The City of Light…Glowing Lamps on the Pont de l’Archevêche Behind Notre Dame
Shedding Light on the City of Paris
Parler Paris–your daily taste of life in Paris and France
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
There are days there is simply too much to write about. This is one of them. This morning the inbox was just too overloaded with fascinating information that should be passed on to our readers.
Yesterday at Parler Paris Après Midi we welcomed a smaller group than usual, but several newcomers: PATRICIA MITCHELL, a Canadian who’s daughter is studying in Paris and who is investigating options for staying here…BARBARA LIFSHEN, an old friend from San Antonio who is sharing quarters with SANDY ZAYAS in her 10 square-meter apartment on the Ile Saint-Louis (I promise to take pictures and tell you all about it very soon!)…RICHARD MOWE, a Scot, a journalist and a Film Festival Director…MARLA CAPLAN, a 16-year 6-month resident of Paris (the other 6 months in San Francisco) living with her pup in the 7th with a view of the Eiffel Tower…and ERIK and MURIEL FALVEY who moved to Paris to get away from America for a while (Muriel is French). our IL Paris Assistant came to lend a hand and take the pictures…so to see them and learn more about the afternoon visit the site at /parlerparis//apresmidi.html. Yes, we’ll be there December 23rd, so I hope all of you will come and celebrate the start of the holiday with us!
“Entrepreneur” may be a French word, but it wasn’t until now that I’ve seen the spirit of this term embodied in the French. In fact, just the other day I spotted a sign in the Métro advertising “Devenez un Fonctionnaire!” (Become a Civil Servant!). That’s what most French parents want for their children…to have secure, even if not well-paying jobs, with all the benefits. (So contrary to our own very entrepreneurial society.)
Then, today I received news for American investors from “my little birdie” inside the City Hall who tells me that today, December 10th, the city is launching a program called “Paris Entreprendre” to assist in the creation of new business enterprises in Paris! Sixty-five CEO’s have agreed to personally assist new companies in their first year of establishment with their experience and their advice. In addition, an average amount of 30,000 Euros will be allocated to certain selected projects to facilitate bank loans for these new enterprises. This association falls under the national federation founded by André Mulliez — “Réseau Entreprendre” — comprised of 2500 company heads. This initiative reinforces the city’s support of the creation of new companies, new business and new jobs. Boy, I DO like that Mayor Bertrand Delanoë more and more each day.
Lastly, one of our faithful readers and recent attendee to Parler Paris Après Midi, Tom Regan, questioned: “When was Paris given the name, ‘City of Light, and by whom? I have searched but so far no results only various theories.” Well, Tom, the answer is yet unknown, but in “Paris Confidential,” our newest publication written by Warren and Jean Trabant, rewritten and updated by Elizabeth Reichert, they shed some light:
Even though Paris is today referred to as the City of Light (a term coined about 100 years ago), back in 1318 there were only three streetlights throughout town: one on the Arc du Grand-Châtelet, one on the Tour de Nesle, and one at the Cimetière des Innocents. To light a path at night, Parisians carried torches or lanterns through the otherwise dark and narrow streets. During the first half of the 16th-century, ordinances required that each house, between 9 p.m. and midnight, have a candle in one of its ground-floor windows “to avoid the dangers of les mauvais garçons who roam the city at night.” But the candles had little effect, as each night watchmen would find 15 or more bodies in the streets.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. I have a small correction to yesterday’s Parler Paris about the Opéra Garnier…the visit to the Opéra Garnier is NOT FREE and is closed to the public often due to technical reasons and during the upcoming mantinées: December 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 27. “Tant pis!”
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* Though France might seem as familiar as any other Western country, the truth is, from paying taxes to having a baby — things are done differently in France. Read the stories how other people maneuvered the system.
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