Heaven for Buses?

photo: l'oree du parc, rue st jacques

And if heaven is full, this café's terrace near the Rue Saint-Jacques has plenty of room.

Backballs vs Blue Flags

Paris:- Monday, 25. June 2001:- This summer in Paris should be the occasion of some quite unusual traffic jams, and these will be caused by a city plan to give buses exclusive priority lanes.

Instead of a simple line on the pavement, Denis Baupin, deputy mayor for streets and transports, has announced that buses will get proper corridors, and these will be slightly wider so that they can be shared with cyclists.

In streets where there are shops and boutiques, the bus lane will be marked off from the rest of the street by a raisedphoto: fete musique, kids, paris 2008 blimp 70 centimetre-wide sidewalk. Outside of rush hours delivery trucks will be able to park next to it to load or unload.

On a street that is four lanes in width now, this will leave three lanes - two for delivery trucks, on either side of a single lane for through traffic.

For Thursday's Fête de la Musique, Paris sent over its 'Oui 2008' blimp promoting its Olympic bid.

The effect will be to give buses their own streets - which can't be used by any other traffic that might hinder them. It is hoped this will raise a bus's average speed from nine to 14 kilometres per hour - which would be a solid 50 percent gain.

Summer is the traditional time for street works in Paris. All drivers who dream of having free and easy circulation are deluded, and with this summer's begin on the construction of 40 kilometres of these new style bus lanes, the situation will be more chaotic than usual.

This initial work is expected to last five months and 72 bus lines are expected to benefit from it. Buses already have 148 kilometres of corridors in the city. The ultimate goal is to turn the bus network into a sort of métro on the surface.

It goes without saying that various other road users are not too happy with the plan. But the idea is to dissuade them, and one way to make the pill less bitter is to make the buses faster.

Backballs vs Blue Flags

Normally at this time of year the papers print a list of all the French beaches that are so clean and tidy that they receive the coveted 'Blue Flag,' which they can fly and which means they have been approved by a system of European 'goodbeachkeeping.'

And normally at this time of year I mention it and wish everybody a happy holiday. Last year's ikky oil-spill clouded this picture a bit, although it was not France's fault - and just to be mean, the weather hit the season with a low blow.

In fact, 425 beaches in 189 places have received the 'Blue Flag' this year according to Le Parisien. But for some reason the paper has chosen to headline the findings of an organizationphoto: fete musique, cafe d'enfer known as the Surfrider Foundation, which has awarded 93 blackballs to 1697 beaches it has tested - in 2000.

The Fête de la Musique, combined with the Rue Daguerre's sun and shadows.

The paper goes on to report that the European Court of Justice has also declared France guilty of not fulfilling its obligations to control the beaches, according to a 1995 edit. If this court had its way, it would ban bathing at 100 beaches near 57 different seaside communities.

It appears as if there are three major forms of pollution. Many places have only inadequate sewage treatment, and the natural runoff of chemicals used for farming washes down rivers to the seas.

Out on the high sea - but not far enough out - many ships continue to illegally flush out their tanks, using the sea as a toilet - which France can't do a lot about.

Since the paper has not given any locations for the 'Blue Flags' this year, it is impossible to know if they are entirely different from the blackballed beaches - or if some are good enough for one and bad enough for the other at the same time.

I assume that beaches awarded blackballs will not advertise them - but beaches who have been awarded the 'Blue Flag' will. Keep your eyes open.

Fun at Le Bourget

A Swiss firm, having a commercial payments fight with Russia, asked a French court for an order to seize two Russian jet fighters that were appearing at the air show at Le Bourget.

However, the two aircraft left the air show on Friday - in a hurry - with the permission of French and European authorities.

Apparently the seizure of one of the planes had been announced in Moscow at noon. This was confirmed by the Swiss company and in turn confirmed by France's Foreign Office, but denied by Russia's embassy in Paris.

The two planes disappeared from public view, and later scooted off in the air around 15:00.

With Président Chirac about to make a state visit to Moscow, Russia's ambassador to France guessed that unknown persons were trying to make Mr. Chirac's visit difficult in advance.

The same Swiss firm had the Russian sailing ship 'Sedov' seized by a court order in France in 2000, as well as the accounts of the Russian embassy. A Paris court later reversed these seizures.

The Quai d'Orsay was a bit peeved at this, considering the business to be none of its - it being a judicial process in a commercial litigation between a Swiss company and the Russian state.

Apparently there were a lot of neat things to see at the air show, but few of them were worthy of much TV-news coverage. Thus I have not seen a photo of the new Zeppelin LZ NO7, nor of the Antonov 225, which is supposed to be one of the world's largest aircraft.

Sports News

While the exact order of the final ranking for France's first division football championship hasn't been entirely decided by the courts yet, Paris' own football club has determined to get a headstart on next season by starting training for it now.

Without my noticing it, the season actually ended a month ago, and the entire PSG team has been off having exotic holidays without me being any the wiser.

This unnoticed absence is the end result of what Le Parisien calls a couple of 'calamitous' seasonsphoto: fete musique, place denfert for Paris' 'home team' and its supporters, fans, well-wishers and certain betting types, as well as non-sports non-observers like myself.

Neighborhood big time hard rock was staged in the Place Denfert-Rochereau.

Le Parisien uses other words to describe the past season, such as 'stigmatic' and 'nightmaresque,' which resulted in a ninth place in the national standings. The paper says the results were 'insignificant' in comparison to the resources of the club.

Another phrase used is 'déja vu' and I agree with this wholeheartedly. Never in the history of football has so much been put into so little gain, over such a long period of time - several seasons-worth in my memory - the 'déja vu' part - by so many highly-paid professional footballers.

It can only be assumed that there is some sort of a hex operating on Paris' football club. What other answer could there be?

Of course this situation annoys Le Parisien immensely - because, besides being the paper of choice for Paris' concierges - it is also a 'sporting' paper, covering what its big brother L'Equipe deems to be beneath its sporting notice.

For myself, I have always thought that Paris-Saint-Germain, to give it its full name, lacks a sense of humor. If it were as powerful as its resources it would smother all other clubs in France, and give the country's soccer fans all the more reason to dislike Paris, instead of sniggering at it like they do now.

But if PSG cannot dominate French football, it should at least be able to show a little Parisian moxie, to carry off losing with aplomb and elan - instead of whining about every slipshod move it makes.

What PSG really lacks is attitude.

Internet Life

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.

If I have overlooked any of your contributions during the week, I blame it on the fine weather. If there were no contributions during the week, I will assume everybody has been having their own version of it.

Once Again - Patrimonie Archéologique

Archeology is the subject of new Webphoto: parade spectators, bastille 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.'

Gay Pride parade spectators draped all over the July column at Bastille.

One already has its own domain names. This is theAbbaye Saint-Germain d'Auxerre. Another is the Grotte Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc.

What's the Forecast for Coming Weekend?

Right now you can dial Météo-France 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 summit 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 hurricane-speed 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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