France, Nevada

photo: bistros, ile saint louis

Cafés on the Ile -Saint-Louis on Sunday.

August - the Silly News Month

Paris:- Monday, 6. August 2001:- The Carlton gambling casino in Cannes closed last night, because its lease expired. This has thrown its 154 employees into technical unemployment, right in the middle of the high-roller season for one of France's most successful casinos.

The Carlton's closure also closed itsphoto: entry notre dame, sunday Michelin two-star restaurant, La Belle Otéro, which was appreciated by more than just the gamblers.

The casino's lease hasn't been renewed because the Carlton hotel in which it is located plans to take over the casino's seventh-floor space and turn it into luxury suites.

Some of the visitors waiting patiently to see the inside of Notre Dame on Sunday.

Actually, the casino's management has being trying to transfer its license to the Palm Beach in Cannes, but the Ministry of the Interior hasn't permitted the move because the ownership of the land where the Palm Beach is located is in doubt.

There are six big casino operators in France; Between them they run more casinos than are probably located in Nevada. Most casinos are located on the coasts and throughout southern France.

Paris has no casino. The nearest one is in Enghien-les-Bains. There has been talk of jazzing up the racetrack at Longchamp up with a casino but so far this is only talk. Lyon, for example, has a casino, as does Vichy, which is otherwise famous for its waters.

Bullitt In Paris

On Sunday, starting at sunrise, the Place de la Concorde was closed to traffic while it was taken over by a movie crew, to film some wild car chase scenes.

Visitors on the spot got a chance to preview the action, which continued for most of the day - somewhat to the annoyance of Sunday drivers, who are already annoyed about the Seine-side speedway being closed because it is Sunday - and it's August, so it's closed anyway until mid-month.

You can see the results of Sunday's action when 'Le Boulet' hits a screen near you, with its fine line-up of well-known actors - Gérard Lavin, José Garcia and Benoît Poelvoorde - plus the rapper Stomy Bugsy and the PSG football star, Nicolas Anelka.

ATMs, Video and Computer Fraud

Police got a bit concerned when they received an alert concerning a whole series of defective ATMs in the Gare de Lyon area - all except for one cash distributor.

This one they staked out, and quickly noticed that it was the zoom-video target of a scooter rider. According to the report, the video images were transferred to an accomplice installedphoto: cafe, bercy village in a big Peugeot 607, who recorded the info with a portable computer.

The cops grabbed these two and found their way to the computer's hard-disk, which revealed that it contained a program for re-encoding plastic cards.

One of the many wine restaurants at Bercy-Village.

Using close-up video and the software - the report lacks precise details about this - the duo were able to produce fake cards with good numbers - and this is how they got the cash together to buy the big new car for one thing.

While they sit in the slammer, the police continue to seek a third person, who they believe may be the 'brain' behind this mob.

Today's 'Dick Tracey' tip for readers who may have problems with their ATM cards while in Paris - the machines are called 'Distributeurs Automatiques de Billet,' or 'DAB' for short. Logically a card would therefore be called a 'Carte DAB,' but I'm just guessing.

More Vélo-Taxis

My guess last week that the rickshaw-type vélo taxis are not around this year, turned out to be incorrect. While on the Pont Saint-Louis on Sunday to take in the 'Wedding Band's' act, I saw two of them pass - headed for the Ile Saint-Louis.

Their main station is located at Notre Dame, from Wednesday to Sunday, from 12:00 to 18:00. A half-hour ride for two costs 150 francs.

The tandem bikes operated by Tandem-Services, mentioned last week, only take one passenger, but they go anywhere and their rates start off at a modest seven francs.

A couple of years ago another company tried the rickshaw-type tricycles in Paris, but found it hard to make money. This firm may be back on the scene next year, now that the city is getting friendlier to alternative means of transportation.

Internet Life

Greenie Giggles

The older generation of the Greens - 'Les Verts' - are running things like Paris' streets for the Hôtel de Ville, the Ministry of the Environment, or even running for the office of President of France. This is all very serious stuff.

But there is a younger generation of Greens who might be a bit less 'established' or a bit less constrained by virtue of being merely Green without being in elective office too.

Last week, a group of the younger generation got together and decided to temporarily re-name the 'Voie Georges Pompidou,' which I usually call the Seine-side speedway.

photo: voie reserve aux cyclistesThis is currently closed to daytime motor traffic. The Greens have thought it might be called 'Quai de la Vélorution,' 'Allée des Amoureux' or even 'Quai des Anciens- Embouteillages.'

Signs like this one are making car drivers see 'red' in Paris these days.

Well! Just imagine what certain people who happen to belong to the late president's party think about this. The kindest thing said was, 'Gaminerie écologique,' which sort of means 'Ecolo kid-stuff.'

I suspect the re-naming didn't last long, because the plaque commemorating Président Georges Pompidou, shown on this issue's 'Café' page, was photographed on Sunday, after Saturday's supposed re-baptism.

All the same the Green kids have put up a list of eleven proposed new names online, and you can vote for your choice.

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.

I have not overlooked the URLs I've received as recently as several weeks ago, and I have even checked some of them out. The 'thankYous' are being readied.

Forecast for August

Here we are again, at the beginning of August and the last of August's 'grands départs' hasphoto: maille, mustard, madeleine departed, while all of July's 'departed' have tried to return on several succeeding weekends - on account of their disgust with July's weather - only to find Paris is has returned to being cooler than where they were on holidays.

Another Madeleine attraction is this mustard shop.

Somehow, between Metropole issues Paris had its 'summer.' This wound up fitfully, to climax last Wednesday with beautiful weather for one day - with 35 degrees and a slight breeze.

It still isn't over until it's all over, so you may still be interested in Météo-France's short-range forecasts. According to tonight's TV-weather news these are shorter-range than normal, so maybe an upswing is coming.

Météo-France has also begun its 'Vigilance-Météo' service, which consists of putting out special alerts concerning hurricane-speed winds, torrential downpours, heavy storms, tornados, blizzards and/or avalanches within the next few hours in Paris and throughout France.

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