Nearly No News

photo: pub oscar wilde, bloomsday

This is the pub that didn't seem to have a 'Blooming'
thing going on last Saturday.

Is Hardly New At All

Paris:- Monday, 18. June 2001:- This week's big news was actually no news at all. Le Parisien got into a snit with its distributors, the CGT union got into a snit with Le Parisien, and the result was no paper for five days.

Newspapers in Paris are distributed by a co-operative called NMPP, or 'Nouvelles Messageries de la Presse Parisienne' for short. In principle, the NMPP is owned jointly by the newspapers, but it practice it acts as if it owns them.

The Amaury Group, which publishes Le Parisien and L'Equipe, announced Le Parisien's departure from this distribution co-op and in turn got its distribution stopped by the union.

I took this to be a holiday from reading newspapers, so I did not get any details about the conflict. Traditionally, newspapers seldom report on their own relations with their own staffs.

The major union at the NMPP is the CGT-Livre. In itself this is not a problem, but this one section of one union effectively controls the distribution of newspapers and magazines in Paris. It's not done by the individual titles themselves.

The head of the management council of the NMPP, who is also the publisher of Le Figaro, was reported by Libérationphoto: pagoda, rue courcelles to be unable to convince the management of the Amaury Group to change its mind - so the strike ground on until this morning.

Libération also reported that the Amaury Group could financially support non-distribution for 10 days, but it appears to have given up after only five days.

If you get tired of looking at Irish pubs in Paris, you can switch to this pagoda.

What is not mentioned is exactly what the Amaury Group's plans were, even though their intentions were announced some months ago - how did it plan to distribute its papers in Paris? After all, it caused the ruckus by maintaining its intention to distribute its papers by its own means.

Distributing two big city dailies is not something that can be set up overnight. It requires fleets of trucks and a lot of manpower - and it requires having agreements with the sales outlets, for commissions on sales and terms for 'returned' copies.

The NMPP has a monopoly for newspaper and magazine distribution in Paris. For a retailer this often means getting copies of unordered titles, not getting copies of ordered ones, and getting billed for both. Or, getting too many or too few copies.

I've known more than a couple of newspaper kiosk operators or walk-in paper shop owners who have left the business because of endless frustrations with the NMPP.

Journalists working for Le Parisien reportedly have been annoyed because they have been told to continue as if nothing unusual has been going on. Today's edition numbered 40 pages, while last Monday's totalled 44. But I may have gotten the 'Ile-de-France' edition by mistake.

Parking Tickets

One thing Parisian car owners do not like at all are parking metres. And with about nine months to go until the coming presidential election, drivers are starting to count on a future amnesty and are paying less attention tophoto: art squat, 59 rue rivoli pay either the pavement collectors or the fines levied on them for not paying.

On top of it, parking metres have become a favored target for looters, who not only take the coins they contain but break them while doing so.

The 'art squat' changes its building's decor almost as often as the shops on the Rue de Rivoli.

Once upon a time, there was a parking metre for every slot and then they were reduced to two metres on one pole, for two slots. Now they are even more reduced, with metres - called 'horodateurs' - about 75 metres apart.

Let's say you are a good citizen and you actually find a legal parking slot. Next you have to find the parking metre, put some money in it and carry the ticket it prints back to your car, and put the ticket under the windshield where the parking ticket crew can see it.

But, what happens when you find the parking metre broken? Do you look for another? Or do you borrow a parking-fine notice from another car and slip it under your own car's windshield wiper? Or do you just forget it, and wait calmly for the amnesty? These aren't automatically granted by law.

At the moment in Paris, no more than one driver out of two is paying parking fines - 58 percent are going unpaid and this is expected to rise to 80 percent by the end of the year.

Almost a third of Paris' 12,500 parking metres were looted last year. It is believed that gangs who once specialized in picking pockets have switched their targets to the less risky machines - even though 1400 of these bandits have been collared this year alone.photo: entry musee cernuschi

The fines for totally illegal parking, which Le Parisien calls a 'local sport,' are ignored by more Paris drivers, with only one out of three paying their fines.

The city collects 450 million francs from the parking metres but is said to lose out on collecting seven million francs in fines, plus has to pay out another seven million to repair wrecked parking metres.

The almost secluded Musée Cernuschi is very near the Parc Monceau.

Apparently it is perfectly okay to write a note and leave it under your windshield, saying that all the nearby parking metres are broken. If they are, the note is just as good as a paid-for parking receipt.

"Ici Londres"

Sixty-one years ago today, General Charles De Gaulle made his famous broadcast from London to occupied France, using BBC transmitters. However the broadcast was not foreseen in that week's radio-TV guide, so there were hardly any listeners. All the same, the event was commemorated this morning by Président Jacques Chirac at Mont-Valérien.

Internet LifeYour 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.

If I have overlooked any of your contributions during the week, blame it on Proust. If there were no contributions during the week, I will assume everybody has decided to read Joyce.

Patrimonie Archéologique

Archeology is the subject of new Web sites being set up by France's Ministry of Culture, with a generic name of Patrimonie Archéologique as a staring place. Hit the link and then look for 'Expositions Virtuelles' and then 'Grands Sites Archéologiques.'

One already has its own domain names. This is theAbbaye Saint-Germain d'Auxerre. Another is the Grotte Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc, which is still marking time in a sub-domain - which is not a pun, exactly.

'Summer' Forecast for Coming Weekend

This is not only because Thursday is technically summer's first day, but TV-weather news went way out on a limb and said it would be sunny and warm, with the weekend even warmer. We will see.

Several issues ago I reported that Météo-France intended to begin giving out local short-term forecasts. You should be able to getphoto: champs elysees, view towards concorde a forecast in the morning, so you could reliably plan to have a picnic - for example -at lunchtime, which is from 13:00 to 16:30 in Paris.

The Champs-Elysées, near the Rond-Point, briefly sunny last Wednesday.

Right now - Météo-France is probably not still on strike - you can dial them up on your favorite Web browser, and get what is actually happening with the weather right now at Météo-France's Paris weather station located nearly next door to me on top of the modest heights of Montsouris.

Starting later this year, Météo-France will also institute its 'Vigilance-Météo' service, which will show at a glance whether you can expect high winds, torrential downpours, heavy storms, blizzards and/or avalanches within the next few hours in Paris.

In general, seven-day forecasts will be available for Paris and the Ile-de-France, with special attention being given to weekends.

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