Who's Afraid of the Institut Pasteur?

photo: cafe terrace on champs elysees

For those willing to make the trip, try the outdoor dining
on the Champs-Elysées.

Toilets - For All of the Public?

Paris:- Monday, 5. November 2001:- Some residents living across the Rue du Docteur-Roux from the Institut Pasteur in the 15th arrondissement would rather not know what is going on across the street.

Other residents are quite happy that the famous research labs are so close, and residents in other quarters are pleased they live near hospitals.

The Institut Pasteur does not manufacture drugs for public sale however, so residents have to be content to watch the 'Sante Publique' vans arrive with their cargos of suspect packages and envelopes for analysis.

At the institute, two of its four entries have been closed, and all-over security has been increased. The 1000 scientists and 1500 other employees that work at it have all been issued with electronic ID badges, which are programmed to allow entry into three levels of security areas.

Inside the institute, researchers are happy to have created a vaccine that has been effective for mice contaminated with anthrax.

This work has been in progress for ten years as a general scientific exercise, because until now there has been no particular demand for it.

Meet the Mayor

Some of the mayors of right-wing arrondissements see Paris' mayor Bertrand Delanoë's wish to tell Parisians what's been going on downtown - like he promised to do during the election campaign - as being part of his campaign for re-election.

For this reason, they insist that republican principles must be maintained, and Bertrandphoto: conciergerie, quai de l'horloge, ile cite Delanoë will have to be content to meet the folks in a gymnasiums instead of arrondissement city halls.

In two Socialist-majority arrondissements this will be necessary too, because the local city halls don't have meeting rooms big enough for 600 chairs. You see - sometimes it isn't 'just politics.'

This famous thing is called the 'Conciergerie' and it is on the Quai de l'Horloge

Mayor Delanoë intends to visit all 20 arrondissements by the end of December's first week. In each he is expected to speak for 15 or 20 minutes and then handle questions from residents for an hour - or 90 minutes, depending on whether the residents want to complain about the bus lanes or not.

These meetings will also allow the city's downtown crew to gather the mood of the residents, although this must be a secondary reason because they can run into them while riding their bikes on Sundays.

I won't be able to give the local report on one of these meetings until 5. December, when the mayor will be at the 14th's Gymnase Cange. It might take me four weeks to find out where it is anyway.

Toilets - For the Public?

A humanitarian association has sent out questionnaires to 101 towns in France with more than 50,000 inhabitants, to ask if they have public toilets for the use of the homeless, 24 hours a day.

I think the association wants to know if the toilets are free too, but this question is moot if there aren't any.

The president of the association has noted that Paris has not filled in the questionnaire and returned it.

The reason for not doing so may be allied to the exceptional security measures in force at the moment, which have resulted in the closure of all the pay-toilets on the streets. In French these are called 'sanisettes payantes.'

Whether free or 'payante,' accessible toilets are hard to find for the homeless between midnight and the early morning hours, and between these hours they also are few and far between for anybody.

The métro only has a few toilets and these are usually only open during the daytime. Other public toilets keep banking hours too. Once most of the cafés close, there isn't much choice.

More Hours For the Markets?

This is a question that will be answered soon. Planned for the next few months, is the opening of the public markets in the afternoons.

There are 78 markets in Paris and 65 ofphoto: interior couple, galeries lafayette these are in open places, usually with coverings that are dismantled after the market closes for the day. Market hours are generally from 7:00 to 13:30.

The 13 covered markets usually close for the lunch-time period and re-open in the afternoons. Many of the covered markets are open six days out of seven. Most of the markets in open places are only in operation two days a week, but a few are only weekly.

Free maps at Printemps, and this free famous sight at Galeries Lafayette.

Customers like the markets on Fridays and on weekends more than on other weekdays. Working customers would find open-afternoon markets handier than the morning-only ones.

From Under the Mattresses

One effect of exchanging national currencies for the euro next year is that it is forcing European hoarders to bring their cash into the light of day.

It seems to me that I read somewhere recently that national finance ministries intend to have a 'no questions asked' policy for a while. The reason for this is an estimate that fully a third of France's cash is stashed in mattresses - and the lords of the money would like to get it into circulation.

