The 'Big Wheel' Deal

photo: resto louis xiii

It's warm, it smells good - welcome to the Louis XIII.

Saint-Laurent Says Adieu

Paris:- Monday, 28. January 2002:- After hanging in the sky over the Place de la Concorde for two years, one month and 22 days, the 'Grande Roue de Paris' is nearly gone. Under the threat of heavy fines, the operator, Marcel Campion, has had little choice but to have it dismantled.

Apparently the operator is conducting negotiations with the city for its sale. He wants a certain high price for it, but the city has pointed out that it has largely if not entirely paid for itself - and besides, it's used.

Well sure, but not 'used' much. But he couldn't get the Minister of Culture interested in it for a placement within the Tuileries, and nobody has stepped forward from Dubai or the Puy-du-Fou to offer 3,810,000euro 3 sign for it, so...

So, maybe the city will take it off his hands and put it in its park at Bercy or in the Andre Citroën park - or maybe it should be out at La Villette, near the shiny Gëode? But there's no reason for the city to be in a hurry, or even to appear especially interested.

McDo Hires National Hero Asterix

According to a BBC report forwarded by Alan 'Is It True?' Pavlik, McDonalds' French unit fired its professional fictional clown Ronald McDonald and replaced him with the midget French hero Asterix recently, without informing the daily Le Parisien.

By associating itself with France's favoritephoto: art squat, rue rivoli ultra-Gaul, the multinational operator hopes to deflect attention away from its worldwide 'one burger fits all' image, which is also called 'globalization' or, in French, 'mondialisation.'

The astonishing aspect of this switch, which only applies to France, is that France's 'anti-globalization' hero José Bové resembles the comic character, Asterix, or vice-versa.

Yes folks, here is the Rivoli 'art squat,' still competing with all the neighboring commerce.

And, Mr. Bové has just been handed a hard-time prison term by a court for the 'deconstruction' of a McDonalds unit that was under construction in central France.

Meanwhile the fastfood giant has been having other labor problems at four of its outlets in Paris. A court has decided that it fired three employees without good cause and has ordered their reinstatement at the Boulevard Saint-Denis outlet - effectively concluding a three-month strike there.

McDonalds had also charged the employees with stealing 150,000 euros but the labor relations court didn't agree with this, and proposed fining the firm 153.45euro 3 sign per day until the employees are reinstated. McDonalds has indicated it will appeal this decision.

The other locations where employees are periodically on strike are at Beaugrenelle, the Champs-Elysées and the Boulevard Saint-Germain, near the Boulevard Saint-Michel.

The BBC report also says MacDonalds is switching its offshore strategy to 'think global, act local.' Apparently thinking real hard has also coined a new term, 'glocalisation,' which sounds like something hard to swallow.

There have been no labor-conflict reports about Ronald McDonald's sudden sacking. The BBC misses the point when it says this character is a 'cartoony' equivalent of Asterix, with little more than some appeal for kids.

While we all know that Asterix is a French fiction, we also know that José Bové is not - and he is not for sale either.

Yves Saint-Laurent Quits Thread Biz

Paris' fashion week was overshadowed by the man who overshadowed himself last week at the Pompidou Centre with a runway show spanning several decades, featuring creations that were first strutted down runways in the mid-'60s.

This rétro-show took place in front of an audience or a fan club, seemingly composed of dozensphoto: fall in love, tea, mariage freres of ladies dressed mostly in black - this was a 'rétro-show' remember? - with 300 costumes, 200 models, and Bernadette Chirac, the well-dressed wife of the Président.

All of Paris that likes to dress up and can afford it, were invited. Meanwhile, outside on the cool pavement the show unrolling in the interior was projected onto a giant screen for the fans of spectacles and passing visitors who like 'frou-frou.'.

Only in Paris can tea merchants be mistaken for perfume dealers.

The 'maison' Saint-Laurent is scheduled to close in June. The day after the 'rétro' show, clients stormed the main salon in the Avenue Marceau in the vain hopes of getting in a last order.

There actually is a new collection for spring-summer 2002, at prices ranging from 30,000 to 150,000euro 3 sign. Beyond these, it is still possible to order some of the less fragile, older but classic models.

You can get a look at some of this in 16 of the display windows of the Galeries Lafayette on the Boulevard Haussmann, where there is a recreation of the haute couture studios on view until Thursday, 21. February.

Your reporter's own collaboration with Yves Saint-Laurent concerned mainly the perfume branch, when it was still owned by Charles-of- the-Ritz. I got to keep all the 'models' I was given to use.

The No 'Toubib' Week that Was

France apparently survived the wave of street demos last week without turning a hair. Severalphoto: teachers demo, thursday ministries are in negotiations with several sections of society and their millions of members - pretty much as usual.

Last Thursday's teachers, getting ready to march to the Opéra.

Turning the clock back a bit, it may be worth reminding you that conflicts that seemed to have ended, may be merely dormant. For example, the gendarmes who won a big pay increase late last year - are seriously wondering where it is.

Some of the labor disagreements will be put on ice shortly, because the Prime Minister indicated over the weekend that he will likely be a candidate in the coming election of the office of President of France - but he as to wait three or four weeks until the legislative period is finished because his current job is being France's Prime Minister.

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