Sketchy 'euro' Report

photo: fouquet's, champs elysees, av george v

Fouquet's, on the Champs-Elysées, is only featured
here on cloudy days - like last Friday.

Christmas 2001 - Fin

Paris:- Monday, 4. February 2002:- I have only heard a sketchy report by the Ministry of Finance on radio France-Info this morning - Tuesday, because this column is a day late - saying that after 35 days the euro has not caused the collapse of the French part of the funky Western world.

By this, inflation is meant to be under control. There were worries that everybody would get all mixed up making the simplest transactions, and this could lead to an increase in inflation.

Like many if not most other residents, I switched exclusively to the euro right at the beginning. I will not be able to make any conclusions of my own until I get my January bank statement in the next day or two.

I think, like many other people, that the small denomination euros seem to slip through the fingers with amazing velocity. A 10 or 20euro 3 sign note does not last long, and it is a bit difficult to get used to a 50-cent piece being worth what was formerly about 3.27 francs.

The initial dismay of waiters with a fall-off in tips seems have been balanced out over the month. But taxi drivers tied north Paris into knots last Wednesday to protest again a rise in the rents they pay for taxis.

Will the Real Dora Maar Stand Up?

Residents of Saint-German-des-Prés are in a turmoil about the Dora Maar statue done by Picasso that has returned to its base in the Square Laurent-Prache after a long vacation in front of the Mairie d'Osny in the Val-de-Oise department.

The statue was stolen during thephoto: man ray's atelier, montparnasse night of Tuesday-Wednesday, 30 or 31. March 1999. It turned up a month later as an 'art object' at Osny's Hôtel de Ville, and it was some time before an expert recognized it for what it is.

Lacking an original photo of Dora Maar, this photo of Man Ray's studio building is a substitute.

But residents are now saying that the bust that was returned to its place in the Quartier Latin on Monday, 17. December of last year, is a fake.

Picasso's son Claude, says he has no reason to doubt the authenticity of the statue, which has been restored before regaining its proper place.

There are only four existing examples of the work and the molds for it are kept at a museum in Cologne. None of this has satisfied some dissidents at Saint-Germain, but at the arrondissement's mairie there is no doubt that the real Dora Maar is back.

Who's Afraid of the Technoparade?

Last year's Technoparade, scheduled for the Champ de Mars over the protests of residents, was eventually canceled because of the events in the United States on 11. September.

The organizers of this year's Technoparade, scheduled for Sunday, 15. September, have had a whole nine months to lay their plans before the Préfecture of Police to get a new permit.

The residents of the fine apartment buildings surrounding the large, open park, are still fumingphoto: old windows, shutters about Johnny Hallyday's concert and still upset about the show the 'Three Tenors' put on. They even want the damage caused to the park by the storm in December of 1999 fixed up.

Windows like these do not overlook the Champ de Mars.

Even the most 'avant-garde' residents are choking over the idea of seeing 'monokinis' under their noses, in the shade of the Tour Eiffel and the Ecole Militaire. They suggest this sort of spectacle would suit the Champs-Elysées far better.

Bill Gates' 'Corbis' - Update

Last week I mentioned the Galerie Victor Sfez and its exhibition-sale of photographs by 42 news photographers who have been canned by the Corbis-Sygma photo agency, owned by the mega-conglomo controlled by Bill Gates.

According to a new report the 42 photographers concerned were salaried employees, but were asked to accept 'freelance' contracts. They are now on strike while negotiating with the firm over details of their severance packages.

The reason French photographers are not too eager to accept any sort of salaried or 'freelance' contract with Corbis-Sygma is the differences in how author's rights are treated in France and in the United States.

In Europe, in general, the 'author' retains the rights to works he or she has created, and only 'rents' the work for specific uses.

The custom in the United States is to buy the work outright, so the company can market the work in any it chooses. There are recurring battles in the US audio-visual industry, where creative workers demand shares of residual returns from re-sold rights.

Corbis-Sygma is supposedly losing money and wants to shed employees or turn them into freelance 'contractors,' but only with their US-version of the ownership rights.

Many of the photographers concerned are among the best in the business. Bill Gates is known as a tough customer, but many of these photographers have risked their lives to get their photos, and get them into the world's leading magazines.

It may come down to who has the most to lose, but one thing is certain - a photo-agency without photographers is like a roll of blank film.

Victor Sfez's gallery continues to show the works of the 42 photographers mentioned above. The address remains in this week's 'Scene' column.

Christmas 2001 - Fin

On the moist sidewalk, underneath my window, the last sad discarded Christmas tree, abandoned this evening in a pool of dried-out, pale green needles.

photo: fiat 500 gets parking ticketThe Amnesty - Part XVIII

In anticipation of the presidential amnesty usually accorded by the newly elected, or re-elected, president by way of a favorable vote by a joyful and elected or re-elected parliament, Fiat 500 drivers are busily collecting their parking tickets and holding off on paying the fines.

One of Metropole's favorite 'Fiat 500s of the Week' gets one more parking ticket for its 'amnesty' collection.

Info About Euros

There is now little more than a week to go until the euro will replace the franc completely in France. You can say goodbye to francs on Sunday, 17. February.

All prices within the euro-zone countries in Europe are now posted in euros, just as if you are visiting one foreign country with a bunch of different names - all having a common currency you have never seen before if you aren't from any euro-zone country.

Details about trading-in old francs for euros appeared in earlier issues. For additional information concerning deadlines for cash, cheques and other tips, hit this link. For some common 'euro' prices, see the 'Au Bistro' columns in recent issues.

Internet Life

Photos of Jazz

Alan 'Is It True?' Pavlik has tipped this Web site named Mephisto Photo as a source for buying quality photo prints of famous jazz stars. Mephisto has been around since 1985, but only opened up this Web site in November of last year. It has about 600,000 original photos in stock, dating back to 1955.

Long-Range Winter Sales

Here's Alan again. "I mentioned [at the club meeting] that one used to be able to shop at Printemps via the Internet with the help of some young person in the store on rollerblades, with a webcam attached to his or her helmet, showing you 'the goods' so to speak.

"Even to one who lives in Hollywood this seemed a bit over the top. An urban legend? We do not have such services even on Rodeo Drive, although there is a fancy store there called Boul'Miche.

"For those who cannot make it to Paris for the winter sales perhaps virtual shopping at Printemps via the web is an alternative? Or is this really semi-virtual shopping as it involves a real person on site in Paris?"

I don't know if this is really 'true,' but I did try the Web site on Sunday. The Webcam shopping hours are from Monday to Friday, from 10:00 to 19:00, Paris time.

Winter's Re-Runs

It is winter in the mountains somewhere outside of Paris. If the northern Alps area seems tempting, you can find out more about them from the Alps-Sensations Web site.

For general high-altitude thrills, I think Hiver.Com has had plugs here in past years, without them ever sending me a New Years card to ensure that I put one in this year.

Winter Weather Alerts

This service from your friends at France-Météo gives warnings about near-term violentphoto: quai de horloge, ile de la cite weather that might be dangerous to your health, or, on a lesser scale, cause you some discomfort if you happen to be at sea without an anchor or up a snowy mountain without a flask.

Winter sun, batting the right bank, bounces back to the Quai de Horloge on the Ile de la Cité.

On the mountain front, you should be aware that this year's crop of snow is not plentiful so far. According to TV-news reports, avalanches are just waiting to happen to those they haven't already happened to. 'No-go' areas are 'no-go.'

Paris, with its amply warm degrees and generally light breezes does not qualify as a 'dangerous weather' area. It is not even an exciting weather area. The alert service is mainly for central, eastern and southern arras of France that regularly have more extreme weather than the Ile-de-France region.

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

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