Chirac To Go To New York

photo: march in limours, sunday

The marché on Sunday in Limours.

Ladies Have Better Noses

Paris:- Monday, 10. March 2003:- "Nobody can predict in advance the results of a war. They are seldom positive." So said Président Jacques Chirac on TV this evening, when being questioned by journalists from the two main national TV networks here.

He confirmed his intention to go to New York on Tuesday or Wednesday, to attend a session of the Security Council - saying when it comes to a question of war, the highest political leaders are in the ultimate position of responsibility. Only they are capable of making the most crucial decisions.

In the question and answer session, Mr. Chirac repeated France's position of opposing war while UN weapons inspectors are continuing their task. He added that he thought thephoto: rue roger massive presence of US and British troops in the region of Iraq has probably contributed to Iraq's increasing willingness to cooperate with the UN inspectors.

But he was firm in insisting that the weapons inspections should allowed to continue according to the current resolution - until they are either successful, or the inspectors report to the UN Security Council that Iraq's disarmament is not real.

The Rue Roger in the spring that I don't believe in.

When asked about France's possible veto of a new UN resolution calling for an immediate war, the French president said that the UK and the United States had used vetoes many times in the past, without causing permanent damage to the UN system.

He also said - emphasizing 'today' - that he doubted that a new resolution would get a majority of Security Council members behind it. But if it did, he said he did not think France would be the only permanent member of the Security Council to veto the new resolution.

He repeated several times that 'war' was the worst choice, while also saying that France was not a pacifist country - not today, and not in history.

All of the president's statements conformed to the line taken by French diplomacy in recent weeks - that there is no need for war with Iraq as long as the UN weapons inspectors are reporting to the Security Council that Iraq is being disarmed, however slowly.

Full Noses for Ladies

The recent Salon des Grands Vins let loose a new wave of media attention concerning wine connoisseurs who claim to have better noses than men, because they use them more for fine things - such as perfume and food.

In a poll, 41 percent of the ladies said they wanted to be consulted about choices of wines, and 38 percent of men said they thought it was aphoto: old, closed shop good idea to have the cook have a say about what could go best with a meal.

An older closed shop - probably one that didn't sell wines.

For volume, most wine is sold in big shopping centres, and women already buy three bottles out of five sold in these places. Since they get to decide about so much else that lands of French tables, they want more say when it comes to choosing wines.

It is pretty much agreed that women have a more acute sense of taste and smell, and many more women are exercising these senses with skill.

Sandwiches Gain Popularity

According to a report in Le Parisien, the French consume 765 million sandwiches per year. The paper recently ran a taste test on seven models. Of those tested, only one was rated 'excellent,' two were rated 'not bad,' three were rated 'average' and one flunked the test completely.

Ready-made sandwiches have risen in popularity here because of the 35-hour work week. With so much increased free time, nobody has time to spend it eating. Slowly.

Safe Travel Better than None

Every year there is a big salon featuring travel ideas and destinations at Paris-Expo. The purpose of it is to have all offers in one place, in front of hordes of potential customers - who even pay to get in, pay to expose themselves to every temptation.

This year, because of an unstable geopolitical situation, some destinations are less desirable than others. Other destinations which have only an average attraction in normal years, are seeing increased interest.

For example, the French Antilles, which have been getting a bad press recently, are receiving a lot more bookings than, say, Iraq. Travellers who are seeking absolute security in foreign lands can't go wrong by choosing dozy Switzerland.

In general, holidayers who aren't avoiding foreign countries altogether, are choosing countries considered to be 'safe.' Some adventurous souls are betting against the house, and doing the opposite because they are buying into dumping prices.

For the aid of French travellers, Le Parisien has published a map that indicates countries that are 'sure' or are 'risky.' All of Western Europe is free of risk, and so is all of North American except for the United States and its state of Alaska.

In the Middle East, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria are thought to be less risky than Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Israel. Libya gets a thumbs-up, but not Tunisia and Algeria.

Finally, France itself is in a special category. It is neither white for 'risky' nor gray for 'no risk.' France is colored black, but the map's legend has no explanation for this category.

Travel operators are saying that a lot of clients are taking a 'wait and see' stance. Other say that there are customers who may have already booked their trips to desert lands, but may end up in Finland at the last moment - like they did in 1991.

A Destination In the 'Black'

Paris and the Ile-de-France saw a slight rebound of visitors in 2002, with an increase of 2.3 percent over 2001 figures. These numbers are always sketchy because they are based on overnight stays in hotels, and do not count Metropole readers who own or rent apartments here.

The official number for 2002 is 28.7 million visitors, with only 60 percent actually counted as overnighters in hotels. The figure also includes residents of France from outside the region.

