A New Count-Down?

photo: bistro de l'embarcadere, st honore

An elderly bistro in the Rue Saint-Honoré.

And Other Important News

Paris:- Monday, 30. April 2001:- It seems as if Laurent Fabius, the Minister of Finance, might be a reader of the Café page's 'count-up' feature.

At any rate, the idea of reactivating the Tour Eiffel's '2000' count-down display has been attributed to him - to symbolize the time remaining until we abandon good old FF's for the new hard-currency 'euros.'

This has come as a surprise to the society that runs the tower, which has been in the process ofphoto: chez max, 47 r st honore dismantling the old count-down sign for the past month.

This is an otto 12 metres high and 33 metres wide, with 1340 light bulbs tied together with 4000 metres of cables. The whole thing weighs 50 tons. It originally took seven months to install.

With only a door's width on the street, 'Chez Max' is upstairs at 47. Rue Saint-Honoré.

The 2000 sparkling lights are having their problems too. Originally designed to sparkle every two seconds for the first ten minutes of the hour, their system was only designed to last a year. Now in the fourth month of overtime, the sparkle frequency has been reduced to once every four seconds.

A final decision has not been made but one can assume the Minister of Finance knows where to find some extra money. For the information of 'count-up' or 'count-down' fans, there are 245 days left until 2002.

Strike(s) of the Week

Strikes at national museums such as the Louvre, Orsay and the newly reopened Musée Guimet are continuing on a day-to-day basis. In this situation it is impossible to predict whether the museums will be open or not, or if open, whether there will be an entry charge or not.

This uncertainty is keeping big crowds away from some museums, but those who show up are happy not to have to stand in line to pay for an entry ticket. For some unknown reason, Le Parisien claims that all museums will be open and with free entry this coming Thursday.

So far this week, there is no information about public transport in Paris. Last week métro traffic was disturbed on Wednesday and there was an alert for Saturday. Check the RATP's Web site for current conditions, especially for the RER line 'B' if you are arriving or departing from Roissy.

May's 'Bridges' Revisited

Last week I mentioned all the long weekends there are in May - but overlooked one right at the beginning of June. So I subtract the first one because it's nearly over, and addphoto: bistrot, r bertin poiree the new one.

Still to come in May are the 'bridges' of Monday, 7. May and Friday, 25. of May. New this week is the public holiday on Monday, 4. June, the day after Pentecôte, which is not a 'bridge' but is a three-day weekend all the same.

I pass this 'bistrot' on the way to the 'club' most Thursdays.

The earlier 'bridges' - Tuesday, 8. May - 'Victory In Europe Day,' and the holiday of Ascension on Thursday, 24. May - give the month two remaining four-day weekends. There is only one complete five-day week in this month.

Internet Life In France

Both readers and other sources have sent in some new Web site URLs during the week. The 'other sources' score is zero. This is 'zero' for either crashing the browser - and I use the heavy-duty one for these look-sees - or 'zero' for general presentation. I won't recommend any Web site that has type too small to read.

Alan Pavlik likes Radio France International - or RFI for short - for a quick review of the French national news. He wrote that you should chose 'anglais' and the 'Internet Press Review.' He also liked In Paris Today for its news. One grateful 'thankYou' goes to Mr. Pavlik.

For Camera Fans

A photographer once told me never to go to the annual Foire à la Photo de Bièvres with any sort of plastic card. Its 38th edition is coming up, on Sunday, 3. June, starting at 9:00 and continuing until 18:00.

This will be at the Place de la Mairie in Bièvres, which can be reached with the RER 'C' from the Gare d'Austerlitz. Thre is supposed to be a train every hour. By car, leaving from the Porte de Chatillon, take the RN 309 straight ahead about nine kilometres. In Bièvres, look for the parking lot and a shuttle-bus to the Place de la Mairie.


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