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Happy Birthday, Jacques!

photo, champs elysees, 26 november

On the Champs–Elysées on Friday night.

The Headline of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 29. November 2004:– Even if it is true you are not expected to believe that this years November weather is more November– like than many past Novembers have been. We have cold, we have gray, we have drizzle and rain, we have nighttime and daytime, and we even have some sunny periods although they are brief.

We have, in short, November's whole kit and caboodle of weather possibilities. It's refreshing to be able to tell you that weather can be as crummy here as in other famous crummy–weather spots, such as Brussels or Reims. Paris, when it drizzles!

So fine. After plumbing the depths down to 3 degrees overnight the mercury will bound up to seven degrees tomorrow sometime, possibly in the afternoon. Since it will be mostly cloudy in the morning you might not notice it becoming afternoon, when it will be almost as cloudy, with maybe some feeble attempts at semi–bright periods.

Tonight's TV–weather man said, "Be optimistic!" What else should he have said when Wednesday's temperature is not supposed to top 5 degrees. This low and nobody cares what the low will be. Most of France will be covered with clouds, with a narrow band sweeping from the Channel to the southeast where there might be some sunny periods.

All the clouds need to do is drift a bit further north, or the clouds a bit further north be a bit further south, and eh voilà, no room left for the sun to peek out, briefly or otherwise. Thursday is forecast to be plain cloudy, with winds batting down the Channel at 60 kph. Optimism holds out for a high of 8 degrees, and so does pessimism.

Café Life

Treasure Might be Right at Your Feet

I have often observed that one way of getting money in France is to simply bend down and pick it up. You can't dependphoto, cartier, champs emysees on this for a living but it has one advantage over playing the Loto endlessly: it does not cost anything to bend over.

In the last week of November 1997 a driver and his 26–month old son were walking in the forest of Montmorency near the Fortress of Domont looking for chestnuts when the little kid spotted something shiny. It was a piece of silver.

Treasures on the Champs–Elysées, right in Cartier's window.

Papa and son got down on their hands and knees and after digging around a bit through the fallen leaves and soft earth, brought 405 other pieces of silver to light, perhaps for the first time since 1651 – which was the date of the newest coin.

In addition to a few Spanish Reals, the coins were minted between 1569 and 1651 and they marked the reigns of Henri II, Henri III, Henri IV, Louis XIII and Louis XIV. The value of the coins was estimated at 250,000 francs.

Since the coins were found completely by chance, the man and the boy get to keep them by giving half to the owner of the land; in this case the mayor of the commune where they were found. This find coincides with the 900th anniversary of the town of Dormont.

But don't bother to bring your metal detector to France. If you are a real prospector, you do not get to keep what you find and the owner of the land gets nothing either – the state takes it all – I suppose on the ground that the French state owns it and all the air in the sky.

Napoléon Day Coming Up

This used to be an item further down the page in the silly department but the 'countdowns' got sentphoto, cirque car, peugeot to New Argentina, so I just want to point out for coronation fans that Napoléon's anniversary for his is next Thursday, 2. December.

Another treasure – Peugeot's 'circus' car.

Tonight's TV–news went out of its way to say that this is not a big occasion in France, and showed a reenactment of the battle of Austerlitz being staged in the Czech Republic with many uniforms, roast oxen and fire and smoke. It looked quite thrilling except for the part of showing a reenactment of an amputation.

You can ignore TV's wisdom and consult Metropole's Scène page for Napoléon events. I haven't done this myself recently, but I seem to remember that there were about three events happening in Paris or nearby.

Search Me

Try out the new search and site map page when you get a chance. The link to it can be accessed from the navigation line at the top and bottom of some pages.

Should you do a search for 'kitchen sink' in Metropole you will find the first occurrence of it in an old 'Diary' entry with a dateline of Monday, 20. May 1996. Out of about 4500 pages you can find other interesting phrases like 'bungaloo' in seconds. This makes Metropole suitable for playing parlor games along the lines of 'what isn't in here?' Please report all strange behavior – other than your own – mistakes, and bungaloos to me.

Headline of the Week

Mondy's Le Parisien wins the prize hands–down again, with "Sarkozy: à droitephoto, narco, champs elysees toute" this morning. Nicolas Sarkozy 'won' the election to become the new president of the UMP party yesterday. He was already unofficial president because the vote took place last week, but there had to be a reason to spend five or seven million euros for a big party, to celebrate his ascension.

Cinema poster is for a movie about sleep.
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