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 been doing this at the seaside, and the FN chose Annecy in the mountains of Haute-Savoie.

Jean-Marie Le Pen, the FN's 74-year old leader saved his appearance for the last day, to announce that he has no intention of retiring - not for the regional and European elections in 2004, and, 'why not?' - not for the next presidential elections in 2007.

The reason, he said, is that otherwise voters will have no choice except for the 'Chirac's PS-of-the-right' and the 'PS-of-the-left.' He thinks that French voters will want an alternative, 'sooner or later.'

Mr. Le Pen therefore thinks that it is high time for the FN to become better known, to 'humanize' itself, instead of letting the press continue to treat it as a 'pariah.'

According to Le Parisien's report, Mr. Le Pen said, "The FN is not a national-socialist party, and France is not Nazi Germany."

Meanwhile, more excitable members of the FN were berating journalists for accurately quoting another slip of the tongue made by Marine Le Pen, Mr. Le Pen's daughter.

While the FN works hard on its communications efforts, it will also lose 1.5 million euros in state funds for political parties, because it didn't gather enough votes to qualify for the government's election aid. Some party workers will probably have to be laid off.

And the Winner Is...

Each summer in France there is some pop ditty that makes it to the top, and this is played non-stop wherever there are radios, car radios, café music systems or in 'discos' - which is everywhere, except in churches. The generic name of this annual bit of summer music is, 'Tube de l'Eté.'

This year's number one was titled, 'Aserejé,' and was characterized as 'flamenco-pop.' Apparentlyphoto: chair, rue beaux arts it was the hit of the season in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Holland and in sixth place on the charts in Latin America.

The Spanish group Las Ketchup was responsible for it, and it was similar in simplicity to previous years' tubes such as 'La Macarena' by the Spanish Los del Rio group and 'La Mayonesa' by the Uruguayan group, Chocolate.

A free, Sunday seat in the Rue des Beaux Arts, with no takers.

The 'Daughters of the Tomato' as the group from Cordoba are known - 'Las Hijas del Tomate' - simply translated a hip-hop hit by the Sugar Hill Gang into phonetic Spanish. This turns into being the story of Diego, a 'rumbero' whose preferred pastime is spent in discothèques dancing to songs like 'Aserejé.'

The report adds that 'Diego' doesn't speak English, so he 'invents' his version of 'I said hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop hop, a you dont stop the rock it to me baby bang bang boogie say up the jim-jam' or something similar. Small wonder the newspaper report says it is unpronounceable in French.

Anyone for Sports?

Yesterday, the town of Carcassonne was treated to the first corrida in France since 1954, which including the killing of the bulls - which was shown on Sunday night's TV-news. Playing it safe, Le Parisien reported it today on one of its 'Vivre Mieux' pages.

As such, the report is mostly about the 170 'anticorrida' demonstrators who picketed the outside of the temporary bullring, carrying signs saying 'Corrida Torture,' 'Carcassonne Ville de Sang' and 'Assassins Assassins.'

Police were on hand yesterday to keep tempers from getting over-heated, but somebody set off a bottled-gas bomb in the arena's parking lot Saturday night. There was no damage done, and Le Parisien made no report about Sunday's bullfights in its 'sports news' pages today.

Internet Life

This section has only one tiny item, and it is for people who may be on long stays in Paris and feel a bit homesick. Check out the Web site for the Fédération Française de Base-Ball, Softball et Cricket if this is what you are missing.

More about baseball and softball can be found out by calling 'Les Patriots' club, at 01 41 47 84 92. For 'soft' footballphoto: cafe le conti, buci for kids, contact 'First Flag' at 01 42 03 23 07. Rough and tough football is played by 'Les Colosses d'Asnières.' For this, call 01 03 15 16 95. For cricket, but also baseball, call the 'PUC,' and ask for Emile Dubot, at 01 49 57 03 88.

But many takers, on all of the terraces near Buci-Saint-André.

There are supposed to be 300 cricket players near Paris, and something like 9000 American-style football players in clubs around France. And, if you are well-heeled, you can contact the Polo Club de Paris at 01 44 14 10 00.

Strictly speaking, with all these phone numbers, this is not exactly 'Internet Life.' But we all know that the people who do these things to us are trying to put the Internet into phones and phones into the Internet, so well and why not?

End-of-Summer Weather Warnings

Paris is seldom a thrilling weather area, etc., etc - but the weather has been acting odd recently, at unexpected times and in unexpected places. France-Météo's alert service is vert short-term, and its warnings should be taken seriously.

Truly dangerous weather in France is mainly outside of Paris in northern, central, mountainous, eastern, western Atlantic coast, all types of southern and offshore areas of France.

If you are curious or need to know more about France's early fall 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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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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