Tour Eiffel Plans Basement

photo: la rotonde, montparnasse, 15 august

Since the passenger liners from New York ceased their large numbers in 1927, Montparnasse is a lot quieter in August.

Random Summer Headlines

Paris:- Monday, 20. August 2001:- I don't feel like reading last week's papers today, so I hope you will be content with headlines. If these aren't enough, the remainder of this week's column contains the overflow of 'Café Life' from the Café Metropole page. All of the 'headlines' are from last week's Le Parisien.

Random Summer Headlines

Tour Eiffel Plans Basement - Thursday, 16. August:- Reaching 324 metres above the Seine, the Tour Eiffel's operators are thinking about adding five more floors - all underground.

This conclusion has been reached after 'underground polling' to find out how many extra floors might be desirable, and despite the 10,000 tons of iron sitting on top of them.

Metropole reader Jim Auman alsophoto: cafe peniche, near pont neuf caught this story and sent it in. The tower's operators got the idea - slowly - from the Louvre's successful below-surface entry, but the tower's plans call for a space 25 times bigger.

Peniche-cafés in the Seine are another place not to read the papers.

The problem is not with the Paris monument's daily 30,000 visitors, but with the fact that they visit the tower for an hour and then buzz off - because there's nothing else near it.

The new basement plans call for boutiques, a congress centre, a 3-D cinema - as well as lots of room for tower access, plus a glass dome so those in line can see the tower from underground.

The decision rests with the Hôtel de Ville, and requires the agreement of the Councilors of the 7th arrondissement. The work would cost a lot and take about three years to accomplish. Left unsolved is the question of a parking lot.

Nobody is asking me but I think it is a ploy designed to avoid having to re-string the tower with permanent twinkly lights - an idea that also scored well in Le Parisien's informal polls.

Camping Triumphant - Tuesday, 14. August:- On a slow news day nine million 'campers' make the paper's front page, and six million of them are French. This begins a five-part series about 'Everything You Wanted To Know About Camping.' I asked Dimitri, and he said he is still pitching his pup-tent in farmer's fields - while the rest of the world has moved up to four and five stars, to spend their holidays in tin-sided 'mobile homes,' a brand-new phrase in France.

Who Is Flying This Plane? - Tuesday, 14. August:- On the same slow news day, which happens every year in France at about the same time, the paper wants to know who is running the store with the country's Président, Prime-Minister, Cabinet, Senators and all Deputies gone on holidays. The answer - a few unlucky people who lost a coin-toss.

Maxi - Two Hours Underground - Thursday, 16. August:- In June, a young lady entered the métro about 13:30 one day and when she left it around 20:00 she ran into RATP controllers, who slapped her with a fine of 170 francs for excessive time underground. Itphoto: asleep in august seems there's a limit of two hours on one ticket. What was the young lady doing? She was researching life in the métro for a comedy-theatre piece. One bit of free advice - taking your dog requires a half-price ticket too.

There! In the shadow - some fellow in his own private public park.

Overtime Update - In case the young lady doesn't pay the 170 franc fine by next Friday, the amount of it will rise to 1200 francs. The RATP has already agreed to forego its 'legal expenses' in 'good faith,' but it is not going to back down, especially not under 'media pressure.' All the same, the spokesman said, the RATP doesn't think it impossible to reconsider the length of the two-hour time maximum underground.

For readers unfamiliar with the Paris métro, its operator often presents or co-produces popular entertainments in its underground stations - thus perhaps inadvertently causing passengers to exceed the two-hours-on- one-ticket limit.

France Lacks Cooks - Thursday, 16. August:- Especially this summer, holiday eating establishments can't get enough cooks, lacking an estimated 30,000. Some restaurant operators are doing their recruiting at eastern Europe's hotel schools.

Mont Blanc Is Black With People - Thursday, 16. August:- On good days the mountain attracts up to 300 hikers and climbers. As big as it is, there isn't enough room for everybody. On bad days, everybody sits around waiting for it to get good.

Café Life - Continued

The Musée Albert-Kahn

This museum is the home of the 'Archives de la Planète' and is currently displaying an exhibition of photos of Peking, taken by the chauffeur of the museum's founder in 1909, and more photos taken after the revolution in 1911, by Stéphane Passet.

Some of the photos are in 3-D and glasses for these are offered along with the entry ticket. I can't 'see' -D with or without glasses, so these looked like black and white photos with offset colors of red and cyan to me.


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