We Think Singing in the Métro is Fun

bar Palace des 2 Moulins
Of course, there's not quite the variety of drinks as you find in a café.

Other People Think Finding Buried Treasure is Fun Too

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 1. December 1997:- Week after week I have to read all this grisly news in order to find some little gems for amusement and some weeks it is a bit thin for lightness and a bit heavy for 'Faits Divers.'

A couple of weeks ago the ongoing story of the trial of Maurice Papon drifted out of Le Parisien's 'major crimes' pages and found itself in the catch-all area of 'Faits Divers' and so I put him there too.

An alert reader in Paris spotted this and wrote to ask if I wasn't being a bit ironical or light-hearted about it, and he was perfectly right to call me on it. If I ran Le Parisien I would have chucked some grisly murder out of 'Faits Divers' to make room for Maurice Papon.

The trial is sleepy at the moment but if I read the signs correctly, it is not going away and the judicial authorities are determined to see it through - no matter how long it takes.

This may be a long time despite Maurice Papon being 87 years old. According to medical experts there is nothing much wrong with him except advanced age.

If you feel this may exonerate him in some way, just consider that as a state administrator, he was instrumental in causing a good number of French people - not to have any advanced age, and some children, practically no age at all.

The RATP Takes Artistic Control of Métro Tunnels

Twice a year the RATP sends a one-man video and sound crew into the métro tunnels to make audition tapes of hopeful performers who wish to carry out their profession Mextec parking entrance on - or should I say in - RATP property.

The purpose of the auditions is to decide who to issue permits to; to decide who will get the licenses that permit performing in the métro tunnels. There are a total of 200 permits to be issued and since some performers abandon theirs for other venues, there are new applicants all the time for the vacancies.

How's this for the entrance to a parking garage - this one's at Champerret.

I never realized the RATP was so fussy, and maybe they are not anything more than the usual sort of bureaucratic controls freaks. All the same, some of the métro's performers are high-class and I for one welcome their presence - especially if it is a good musician at the end of a very long, winding tunnel.

A France 2 TV-news clip showed the RATP's video man in action filming a ballerina and a Rumanian duet of musicians who had 13 years' worth of conservatory training.

The permit to perform is not attached to a particular spot, but I have see certain performers in the same tunnel at the same place, year in and year out. If it is a good spot, they have to get there early. The ballerina said she made three or 400 francs in her three-hour underground sessions; which helps to pay for dancing lessons.

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 depend on this for a living but it has one advantage over playing the Loto endlessly: it does not cost anything to bend over.

Last week 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.

Papa and son got down on their hands and knees and after digging around 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.


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