Paris Mayor - Bertrand Delanoë

photo: le madignan, blois

The closest bistro to Blois' château.

Europe's Sad Animal Time

Paris:- Sunday, 25. March 2001:- According to all sources available to an ordinary 'Internet Reporter for Paris' like myself, the left has not been in control of Paris 'for nearly a century.'

I have no idea why there has been no 'count-up' for this vital factoid, but right-wing control of the city ended today after 'nearly a century' when a majority - 92 votes out of 163 - of newly-elected city councilors elected Bertrand Delanoë to be Paris' number one mayor.

Jean Tiberi, President of the Jean Tiberi faction of the city council, intended to put his name forward for the post but the mainstream RPR-UDF-DL group was thinking of abandoning the fight.

For TV-news, this also seemed to be a ripe occasion to tell its viewers about Bertrand Delanoë's whole life and career, in audiophoto: entry petits degres st louis, blois and video clips, lasting about 150 seconds. I suppose doing this before voting took place might have been construed as free and illegal publicity, but better late than never, right?

We have learned that Bertrand Delanoë was a national spokesman for the French Socialist Party in the early '80's, when he was marching arm in arm with other Socialists such as Lionel Jospin, who is currently Prime Minister of France.

Simply an average doorway in Blois - not any sort of 'light at the end of any tunnel.'

At some date, which I did not catch, Mr. Delanoë switched from the national political scene to Paris' municipal combat.

In the name of parity, Anne Hidalgo was named first deputy mayor of Paris. For their part in the leftist victory, Les Verts saw their Denis Baupin get the tricky transport post and Pénélope Komitès was awarded parks and gardens.

Slightly before officially becoming Paris' mayor, Mr. Delanoë flew to Vienna on Saturday, to assist Social Democrats there in their municipal elections, which were held today.

No Houseclean?

Paris has 40,000 employees and a 'few hundred' contract workers. Some of the latter may lose their jobs if their bosses were not re-elected, but in general, the new powers in city hall want to keep all the expertise they can. They say.

Those they can't, they have pointed out - can pack their bags and move out to the 'Province' - where so many new right-wing mayors were recently elected, and are presumably in need of Parisian talents.

Even high civil servants serve their elected superiors, and some cannot avoid having become somewhat 'political.' If they were not too 'exposed,' they merely have to serve their new bosses by accepting the new political realities.

For some, according to a city Socialist, the only criteria are competence and loyalty. For others - well, there is always France.

Hoof and Mouth, Tooth and Nail

After the discovery of the first case of hoof and mouth disease in France on Wednesday, 14. March, it has taken until yesterday for a second case to be detected. The government immediately extended its restrictions concerning animals to the entire country.

While Britain suffers from a raging epidemic of the disease and is taking draconian measures to combat it, about five cases have been discovered in Holland - leading the European Community to stop all inter-country transfer of live animals.

What animal-health officials fear is the possibility that the disease has already been spread far and wide by the common practice of transporting animals between various countries.

A month after the outbreak in Britain, 500 tests of animals there have been positive, leading experts to fear that the number could rise to 4000 cases by June. Already, the army has been called in for its engineering expertise, to help dispose of destroyed farm animals - which are being slaughtered in the thousands.

According to all reports, hoof and mouth disease presents no health hazard to humans. In practical terms, because of quarantines, travellers may be required to expose themselves to disinfectants upon arriving in Europe or travelling between European countries.

It is also possible that sporting events, such as horse racing, may be seriously affected - for a long time to come.


Strikes by workers at the Musée d'Orsay and at the Château de Versailles ended on Friday, but the labor action being carried out by some workers at the Louvre is continuing.

Except in Paris, there are expected to be public transport strikes beginning on Monday in all major cities and towns.

According to news on the radio, Paris' turn comes around this coming Thursday, when a national strike is expected to hit SNCF operations. This will affect RER lines 'C' and 'D.' Trains headed east out of Paris were reported hit by labor action last Friday too.

Pedestrian, Cycle and Roller Day

This annual event, which marks the beginning of spring in Paris, rain or shine, took place today - when many of the city's streets were reserved for non-combusting engines - was not well-advertised as far as I could tell.

