...Continued from page 1

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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