The Postman Rings Again

photo: resto louis philippe, quai hotel de ville

A handy bistro, near the beach at the Pont Louis-Philippe.

José Bové Is Getting Thin

Paris:- Monday, 22. July 2002:- Olivier Besancenot, 27, as the Communist Revolutionary League's candidate for Président, received 4.25 percent of the votes cast nationally in the first round of the election and this was a historic high point for his party.

But it was his campaign presence on TV that made him famous, especially to his customers that he serves as a postman in the richest town in France, Neuilly-sur-Seine, just north of the Bois de Boulogne.

Before the election, he was merely the postman with the yellow bicycle, but now when he rings the bell to get a signature for a registered letter, the customers are sometimes surprised. 'You really work?' some of them ask.

Unknown to his customers before the election, on his return to his postal rounds he has been frequently recognized. This sometimes gets him a café 'on the house.'

Mr. Besancenot has also opened a PO Box at his post office to handle his fan mail. But some of his clients are not so nice. One suggested he deliver mail 'in some rotten suburb' elsewhere.

Although he only received .89 percent of the votes cast in Neuilly as a whole, slightly more than one percent of the clients on his route voted for him. He received 210 votes in Neuilly.

It is mere coincidence that Neuilly is also the stronghold of the government's super minister of security, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has promised France about 15,000 more policemen and gendarmes.

José Bové Is Getting Thin

While the rest of France goes aboutphoto: line for ice cream, ile st louis its summer business of doing nothing but have fun, peasant leader José Bové gets up, washes and shaves every morning before the first round of the guards at 06:10 in the Villenouve-lès-Maguelone jail near Montpellier.

For ice cream yesterday, patience was required.

Then he reads something interesting instead of having breakfast. By doing this since turning himself in to the slammer on Wednesday, 19. June, he has shed 11 kilos.

He was visited on Saturday by Noël Mamère, the Greens' leader, who stopped by for a couple of hours before zipping off for four weeks of Corsican sunshine. Mr. Bové is expecting to be released on Thursday, 1. August.

Supporters maintain a solidarity stand outside the prison in its parking lot, but are not allowed to visit. Mr. Bové's arrival at the prison was somewhat unusual because he chose a farm tractor as transportation, and managed to arrive late.

If You Feel Lost

Le Parisien says that 'ambassadors' are available to 'seduce' tourists, but this is a literal translation. In clear,photo: sunbathers, tuileries this year in Paris there are 170 'reception ambassadors' scattered around the city, all of whom speak your language.

There are eight reception posts run by the city and 23 in the RATP's transport network. This is within the framework of 'Votre Eté à Paris,' and if you have any questions just look for the young people wearing the orange jackets.

Not at the beach, but in the Tuileries garden.

Not all of these ambassadors are Parisian university students and not all are even French, but all have been given a 10-day orientation course by the Tourist Office. Their purpose is not only to answer visitors' questions, but also to help visitors discover a less obvious Paris.

New Shortcut

I have good news for all who have faced the incredibly huge trek across either the Pont Royal or the Pont de la Concorde, to get to or from the Musée d'Orsay.

You can now take the shortcut consisting of the Passerelle Solférino over the Seine and its corresponding tunnel under the Quai des Tuileries, to gain access to the left-bank museum or the Tuileries, which is the closest summer oasis..

If you stay mainly on the left bank, here's your chance to make a rapid sortie to the right bank, just to find out how it feels, if you've ever been curious. The tunnel is open daily from 7:20 to 20:30 in summer - which is now, I guess.

Internet Life

The RATP's Souvenir Boutique(s)

A reader who visited Paris only remembered he wanted a Métro t-shirt after returning home, and asked me via email if the métro-oriented souvenirs sold by the RATP at its Châtelet-Les Halles boutique are available online.

photo: passage pont solferinoThe RATP's Song Phanekham has offered a re-done page in English for browsing the shop. He added that you should look for the section named, 'Memorabilia, Souvenir.' At the present time there is no online sales facility, he added.

Looking out from the Tuileries tunnel to the Solférino bridge.

This shop, within the métro/RER station Châtelet-Les Halles, has the widest selection of the well-made and fairly-priced souvenirs.

Smaller collections of the same items can be found at the Tourist Office on the Champs-Elysées and at quite a number of other locations - including other métro or RER stations and at the airports. If the métro is your favorite team, you should look into these items.

The Métro's 'Friends'

In the course of the quest for métro souvenirs, Song Phanekham also kindly sent a list of Web sites done by 'friends' of Paris' métro and buses.

For readers who may be city transport fans, you might want to take a look at the following Web sites:-

Cecile Gendraud's pages look better if you have 'Flash' installed. Our old friends at Bus 38 Online have an attractive Web site where mention is made of grumpy passengers needing to smile more, but Bus 88 is quite a bit more sober. The unofficial RATP Info site by Jean-Christophe Pagès has lots more of everything for bus and métro fans. I think it's all in French but it's worth a look. The Bus Parisiens didn't load because my browser was tired, but give it try too.

Need a Paris Taxi?

While Metropole reader Chris Lawson is trying to lure 'disgruntled' Paris taxi drivers to Goldsboro, North Carolina to work, a Paris taxi company called Cab Taxi is offering a reservation service here that operates 24 hours a day worldwide because it is on the Internet.

Cab Taxi has 100 cars of all sorts, with some taking up to six passengers. They pick up at the airports and train stations, drivers speak English and/or Spanish, and they operate in Lyon as well. You can fax a reservation to 33-4 78 75 07 51 too.

New Paris Web Site

Paris has a new Web URL and it is It was started during the Fête de l'Internet this year and presented as part of 'Paris Ville Numérique,' which has been shortened to 'PARVI.'

I took a quick look at the new Web site, and it seems to be a work-in-progress, with some of the same material as the older visitor-information site, but without any sign of English, because '' is supposed to provide services for residents.

Sports News

The Tour de France

Except for the French Grand Prix on Sunday, all sporting events here other than the Tour de France have been suspended so that everybody can go to the seaside.

For the tens of millions who would rather not, the world's longest bike race has been arranged to take place mostly within the country, where it can be seen by everybody for about 17 seconds.

Yesterday, the 'Tour' had its 14th stage, and today it is taking a rest. This is because Richard Virenque got to the top of Mont Ventoux in the Vaucluse first. Although US Postal's Lance Armstrong was 2'20" behind, he was a allowed to keep wearing the yellow shirt which means he the leading the race.

During-the-Summer Weather Warnings

Paris has never been a thrilling weather area, but summer is here and boring weather may be good news. Littlephoto: sunbathers, ile st louis reason then, to pay attention to France- Météo's warnings unless you are somewhere else in France.

France-Météo's alert service is mainly for northern, central, mountainous, eastern, western Atlantic coast, all types of southern and offshore areas of France - that occasionally or regularly, have more extreme - sometimes dangerous weather, than the Ile-de-France region.

Another beach, on the south side of the Ile Saint-Louis.

If you are curious or want to know more about France's honest mid-summer weather, give the Météo-France Web site a hit, for its short-range forecasts. Check out the warning-prone 'Vigilance-Météo' area on the opening page.

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