In Spain, this 'sleeping' money is credited with buying 100,000 apartments since the beginning of this year. The downside to this is that housing prices for new construction has shot up 14 percent in the year's first six months.

The French automobile manufacturer Peugeot announced a 26.1 percent climb in sales in October over last October. In this supposed period of crises, Peugeot has attributed its success to two new models recently put on the market and to the fact of lower-cost credit.

But the French car industry as a whole saw a rise of 7.6 percent for the month, and plus 5.6 percent for the year.

This could also be partly due to the French spending some of their hoardings, because the Spanish are buying cars too.

If this is an indication of what will happen in France, then our part of the world may well need a recession - to act as sort of an inflation-sponge.

I'm not hoping for this you understand. Under my mattress, there is only a dusty floor and beneath it there is a cellar with a dirt floor, with nothing under it except the catacombs.

Troubled Skies?

You might want to look this up in your atlas, but in case you know where Dubai is you might also know that one of this year's big air shows is going on there.

This morning radio France-Info startled me with the news that the local Dubai airline had quietlyphoto: penthouse in 14th signed orders for 58 aircraft. Airbus got the lion's share of this order, by flogging 33 aircraft.

Boeing didn't do too badly either, by getting orders for 25 passenger jets from the same airline.

One of Paris' old-time but neat penthouses.

There must be a future to air travel because Airbus is expected to deliver 22 of its new A-380 superjumbos between 2004 and 2010.

Paris - New York Express

Along with the aviation news above, I need to mention that Air France's Concorde supersonic flights from Paris to New York resume this coming Wednesday, 7. November. I 'need' to mention this, because the Concorde is my favorite subject when it comes to drawing aircraft. If it had been grounded forever, I might have had to consider moving to Cuba or some other old-timey place where there may still be DC-3s. 'Fly the friendly skies - fast!'

Wither Voxan?

For all of the motorcycles one sees on the streets of Paris, only one is made in France. The Voxan was launched in 1995 as a high-end machine and the company is going through some heavy financial sailing at the moment.

On the weekend 500 Voxan operators, who have a choice of three different models, gathered at Issoire in the Auvergne to show their solidarity with the troubled company.

One was quoted by Le Parisien as saying that its manufacture shouldn't stop, 'just because of a silly lack of money.' The amount the company needs to save employment for its 125 employees is a mere 100 million francs.

The Voxan owner's club of France is thinking of launching a subscription to help the company, or even go a step further and take it over.

In case you think this is unlikely, in 1984 French motorcyclists banded together to create a complementary insurance scheme, which covers risks beyond those covered by the traditional insurance companies - all of which hate motorcycles.

But time is running out. The bankruptcy court in Clermont-Ferrand has set a deadline on 21. December for the company to put its books in some sort of order.

Internet Life

The Call for Your URLs

Taking into account the amount of disorganization here lately, it is does not seem likely that I am going to be able to examine any URLs you send me. I appreciate the ones sent in. I will appreciate any new ones sent to me, but I will not guarantee to do anything with them.

Universal Knowledge

UNESCO has ambitions that go beyond its past presentation of itself online. What it wants to do, through appropriate links, is act as a portal to the world's cultural heritage. It is also interested in topics such as the world's resources of water and online education, and its current project includes links to a library of free software. Take a look at UNESCO's new look.

The 'Big Brother' Awards

These are unfamiliar to me, but they are apparently awarded to countries, companies and other assorted entities that are engaged in snooping on you - and me! - in one way or another.

Most of the 'award' winners ignore their distinctions, but this is no reason for you to ignore their shyness. Check out The 'Big Brother' Awards to find out who may be checking you out.

Weather Alerts

This fairly new service from our friends at France-Météo gives warnings aboutphoto: rue de lutece, ile de la cite approaching violent weather that might be dangerous to your health, or, on a lesser scale, cause you some discomfort if you happen to be outside without an umbrella.

On the Ile de la Cité, on the first day of November. Amazing!

The warning system of 'Vigilance-Météo' consists of assigning four colors to departments or regions in France liable to be attacked by hurricane-speed winds, torrential downpours, heavy storms, tornados, blizzards and/or avalanches - and it is updated twice daily.

If you are curious or need to know more, give the Météo-France Web site a hit, for its short-range forecasts. The 'Vigilance-Météo' area is on the page's top left.

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