Rooting for Paris on the 4th of July
Parler Paris–your taste of life in Paris and France
Monday, July 4, 2005
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
The hard rain and the cool air is a refreshing change this morning from the hot, sun that blanketed Paris this past week. Saturday night was warm and balmy. The café tables next to the whimsical Igor Stravinsky fountain next to the Centre Georges Pompidou were filled. Kids running, giggling and splashing water from the fountain played a game to torture their parents and it helped cool the atmosphere.
On the “parvis” of the Mairie of the 3rd Arrondissement, a couple hundred people sat patiently on plastic chairs in front of a large screen in total darkness as the technician tried to repair and restart the film “Gladiator” that was part of its “Festival Soirs d’Eté” program. On rue Eugène Spuller outside the gates, chess players were maneuvering giant pieces around a board I’d estimate to measure 2.5 X 2.5 meters. There’s something going on there, free of course, all Summer long. For more information click here.
Today’s change in weather wouldn’t make for a good July 4th barbecue, that is if we had a place to barbecue. One American friend uses his elegant Marais “hôtel particulier” courtyard to host summer parties, much to his neighbors’ dismay, but he laughs and says “tant pis.” Instead, I opted for an intimate hamburger “pig-out” with American friends, the burgers cooked in an iron skillet made from fresh ground beef. It’s a tradition I’ve held now several years, complete with all the fixin’s, including brownies, watermelon and Coca Cola. Delicious and satisfying…a tiny taste of the good ol’ U.S. of A.
I’ve seen lots of email flying around among Americans looking for some place to gather to celebrate July 4th together. One wrote “Is it too obvious to suggest celebrating on the 14th with the rest of Paris?… although I suppose that since I now consider the 4th just to be another July day, I’m no longer an ‘Expat’ despite the blue cover on my passport.”
Parisians are starting to already exit the city by the droves headed for their Summer vacations and Bastille Day celebrations. I noticed the acute change as I boarded the 96 bus Saturday in the direction of Gare Montparnasse that there were more suitcases in the aisles than people. There were also several people in wheelchairs, taking advantage of the handicapped-friendly buses. Paris is leveling out its pedestrian paths more and more, as curbs are getting shorter and rolling along becomes a smoother ride…for roller blades, wheel chairs, suitcases, shopping carts and anything on wheels. Newly renovated intersections have been given a slight rise — a sort of speed bump, that puts the street on the same level as the curb and naturally slows down the vehicle.
Meanwhile, the city anxiously await’s Wednesday’s decision by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) to choose one of the five candidate cities (London, Madrid, Moscow, New York or Paris) for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The vote takes place in Singapore by a secret ballot held among all IOC members and will be televised, the announcement made at 12:30 p.m. Paris time. All of Paris will be watching — for France, hosting the Games would mean seeing 42,000 lasting jobs created and an increase in GDP of 35 billion euros over a seven- year period, not to mention the immense prestige to have been chosen!
With a win, the celebration Wednesday night in the streets of Paris could rival the fanfare from the win of the World Cup France took in 1998. I hate to think how the city will react if a rival city takes the bid.
No offense, New York, but we Parisians with the blue cover passports are rooting for Paris!
A la prochaine…
P.S. Be sure to read Wednesday’s Parler Paris Previews Community Calendar for what’s in store the rest of the Summer…Bastille day, Paris Plage and more.
P.P.S. Mark July 12th on your calendar to have a coffee or drink with us at Parler Paris Après Midi — the last one for the Summer. Visit /parlerparis/apresmidi.html for details.
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Rooting for Paris on the 4th of July
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