...Continued from page 1

A test-run of 10-centime pieces done in 1962 may be worth 69euro 3 sign per piece and a 20-centime piece minted in 1966 may be worth 31euro 3 sign. The prize goes to a 1976-model 50-centime piece that may value as much as 300euro 3 sign.

Within only a few metres of the Rue Saint-Jacques - the Rue du Chat Qui Péche.

Check your foreign change collection for a French 2-franc piece with a date of 1991. It may be worth 228euro 3 sign at a coin dealer's.

Other Francs - Turn-in Deadlines

Banks in France and post offices will continue to accept francs for conversion into euros until Saturday, 29. June, but this service is only for their regular clients, and the amounts must be deposited.

However, if you can find your way to any branch of the Banque de France, or the various offices of the Trésor Publique, you can change all pieces and notes that were legal before the introduction of the euro - into euros, in cash. This operation continues until Thursday, 17. February 2005.

The deadline for banknotes alone is Friday, 17. February 2012. For more information about this, consult the Web site of the Banque de France.

Remember the Franc!

An idea like this could have only been concocted in a café, like this one was. Last summer some good fellows were standing around in their favorite bistro having a quick one when somebody wondered 'what the state intended to do for the franc as a memorial?'

Since the state has no intentions of doing anything, this left the way clear for citizens to act. Two likely sites for a memorial - Chamalières where bills were printed, or Compiègne where the francs began in 1360 - but both refused the honor.

So Franqueville-Saint-Pierre, a small town of 8000 on the outskirts of Rouen, was chosen by the association created for the purpose after all the other places in France with names beginning with 'Franc' had declined the honor.

Next May the association expects to lay the first stone of what will be a 12-metre high, three-winged, tricolor memorial, featuring a four-metre diametre one-franc piece.

The whole thing, which will revolve with the wind, will be located in the centre of a round-about on the Route Nationale 14 that joins Paris to Rouen.

The only remaining problem at the moment is finding enough euros to build the monument and its necessary museum. For fixing up the around-about, constructing the memorial and building the museum, 2.5 million euros will be required.

So far, all possible official donors are deaf. This includes the minister of finance, Laurent Fabius, who enjoys this area as his electoral district.

The association is not giving up on this idea of showing pride in the history of the franc. If they get the money required, they hope to see the inauguration of the memorial on Bastille day, 2002.

Info About Euros

Details about trading-in old francs for euros also 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.

The Election

With 61 whole days left to go until the first round of the national election for Président of France, I think I can skip election news for at least one issue. Tune in next week - for the latest election promises, right here.

Internet Life

After a brief period of 'vanishing' pages chaos it appears as if Metropole's server has settled down to do its thing in a regular manner. Other than this good news, I have no other 'Internet Life' to report this week. This, in itself, may be 'good news.'

Winter's Downhill Re-Runs

It is winter in the mountains somewhere outside of Paris and these now seem to have snow on them. But it is also the period of school holidays in France, so the mountain resorts may be a bit crowded. All the more reason to check out the Web sites below.

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 a plug here in past years, without them ever sending me a thankyou to ensure that I put one in this year.

Winter Weather Alerts

Warnings about impending violent weather that might be dangerous to your health - or on a lesser scale, causephoto: pont st michel you some serious discomfort if you happen to be at sea without a compass or up a snowy mountain without a cheese sandwich - are provided by a service from our friends at France-Météo.

One winter alert for drivers in Paris - the Seine's speedways are underwater.

You are supposed to use this service before you get into situations you won't want to be in. Using it afterwards will not help you at all.

Paris is not an exciting weather area. The alert service is mainly for northern, central, mountainous, eastern, Atlantic coast, southern and offshore areas of France that occasionally 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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