Nevertheless, rain or shine, it marks the beginning of the Sundays when many of Paris' major arteriesphoto: sq vert galant, vedettes, flood are closed to motorized traffic for most of the day. Even for simple hoofers, this allows strolling along the Seine's speedways - which was impossible today because of their spring-like flood levels.

In Paris - with a few parks and many quays under water.

I'm not quite sure if the RATP's 'Roue Libre' program operates throughout the winter, but today it really is in operation renting bikes to all comers, who came early.

To rent a bike from the same people who operate the city's métro and buses, all you need is an ID paper and the means of putting up a 1000-franc deposit. The actual bike rental fees are not excessive.

Other News

On Thursday, José Bové, co-founder of the Peasant's Confederation, was sentenced to a three-month jail term for his participation in the deconstruction of the McDonald's outlet in Millau in August 1999.

At the same time, he was found guilty of illegally detaining three Agricultural Ministry civil servants in March of the same year at Rodez. The appeals court imposed a fine of 6000 francs for this, but it will be appealed.

Also convicted earlier of destroying some geneticly-modified stuff, the two penalties will not be consecutive. While awaiting various appeals, Mr. Bové remains at large.

Not Too Late To Book

During the rest of this year 2170 new hotels rooms will become available in Paris and some of these will be in two newphoto: emaux de blois, souvenirs luxury hotels about to open. In addition, for the first time in years, all six of Paris' hotels nicknamed 'palaces' will be open at the same time.

Paris may also become an official 'station touristique,' which will allow it to do things on Sundays and holidays mere cities cannot do.

The closest shop to Blois' château.

The official enquiry to find out Parisian opinion on the subject was conducted in January over five days - three citizens were heard and five written comments were offered - which resulted in a favorable report.

The new city council has to vote on the proposal and then it gets passed to various government ministers for their august consideration.

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.

Due to Ed's week off, this feature will resume next week, with delayed but sincere 'thankyous.'

The Big Catalogue - Repeat

This is not La Redoute's or Trois-Suisses' combined mailorder catalogues, but the catalogue of catalogues for books in French. This 'repeat' is in order because at least one reader has found a long-sought book through it. Called the 'Catalogue Collectif de France,' it unites the catalogues of the Bibliothèque Nationale, the university libraries, and 55 specialized libraries around France. This site is relatively new. Its ambition is also to provide documents on demand, but this is still in the works.

Ultra Sports News

Paris begins its official pitch to host the summer Olympics in 2008 tomorrow. According to TV-news, 85 percent of the necessary infrastructure already exists in Paris and the Ile-de-France.

The Official Time

In yesterday's edition of Le Parisien, a box on the front page announced, "Tonight at two o'clock, it'll bephoto: rue pierre de blois three o'clock." This mention is not to be an excuse for the tardiness of this issue, but in case you don't have 'Summer Time' where you live.

In France, the official reason - for the past 25 years! - for changing the clocks twice a year is for the purpose of saving nuclear fuel needed for generating electricity.

In Blois, many residents have strong legs, for either stairs or bicycles.

Two out of five French believe the time-change is a good idea and two out of five believe it is idiotic. One out of five likes both time zones, but likes 'summer-time' better because it permits one to take one's apéro later than usual. The reverse is true in winter.

None out of five believes the electricity story, and one of the five in favor of the time-change would like to have 'summer-time' year-round.

The 'Official' Weather - 2.5% 'Spring'

Last week saw Paris getting a taste of real rain and who knows how long it will last? Answer - never for long. The question should be, 'how often will it rain today?'

Temperatures are predicted to be at least average 'for this time of year.' For real forecasts, give the Météo France site a hit. Predictions are usually fairly shortrange because Météo France doesn't have any crystal balls to compare with the TV-weather news.

This said, Météo France is hoping to have ultra-shortrange predictions available online by this coming summer. These should be handy for checking the weather at breakfast, to be sure it will be sunny enough for a stroll down the Champs-Elysées at noon.

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