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While Paris has just finished its elaborate multi-day presentation to convince the Olympic selection committee to choose Paris for the summer games in 2008, the neighboring department of Seine-Saint-Denis has practically wrapped up its nomination to stage the next International Expo in 2004.

This came after Manila withdrew its nomination, leaving France and Seine-Saint-Denis as the only candidate for the major show. The last time Paris staged such an exhibition was in 1937. Mark your calendars now for 7. May to 7. August 2004 and start looking at your maps to find the site at Vents à Dugny.

This is not to be a jumbo 'Universal Exhibition,' with the site being limited to 25 hectares. Some 60 to 70 countries are expected to take part in the Expo.

Your Paris Web URLs

Metropole reader and Café Metropole Club member Ron Smith is back home, but remembered to send the highly interesting - if you like rocks a lot - Web URL for 'See Rock City,' which enjoys the catchy motto of "Rock City Will Amaze You!" I'm amazed Ron remembered to send us this. ThankYou!

French Toast

Harriet Rochefort might not be a regular reader and I know she is not a member of the club, but she has lived in Paris for aphoto: lineup, ice cream, tuleries long time and has put some of her insights into her new book 'French Fried' - a 'food memoir' - which is a follow-up to her ealier 'French Toast.'

In the Tuileries, Sunday's line for ice cream.

On politesse she has written, "As the years passed, I made an amazing discovery that enabled me to understand why the French have such a worldwide reputation for rudeness. In France, you are not expected to like everybody or even act as if you do."

When we can synchronize our timing, I'm hoping to sit down for a chat with Harriet to discuss exactly why we are not supposed to like everybody, whether we know them or not. Coming soon.

Savoir-Flair

This has reminded me that Polly Platt wrote in January - wrote to 'Ed,' what can you expect? - to tell me about her new book, the follow-up to her 'French or Foe.'

The subtitle of "Savoir-Flair' is '211 Tips for Enjoying France and the French.' I'm sure the French would be highly pleased to learn they are worth so much attention - if they weren't too busy being French, which is a full-time job.

If we can synchronize our timing - which I doubt - I'm hoping to sit down for a chat with Polly to discuss exactly why we are supposed to 'enjoy' the French, whether we know them or not. Coming soon, maybe.

Village Development

Paul Swider wrote about Bulgaria and ecology for Metropole in late 1996 when he was stationed in the Peace Corps there. Since then he has been engaged in similar activities.

He is now with Greenstar which delivers packages of solar power, health, education and environmental programs to small villages in the developing world - and gives them the means to be wired into the global community.

So far, Greenstar has three pilot installations in place in the Middle East, Jamaica and India, and another 60 sites are planned around the world.

Greenstar expects to recycle revenues gained from exporting original music, artwork, photography and video to pay for continuing community-driven processes of literacy, local business, education and training, public health, and environmental programs.

This may not seen too sexy to you, but some people have long thought that the Internet has purposes other than Dot-Coms and the Web for portable phones. Of all infrastructures, the 'Net is the easiest to bring to all parts of the world that lack everything else.

Weekends In the Country

'Gîtes' are usually self-contained living quarters located in homes, farms and châteaux in ruralphoto: checker taxi, les deux magots areas throughout France. They can be simple or fancy, but their main characteristic is that they are not hotels, and you can do your own cooking. For being somewhat do-it-yourself, they are also relatively inexpensive.

To cap the day, the 'Checker Taxi of the Week,' opposite the Deux Magots.

In Paris you can check these out at their office, at the Maison des Gîtes de France et du Tourisme Vert, 59. Rue Saint-Lazare, Paris 9. Métro: Saint-Lazare. InfoTel.: 01 49 70 75 75.

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 - 37.8% 'Spring'

Last week saw Paris getting a tiny but real taste of spring, which is not expected to last beyond yesterday. Winter-like weather for Easter is as sure as taxes and the skies must get prepared for this.

Before you get alarmed, although the above is true, by putting it here for all to see I hope to cause the perverse reverse-effect-syndrome to act in our favor, by doing the opposite of the prediction. Cross your fingers or whatever it is you do.

Temperatures are predicted to be at least average 'for this time of year,' which means highs of about 15 C. For real forecasts, give the Météo France site a hit. Predictions are usually fairly shortrange because Météo France doesn't like going out on shaky meteorological limbs.

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 around the Quartier Latin at noon.

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