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Work In August?

photo: terrace la corona

Some August rain last Thursday.

Only Good Intentions

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 16. August 2004:– It doesn't look like Paris is going to experience any heat waves this year. But as soon as I claim that the time for one is past, the weather will probably prove me wrong because it's got something against me

For the moment we are having mixed weather. Slightly more than half of every day is daytime and the rest is nighttime. There are tiny bits of blue sky some days, lots of clouds most days, and on some of these clouds drop lots of rain within short periods. Mostly the temperatures are pleasant enough to be forgettable.

If you get up early enough tomorrow it might be a bit sunny in the direction of the Channel. The rest of the day will be between cloudy and a big nose of rain poking at Paris from the direction of the Bay of Biscay, known more locally as the Golfe de Gascogne, or, Atlantique, for short. The high is supposed to be 23 degrees.

Wednesday is easy. According to the TV–weather news it will be cloudy all day. According to this morning's Le Parisien, it will be raining most of the time, except for brief sunny periods near Disneyland. Since we will be wet, 24 degrees is the compensation.

It might be a bit sunny on Thursday, but it will almost certainly be cloudy at other times. I think it's pretty safe to say that it won't be terrific, unless things get out of hand to the west and it drifts over here. The expected temperature is supposed to be 23 degrees, which is probably about 'average' for August whether anybody likes it or not.

Café Life

Good Intentions

I sit here amid the ruins of good intentions. This was to have been the issue containing the story of the Parisphoto: plaque, colonel rol insurrection that began in ernest on Saturday, 19. August 1944, and ended on Friday, 25. August at 15:30 when German general Dietrich von Choltitz signed the surrender of his troops, ending 50 months of occupation.

Of course the 'liberation' began a bit before 19. August and continued for a while after 25. August, but these dates are the key ones, and are the ones that will be getting most attention here this month.

The whole episode is summed up in the film, 'Is Paris Burning?' I watched it again on Saturday night and noted that it contains a fair amount of cinema footage filmed during the fighting, deftly inserted into the movie. Some of the tanks exploding and some of the fallen Parisians are not actors or special effects.

A lot of material is available about Paris' liberation. The city has produced a free booklet titled, 'Août 1944, Paris Insurgé, Paris Libéré.' This is available at all mairies, including the Hôtel de Ville. The newspaper Le Parisien ordered a second print–run of its special edition, 'Paris Se Libère' and copies should be still available at newskiosks.

These are both fine, although Le Parisien's version is in French. With a cast of millions, and hundreds of major characters, with several army groups, and a movie nearly three hours long – no matter what I do will be too short or too long.

I will err on the side of brevity. I can't help wondering what the weather was like on Saturday, 19. August. I can't figure it out from the photos. It means I can't fix times or certain dates to the photos. Later in thephoto: paris libere panel week it was sunny, especially early in morning in the Place de la Concorde on Friday, 25. August.

Overwhelmed, I give up. Occupied for four years, Parisians finally got tired of it and took their city back. It could have turned out very badly, but there was a lot of luck around.

Paris Libération August 1944 – sixty years ago, after the landings in Normandy, it was Paris' turn to 'liberate' itself in August. Sixty years later, this August marks the anniversary with a grand variety of serious homages, parades, and one big popular 'bal' at the Bastille.

In addition, there are several exhibitions, including 60 columns scattered all around the city to mark significant locations. Although not the final act, the film 'Is Paris Burning?' will be shown on the parvis of the Hôtel de Ville, at 21:30 on Thursday, 26. August. For more details, see the items on the last 'Scène Eté' page.

Headline of the Week

"Travailler en août, quel plaisir..." was on Le Parisien's frontphoto: front page, liberation page today. The guys at the paper are working, having 'Quel Plaisir!' and I am supposed to be doing the same thing.

The paper's point is that fewer and fewer Parisians take the whole month off for their holidays these days, and more and more Parisians work for at least part of the month, and hang out at Paris Plage at lunchtime. The paper een claims that work is fun in August – often because the boss is away. One guy said holidays in October, in Brittany, are often cool.

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