Amélie's Café Changes Hands

photo: seine, bridges, sundown sunday

Here is the view, if you are having a Sunday picnic
on the Pont des Arts.

Unpronounceable 'Tube de l'Eté'

Paris:- Monday, 2. September 2002:- Saturday's story in Le Parisien was picked up by tonight's France-2 TV-news, more or less to reassure fans of the film the 'Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain' that the new owner of 'Les 2 Moulins' café in the Rue Lépic will not change it one tiny bit.

According to the TV report, several local merchants have also benefitted from movie fame - especially if their shops were also filmed - and with screen success, they are perfectly happy to see the café remain as it is.

The present owner, Claude Labbé, had been thinking about retiring for some time, but put it off for the duration of the film project. The sale is not yet final, so the new owner has not be named.

Now that August is over, so is the café'sphoto: cafe, shop, buci annual closure and neighborhood customers are crowding into its 1950-style interior again. Some of the locals say the place should be classified as a 'historical monument.'

Sunday, at cocktail time in the Quartier Latin.

The Rue Lépic quartier will be celebrating its annual 'garage sale' from Friday, 12. October - until Thursday, 21. October, when the film's Audrey Tautou and Jean-Pierre Jeunet are supposed to be on hand for the final festivities.

Adding the lower part of the Rue Lépic to Montmartre's many popular attractions is not expected to diminish the traditional hordes who visit this picturesque area of Paris, but maybe spread them around a bit more widely.

In fact there is still lots of room for expansion - such as the whole stretch of the Rue des Abbesses to the métro station, and the upper part of the Rue Lépic. A couple more slick movies could do the trick.

Sadly to say, I have not seen the entire movie myself so I don't know what it is about. On my last return flight from New York, it was the featured film but the aircraft's broadcasting apparatus was not functioning properly.

I saw the beginning of the 'Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain' eight or twelve times before figuring out how to switch channels to the flight's 'B' movie. If given enough time, I might be able to remember its name too.

World's Biggest Garage Sale

It's called the 'Braderie de Lille' and it starts off with the 'grand déballage' every year on the last Saturday before the return-to-school. This just happened and featured 100 kilometres of display tables, hundreds of thousands of 'treasures' and tons of 'moules-frites.'

It also is the occasion for monster traffic jams. So many people attend - perhaps two or three million bargain hunters - that out-of-town parking is normal. Therefore, it is wise to bring cash, for métro tickets, because in-town ATMs always have very long lines.

Vendors are both amateurs and professionals, both often returning year after year. Some shops put their stocks on the streets too.

There are several sectors within the town with their own specialties. Sellers camp for a much asphoto: cour commerce st andre week at the one along the river Deûle in order to be assured of a place - to sell things like a used car muffler dedicated by Johnny Hallyday.

Steps away from the light flooding the Boulevard Saint-Germain, in the Cour de Commerce Saint-André.

Everyone eats all the moules they can, music plays at night, and there's a 200-unit fun fair for those who can't get enough of an all-day métro-at-rush-hour feeling. Le Parisien's report doesn't say anybody sleeps, or maybe this isn't on the program, or isn't in Lille.

Is It True?

While dozing through breakfast the other day, I think I heard a radio France-Info news item concerning the suspension from office for two weeks of a mayor of a little town in France.

Even of little towns, mayors are the administrative chiefs. One of their jobs is overseeing elections and making sure they are run according to the rules and laws of the land.

During last spring's presidential elections, Socialist leader Lionel Jospin didn't garner quite enough votes in the first round of voting. This led to the second-round run-off, with the two candidates being the out-going Président Jacques Chirac, and the leader of the Front National, Jean-Marie Le Pen.

This left Socialist and Green party supporters with the choice of abstaining - not civic! - or voting 'against' the extreme-right FN by voting for the centre-right candidate, Jacques Chirac.

The mayor in question, possibly a Socialist, arranged for the small town's electorate to be 'disinfected' in some manner after leaving the polling station.

Either the radio report didn't say, or I didn't hear - whether all voters were equally 'disinfected' - because balloting is secret. In any case I have not been able to find any other report about this, so I don't know for sure if I was sleeping at the time or not.

Le Pen - Who?

The end of summer is the time in France when political parties traditionally hold their annual national conventions, usually under the title of 'Universités d'Eté.' The 'Verts' and the Socialists have ben doing this at the seaside, and the FN chose Annecy in the mountains of Haute-Savoie.

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