: offset is beautiful, extra bild the text on a keyboard, the machine found the correct characters and with a rattle of noise cast them into lines, to make a whole column from which a positive print could be pulled, somehow.

This required the machines to have a large stock of original characters, a lot of mysterious machinery, and a pot constantly full of molten lead. There were probably over a thousand things that could go wrong with the whole process, but seldom did - because we managed to put out two small papers every week.

I do not have a photograph of these machines. For the illustration here I have substituted a fake offset machine I made out of cardboard tubes and some junk from an auto wreckers. It 'worked' well enough for the photo.

Readers who share Giorgio's passion for the Linotype machines should check his Web site for its photos of real machines, its histories and its lore - as well as its poetry.
signature, regards, ric

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