Pedestrians Are Dangerous

photo: resto, louis philippe, quai hotel de ville

A handy bistro, near the night-time beach by
the Pont Louis-Philippe.

High Summer Fashion Exclusive

Paris:- Monday, 29. July 2002:- While Paris' heatwave may be of limited duration, it has raised the question of what to wear at sunbathing spots around the city, especially since nearly four kilometres of new beach has been opened to the public.

Actually the fashion news comes from the Riviera, mainly because it is 'in fashion' right now, while the 'left-behinds' in Paris have been caught by surprise - by rare sunshine and new beaches.

For the ladies, Hawaiian patterns on - bikinis, what else? - are 'in' this year, as are fine 'chainettes' slungphoto: climber, paris plage around the hips. Real or fake tatoos are also highly thought of. Perhaps the most essential accessory are sunglasses, and if these cost less than a small car, don't bother.

But if you can't afford the real thing, remember that sunglasses are intended to protect your hair, assuming you have any, and they can be left perched on top, far from your eyes - where the fashion-envious can not see them too well.

The fly-on-wall is really a little kid, on 'Paris Plage.'

While this is pretty standard fare, the fashion people here are determined to make men look like 'dorks.' This requires shrunken-tight shirts from the 70s, and 'pantacourts' - which only reach the calves. A colorful fatigue hat in the style of the Korean War can be completed by rubber flip-flops for the feet.

Almost needless to say, none of this has caught on in Paris. Not yet, but the first wave of southern vacationers has begun returning. Who knows? We may even have another heatwave before September.

Les Piétons en Colère

The Préfecture de Police says that pedestrians are most to blame for traffic accidents to themselves. We do too much jaywalking it seems, and make it impossible for motorists to miss us.

The rules are - only cross streets in crosswalks after looking left then right, only walk when the 'green man' is lit, and stop letting kids play on the sidewalks.

Kids 'playing on the sidewalks' might hinder the scooter messengers who use them to dodge traffic jams or for inconvenient one-way streets. Cars also often park on sidewalks, and might back up over playing kids.

Since a lot of drivers park in the crosswalks at street corners, it seems as of the police mightphoto: golf, 19th hole have gotten the 'rules' a bit wrong. With road traffic taking up 90 percent of thoroughfares, pedestrians are an endangered species in Paris.

The world's only '19th hole' bigger than its golf course.

Looking left and right is vitally important because a lot of drivers habitually run red lights, and they may speed to do so. The new bus lanes sometimes translate into having to cross three or four 'streets' instead of two halves of one - and these sub-streets carry different types of traffic.

Sure, the buses move faster in their own lanes, and so do the hidden taxis and motorcycles that might be following closely behind them.

A group called 'Les Piétons en Colère' staged a mass march down the middle of the Rue de Rennes on Saturday, to Saint-Germain. Although the group only attracted about 50 angry pedestrians, motorists where really annoyed with them and tried to blow them out of the roadway by honking.

Blowing car hours in Paris without reason is against the law, but it is seldom enforced.

Jacques Takes Another Stroll

After receiving the King of Jordan, Abdallah II, at the Elysée Palace for 90 minutes on Friday, at the end of the meeting the Président of France decided to accompany his royal visitor back to his hotel, on foot.

The 200-metre stroll caught journalists who were waiting inside the Elysée for a press conference by surprise, and was something of a surprise to shopkeepers in the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, which was momentarily blocked to traffic. However, some pressmen are lurkers, so the stroll was captured by excited TV-news crews.

One of the best things about being the Président of France is not having to wait for the 'green man' to cross the street, and having a small army of tall sunglass-wearing security agents as a screen - to fend off lady Mini drivers who need to do some urgent shopping.

The assassination attempt on Bastille Day has caused all sorts of upgrading for the Président's security. It is certainly already planned that the Président will take part in next year's Bastille Day parade, but there will be a thick screen of police between him and the public.

A Little Too Hot?

Two whole days do not a heatwave make, but today's Le Parisien was able to find more Parisians slightly annoyed with the weather yesterday than ones who though it agreeable.

Paris somehow beat all of France for a high of 34 degrees yesterday - about 93 F - and this managed tophoto: visitor info kiosk fill up Paris Plage and every other outside place where it was possible to lie around without moving too much.

Oddly, the paper did not ask any of the Tour de France riders if they minded the heat - but they've been racing in the noonday sun in parts of France that were already warmed up to proper summer temperatures.

One of the new info kiosks for visitors, right in front of the Hôtel de Ville.

Because of the higher than normal temperatures, traffic controllers reduced the maximum speed allowed on fast roads around the city by 20 kph on Sunday. But drivers with new, desmogged, cars suggested that all cars older than theirs should instead be parked.

Today the city announced that all residential parking in Paris would be free, to try and induce drivers to use publictransport. All drivers, nevertheless, have some urgent reason for not parking at home.


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