Here's the Winner!

photo: heather and francine caplan

Heather passes the first prize to Francine, the winner.

The Bumper–Sticker Slogan Contest

Paris:– Saturday, 15. May 2004:– Either a co–incidence or a stoke of luck brought the 'France–Is–Okay' bumper–sticker slogan contest winner, Francine Harcourt Caplan, to last Thursday's Café Metropole Club meeting, to become a member and receive the first prize.

Too much of a good thing was spoiled by the club's secretary, who thought he was at the meeting with the first prize in hand, but wasn't. I mean I was there, but the prize I thought I had in my hand, wasn't – it was back in the office lying right under where I thought the prize was when I picked it up on Wednesday, to make sure I wouldn't forget it.

Semi–total dismay at the club meeting later turned to relief when the first prize was found, and all became properly fixed–up yesterday when the first prize was handed over to Francine. A lucky thing too, because the winner intended to use the prize on Sunday.

It just goes to show that, as muddled as club affairs may seem, and as chaotic as the contest appeared at times – in the end everybody except the fifth–place runners–up and the club's secretary emerged from the the dust in one piece.

Thanks are in order to Heather Stimmler–Halltoon: 2cv, suvs for her contributions to the contest. She thought it up and uncovered the fourth–place prizes. Thanks are also due France Montgolfières for providing a useful first prize of a balloon ride over the Loire's châteaux.

Thanks also go to all other winners and all of the contestants who sent in contest slogans. While I'm at it, not to be forgotten are Amy Caplan and Robert Caplan, who escorted Francine the winner to Thursday's club meeting, as well as becoming members of the Café Metropole Club.

What the Contest Was About

There are a whole lot of people who like France a lot and there are some other people who don't like France onetoon: 2cv, truckin little bit. Most of the latter who don't like France have never been closer to it than eating soggy 'French fries' at some candy–colored fastfood joint.

One of the two cartoon prizes for 2nd and 3rd places.

Some of these people who don't like France without knowing anything about it spend part of their time running France and all things French down, and some of them do it with slogans on bumper–stickers.

France is a kind of crazy place, that somehow works. To outsiders it looks like anarchy. To many living here it seems like anarchy too, but a particularly 'French' kind of anarchy – one that can be fun. A sort of organized disorder. 'Fun,' of course, is not appreciated by Puritans, and they like disorder even less.

But it still doesn't answer the question. Why do people who don't live in France slam the French? What is wrong with them?

Francophobia by non–fans of France does not bother me much but it annoys Heather. Her response was to offer the readers of her 'Secrets of Paris' – and 'Metropole Paris' – this contest to come up with a catchy pro–French/ France slogan, short and snappy enough to fit on a bumper–sticker.

The Contestants

In all, 143 slogan entries were received, either by Heather or by myself. For the judging, all the slogans were placed on a four–page ballot, and the organizers and the club members markedphoto: ratp key chain their picks on their individual ballots.

Then we noted which slogans had been picked, and how many times. Slogans with the most votes were put to a vote, to decide 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. Then slogans with the next highest number of votes were voted on one by one, to establish the seven 4th place winners.

And a genuine RATP keychain for the 4th places.

It sounds simple as written here, but at the club meeting members promoted their choices as if they were candidates for mayor of Paris. There were ties, there was haggling and there were compromises. If there hadn't been, we would have taken all night to figure out who should get the 4th place prizes.

All the Slogans

Most of the contest slogans were excellent ideas – but many could have been improved with slight editing. The judges had to work with the slogans on hand as they were. Some judges suggested changes that would have raised a slogan's ranking considerably. In some cases slogans were judged for their sense rather than exact wording.

And the Winners Are...

Here are the winner's names and their winning slogans.



1. Francine Harcourt Caplan

Liberté Started Here

2. James MacNeil

The French Aren't Rude – They Just Treat People the Way They Act

3. Bill Bloom

There Is a Reason Great Americans Live In France

4. Betty & Jerry Blizin

In Seine Over Paris

4. Laurence S. Wechsler

France – Join the Paté

4. Dana Shaw


4. James MacNeil

Paris – Never Out of Style

4. Jeffrey & Denise Widen

Eiffel 4 France, You Will 2

4. John McCulloch

Bastille My Heart

4. Sally Dilgart

France – Because Life Is an Art

horz line
The 'Grand' Prize

graphic: france montgolfieres

France Montgolfières graciously provided a hot–air balloon ride to the number one winner of the bumper– sticker slogan contest. There were three flight locations to choose from – Moret–sur–Loing near Foutainebleau, in the Loire Valley over the great châteaux, or in Burgundy, to fly over Vézelay and the Morvan regional park.

The 'Runner–Up Prizes

The 2nd and 3rd place winners will each receive one of the cartoons used for the opening illustration on the 'contest' pages that appeared in Metropole. The winners can opt for the originals – to be sent slowly by post – or for their digital equivalents.

Heather Stimmler–Hall, the co–organizer of the contest, gathered seven modest runner–up prizes, of which none are absolute trash. 'Not trash' means Parisian and rare – as in, only one – 'of seven' – in the world. All fourth–place winners will get one.


Individual notifications have been made via email. All winners have been asked for their postal mailing address. These will be kept confidential.

Contest Page Note

For this particular contest, this is the final page. The bumper–sticker slogan contest ran over eight or nine weeks, and this page was updated each week. All past weekly versions of this page have been replaced by this page, as it appears now.

The Deadline for Entries Has Passed

This was on Thursday, 22. April 2004. The entries were judged at the Café Metropole Club meeting held in Paris on Thursday, 29. April, and the winners mentioned above were selected by a sort of democratic process.

Send your suggestions for a new contest to Heather at – and/or send other suggestions to 'Ed' at

If you have time, read 'About the Club' to find out how easy and free it is to become a member of the Café Metropole Club unless you are one already. If you aren't, then you can join next Thursday if you are in the mood and in Paris.

Fine–Print Boilerplate

All names of the contestants together with their email and postal addresses remain confidential. Neither of the addresses will be transferred to any third parties. A list of all the winners has been published on the 'Metropole Paris' Web site and the 'Secrets of Paris' Web site and newsletter.

All of the slogans submitted became the joint property of the contest organizers, who will probably file them and forget where. By entering the contest, you agreed to relinquish your right to claim authorship of the slogans, and agreed that the slogans can be used for any purpose by the contest organizers.*

This 'France–Is–Not–Silly' contest has been supported by Metropole and Heather's 'Secrets of Paris' and was sponsored by France Montgolfières.

*Meanie Clause – If you did not agree with the terms above, your entry was subject to disqualification, because neither of the organizers are willing, or can afford to engage in any kind of legal actions. photo: french flag

Cheers from France!

If you have missed out on this opportunity to say what you think about Paris or France I am sure there will be other opportunities, although I don't know when. This contest was your chance to get even with everybody who thinks you are out of your mind to visit France.

Thanks for entering the slogan contest. Send no more entries until the next contest is announced someday. Everybody had a chance to win! Keep yourself current with further contest developments by reading Secrets of Paris and Metropole Paris. A big 'merci' to all participants!
signature, regards, ric

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