As it does every year the Tour Eiffel tops the Parisian most-visited list, with 6.16 million visitors in 2002, followed by the Louvre with 5.72 million paying art seekers. For freebies, the Notre-Dame cathedral is the winner with 12.5 million visitors, followed by Saint-Denis with eight million sightseers. In all of the Ile-de-France, it is Disneyland, another pay-per-view attraction, that is absolute top of the pops with 13.1 million paid entries.

For foreigners visiting Paris, Americans are in the lead - although 12.5 percent less than in 2001 - followedphoto: fiat 500 by Britons and Japanese. If I remember correctly, the numbers for France as a whole are quite a bit different - with other Europeans outnumbering any offshore nationalities.

And here is... this week's only 'Fiat 500 of the Week.'

But as long as we are dealing with vague kinds of numbers, Paris estimates that the average visitor spends 171 euros per day. The hotel costs most with a bill for 57 euros per day, followed by 44 euros for shopping and food and drink bring up the rear with a daily outlay of 43 euros. Transport costs five euros on average, and 84 percent goes to the RATP for métro-bus tickets.

Despite all this positive news, the official Tourist Office, which has been on the Champs-Elysées for 30 years, is going to move because of a tripling of its rent. This could come as early as this summer, but may not be until next year.

Fish Sports News

While International Women's Day was being celebrated on Saturday, the six-month trout fishing season opened in France. Actually, the season doesn't begin in the Ile-de-France and some other northern departments until the 4th Saturday in the month.

Open for fishing are only the 1st-category rivers, usually thought to contain trout or salmon. These rivers may be few, because only 10 percent of rivers in France are judged to be ecologically correct, while 61 percent are considered merely 'average.'

Last year nearly 1.5 million fishing licenses were purchased. A 'complete' fishing license, allowing all types of fishing, costs between 54 and 80 euros, depending on the department where it is issued.

Sport fishing is generally done in the mornings, followed by a picnic. Fishing may be resumed in the afternoon, but it kind of depends on what amounts of refreshments were consumed during the picnic.

Other Wet Sports News

For the first time in 152 years, a Swiss boat has won the America Cup sailing trophy. This is also the first time in the history of the competition that the winners have even been European, thus ensuring that the next round of the prestige competition will be held in waters next to the 'old continent.'

New Zealand supporters glumly applauded, while a small contingent from Switzerland rang joyous cow-bells as the huge pot was passed from the losing team to the winners.

Team New Zealand, led by Tom Schackenberg, vowed to get the pot back in 2006, when the competition will next be held somewhere nifty in European waters, close to zillions of free-spending tourists.

On this side of the equator, the competition has started - to decide exactly where Switzerland will chose to defend the trophy. Marseille, Sète, Toulon-Hyères and even Saint-Tropez are the hopefuls in France.

The Swiss team trained at Sète in the summer of 2001, and this will be the home port of the French team, led by Stephan Kandler.

Other ports will be trying to capture the races. These include Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Genoa, and Cascais in Portugal. Switzerland, although it has a large ocean-going fleet on the high seas, has no deep sea ports.

Our Flying Friends

Largely unnoticed by the Daguerrotypistas recently, was the inauguration of a rooming house for pigeons in the Rue Vercingetoix near the Porte de Vanves.

The ceremony was attended by the mayor of all Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, and the mayor of the 14th, Pierre Castagnou, and other high-rankers such as Yves Contassot and Yves Cochet.

The mayor announced that 'family planning'photo: marche, limours for pigeons in Paris was now a reality. The pigeon's 'maisonette' sits on top of a three-metre high pole, that looks a bit like a wooden church with four round entries.

The spice, nuts and olives stall at the marché in Limours on Sunday.

The bird-house contains 75 gray pigeons captured in the 14th arrondissement. They have been interned for five weeks, until they get used to their new home. The whole effort is designed to convince the pigeon-couples to only have one set of chicks per year, instead of six or eight.

Also, the idea is to get the pigeons used to staying in one place instead of doing their thing all over everywhere. If the experiment is successful, other apartment buildings for pigeons will be erected all over the city.

Meanwhile, this is supposed to inspire residents to get rid of stray pigeon nests - and to quit feeding the birds. There is now a fine of 450euro 3 sign for doing so. There are an estimated 80,000 free-range pigeons in the city.

Online Weather Warnings

We are in a weak grip of spring now and it seems to be going about it about as seriously as in any past year, which is not 'seriously' at all. France-Météo's online alert service is very short-term. Its level '3' and '4' warnings are changed to colors for TV presentation, with orange indicating 'beware.'

Mainly these warnings will about areas beyond the area of the Ile-de-France. But spring is spring and even Paris is not completely immune to it.

If you are curious or need to know more about France's tentative spring weather, give the Météo-France Web site a hit, for its short-range forecasts.

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