horz line

Is France Burning?

photo, rue de la huchette

Saturday night in the Quartier Latin.

Fusion Bonanza Snagged

Paris:– Monday, 4. July 2005:– The annual multi–day summer holiday departure began for Parisians on Friday and they were flooding airports and train stations in massive droves with their towels, snorkels, iPods and digital cameras as if there is never a ray of blessed sunshine in this city fatigued by ten months of massive traffic jams, huge street demonstrations and erratic transit strikes.

Train spokesmen said they expected to ship out 1.2 million Parisians over the weekend without the slightest hitch and airports expected to handle another 700,000 passengers. In order to smooth the way all unions were on the job, as a favor for the several thousand train workers going on holidays.

No traffic jams were reported for the major autoroutes leading out of the city on Friday because these were scheduled for Saturday. However TV–news reported that police in the sky were watching traffic patterns carefully and radio–controlled cops on the ground were handing out violation tickets with gay elan. Real cops were assistedphoto, film trucks, louvre by robot radars to detect speeders, and real cops lurked near tollbooths on the lookout for overweight holiday vehicles, often driven by workers and families returning to the Atlas in Morocco.

Some of the fleet of trucks necessary for the filming of the 'Da Vinci Code' at the Louvre.

In the case of the runaway Renault that took a hapless driver on a wild ride at 195 kilometres per hour for 200 kilometres before he could get it stopped, a court decided on Friday to agree with Renault – that there was nothing wrong with the car. The auto manufacturer insisted that the driver did something wrong. The driver, who had already driven the car 30,000 kilometres, continues to think the car tried to kill him. Other similar cases have not been heard by the courts yet.

Bike fans will got their thrill of the year when this year's Tour de France started on Saturday. The race, which lasts three weeks and wanders all around and up and down France, features Texan Lance Amstrong as an odds–on favorite to win, for the seventh time, which will be a record. The racer said before the start that he wasn't in it for the record, but for the last time.

On Thursday 30 big trucks were parked outside the Louvre, signalling the begin of a month of filming of the best–selling fiction by Dan Brown, the Da Vinci Code. The museum remains open with most of the filming being done at night, but the other location will be outside the Saint–Sulpice church because the Vatican doesn't like the book.

For the eighth year in a row TV–news reported that the number one holiday sport of the French is walking around. This is a sport that can be done by all ages and both sexes during the morning, afternoon or night, at the seaside, on farms or in the mountains, all within France or on Corsica. TV–news showed elaborate gear for doing this, but neglected to mention that it could be done without leaving town and with no gear at all.

Minister of the Interior, Nicolas Sarkozy, has been annoying residents of a Paris suburb by sending in 200 heavilyphoto, seine, sundown saturday, armed black–clad police to 'clean up the place.' The cops found nothing and no arrests were made. Next he said magistrates in another case should be 'made to pay' for letting 15 gang defendants go – released because of a legally–tainted investigation. On Friday 200 magistrates and attorneys held a protest demonstration in front of Paris' Palais de Justice.

A vision of a boat cruise on the Seine Saturday night.

On the domestic front Thursday's Le Parisien wondered if Cécilia Sarkozy would be rejoining her husband after returning from taking two of her sons to Disneyland in Florida. According to Swiss papers the famous couple have not been getting on well, but this has only recently been noticed by papers in Paris. Madame Sarkozy was her husband's right–hand man during his first stint at Interior and later at the Ministry of Finance. She has been quoted as saying that she does not wish to be a 'first lady,' a reference to Monsieur Sarkozy's desire to become president of France in 2007.

Meanwhile, as Parisians set off for a summer of sand, surf, sex and fun, the annual July 1st price hikes were announced. National health insurance reforms came into effect, rising medical bills. The state gas monopoly is also upping its rates, in anticipation of selling itself to capitalists. Train and transit fares also rise Friday as equally anticipated. On the other side of the coin, some forms of social benefits went up slightly, as did the minimum wage and there was a half–point raise for civil servants. The usual protests are expected in September when everybody gets back.


Continued on page 2...
Go to page : 1 - 2
In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini