Some Non-News of the Week

photo: luxembourg gardens, saturday

Missing the palms at 'Paris Plage?' Find them in
the Luxembourg garden.

Is Better than None at All

Paris:- Monday, 26. August 2002:- I had quite a number of ambitions for today's column of 'news from France,' but by the time I've gotten around to it I find that I am out of time again, without it being due to watching television.

I am not an admirer of C. Northcote Parkinson's Law, because I seem to be particularly susceptible to it. In case you have not heard of it, the part that concerns me and this column is, 'Work expands to fill the time available,' which I hope is self-explanatory because I don't need any more 'expansion.'

While I'm at it, I would say that the 'Peter Principle' is also at work against me, but I can't remember whatphoto: fiat 500 of the week it is exactly, other than I had Professor Peter for an electricity instructor quite some time before he formulated his famous 'Principle,' which explains something vital about life, if I recall correctly.

Even in summer, there are still 'Fiat 500s of the Week' in town.

During the summer, which is still with us - barely - France puts on its shows all over the country so a fair amount of each night's evening TV-news is devoted to festivals in far-off places like Arles - which I've picked at random because I can spell it - or Versailles, where there are huge Louis XIV-style spectaculars going on.

None of the above has anything to do with the following item, which is included merely as an example of what can happen when young people feel like obeying the law, instead of going over the border to Italy to do something that is illegal in France but not there.

Raving In France

After the law passed on Friday, 3. May, against unauthorized 'Rave Parties,' the first legal one took place over the weekend near the hamlet of Tréogan, in the Côtes-d'Amor.

Some of the 119 local inhabitants were upset by this before it even started, and spray-painted 'Maire dictateur, dealer' on the walls of the city hall.

The organizers of the rave-party, who expected no more than 1500 lunatics to show up, werephoto: arc carrousel somewhat surprised when the crowd of non-stop frenzy-seekers topped 20,000 on Saturday night - according to estimates made by firemen - and 16,000 were still at it on Sunday.

A slightly misleading photo - 478 visitors are momentarily not in it.

The only casualties were reported to be 500 chickens, who died of fright on account of having a powerful sound system placed too close to their coop. The angry owners of the chickens placed some of the corpses in front of the Mairie to signal their displeasure with their local government.

Sports News

The Ladies Tour de France

Probably because of the summer's frenzy, I failed to be aware of the Tour de France for ladies - until it was won with a lead of 33 seconds by Zinaida Stahurskaia on Sunday, 18. August.

The 14-stage event, which concluded with a whirlwind finish on the Avenue Foch, saw Ms. Liungskog of Sweden arrive in second place and Ms. Somarriba of Spain come in third, one minute and 50 seconds behind the leader.

Score for 'Paris Plage'

Not to be considered sports news exactly, and certainly not a gadget for the bourgeois bohèmes - 'bobos' for short - the score for the short season of 'Paris Plage' has been estimated at two million visitors by the Hôtel de Ville.

Considering that the weather was not always summer-like and no explanation has been given for how the total wasphoto: windows, cour caree calculated, the city seems to have every intention of bringing out its parasols and deckchairs again, 11 months from now - and an announcement about next year from city hall is expected at the end of the month.

In the Louvre's Cour Carée.

An investigation by Le Parisien has discovered that 'Paris Plage' is not yet mentioned in any published guides to the city, even though it was mentioned on the Tourist Office's Web site back 'in May,' and also in the 13. May edition of Metropole.

At a press conference for cultural affairs on Tuesday, 18. June, 'Paris Plage' was hardly mentioned either - compared to the build-up given for the upcoming 'White Night,' scheduled to begin on Saturday, 5. October.

All of this is somewhat strange. The event was held in the summer of 2001, although without the parasols, deckchairs and sand - and has had countless freelance ads for it sprayed on walls around Paris for years.

Could it be that it required Parisians and visitors alone made it a success, with only a little help from Metropole? Now that Paris has shown the way, which will be the next major non-seaside city to try it out?

Internet Life

France Is Different

This is not really an 'Internet News' item, but you are reading this and some of the things you see here might make you think that France isn't quite like any other place.

And so it shouldn't be. France is supposed to be France, the people who reside here are supposedphoto: doorway, rue monsieur le prince to be mostly French, and these characteristics go for Paris too - where quite a few Parisians are French.

Some people who visit here can whiz through their visits without hardly realizing that most people around them are French and not be any the wiser. Other visitors, especially if they are staying for extended periods, can be quite surprised to find that they do not seem to understand the French, because the French are French.

A half-invitation from a doorway in the Quartier Latin.

Polly Platt has lived here since 1967, and has taken a long time to figure out - sometimes the hard way - exactly what are the differences between the French and the 'rest of is.'

Her main point is - when she isn't being funny - is that the seminars she has concocted from her experiences can drastically reduce the time it takes to figure out how things tick in France.

Getting on a fast-track could spare you a lot of unnecessary social fumbles and increase the pleasure of living in France instead of in a fog of misunderstanding.

If this alone doesn't seem sensible enough for you, simply understanding the French better than you do now, can save you money too.

Polly emphasizes this aspect, and it might be the bottom line for some people - but I think greater understanding leads to tolerance, and this is handy to have at all times, everywhere.

If you are curious or interested, just give Polly's Web site a look.

I haven't put in this plug for Polly's seminars because she is a Café Metropole Club member, which she isn't, but because George Bush would never take one of her seminars. He is simply too busy learning how to be a cowboy to read her 'French or Foe' or 'Savoir Flair.'

Foucault Tunes In

When I first met Foucault he was 'at leisure' between wall jobs. Since jobs of painting murals on 300-metre-long walls do not come along regularly, Foucault spent a lot of his time painting canvases of a more reasonable size, and taking a lot of photos.

I moved quite far away from his neighborhood, but over the years managed to drop in on him once in a while to see what he was up to and have a café.

Although living in Paris is not as far away as I used to be, I have few other reasons to go to Sèvres. Thephoto: music bandstand, luxembourg last time I saw him he told me he had acquired a computer, but hadn't gotten past the game stage with it.

Calm music in the Luxembourg garden, for sit-down 'ravers.'

Doing big walls takes a lot of careful advance planning, so I'm not particularly surprised that it has taken some years for Foucault to put his walls and photos online.

He has just written that he hopes I will contemplate his first and new Web site and offer my 'valued judgement.' This I will do, but because of the times spent with him in the Bar Central in Meudon-Bellevue, I think you should take a look too. Give Foucault a hit today.

During-the-Summer Weather Warnings

Paris is seldom a thrilling weather area, but for excitement, there is good reason to pay attention to France- Météo's warnings, if you intend to be elsewhere 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 really dangerous weather - than the Ile-de-France region.

If you are curious or need to know more about France's so-called late 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.

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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