Paris…A Technological Heaven or Hell?
Paris…A Technological Heaven or Hell?
Parler Paris Previews…
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
“Le Provençal” Studio
Located in a very charming and quiet 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, this sunny studio is perfect for one or two seeking ultimate Parisian calm, flavored with the beautiful colors of Provence.
Still available April 6th – 15th (departure April 16th) and April 26th – May 6th (departure May 7th)!
Pictures and more details available here: /parlerparis/apartments/rentals/provencal.html
Dear Parler Paris Reader,
Paris can be a technological heaven or hell. In the last few weeks, the pleasures of high speed Internet, hundreds of television channels and free unlimited telephone worldwide have been peppered with the pain of a bureaucratic and complex system. Three new Parisian homeowners have needed our assistance in getting their communications systems operational, and that’s when the fall into the abyss of purgatory began.
I’m not alone in this “Catch 22.” Anyone in Paris who is cyber connected in any way is affected by this twin-edged razor sharp blade.
When Noos cable first came on the scene with high speed Internet in 1998, I signed up without reservation. Now Paris and France benefit from a whole host of companies which offer high speed Internet access with WiFi, cable or satellite television and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol — a.k.a. IP Telephony, Internet telephony, Broadband telephony, Broadband Phone and Voice over Broadband, the routing of voice conversations over the Internet or through any other IP-based network):
This all sounds great…and it is, really. For very little money (less than 30 euros), we can be connected with our friends and families at what used to cost hundreds of euros per month. And it’s easy to sign up. Go to any of these sites and with the click of your mouse, you’ll be able to sign away your cyberspacial life, as long as you can provide a “RIB” (relevé identité bancaire — banking details), a home address and an email address.
BUT WARNING! Nothing and I’m mean nothing, is simple.
Remember, Noos is cable, not adsl (via the telephone lines), so your building must be cable-ready and the service can be spotty. As more users clog the lines, the service can become slower and less efficient. Cable lines break down. You may be calling Noos fairly often. But, they’ve been around a long time and there are boutiques where you can actually talk to a real live person! I still keep the service after all these years, just as back-up to the others.
Alice is Telecom Italia. Don’t be fooled by their French Web site and their beautiful young mascot. When you call for service, a recording tells you their lines are busy, call back later and then actually hangs you up. I swear this is true. I lived in this technological hell for
one year until I could “resilié” (cancel) the service. The only way to do that is by registered mail and even that didn’t work very well.
Orange is a product of France Telecom. They are more expensive than the others, but their service is top of the list. They also have boutiques where you can sign up with a real live representative. Only big problem is that phone outside of France is going to cost you…and that’s one big reason we want the VoIP phone, anyway, right?
Free was the leader of the pack in adsl. At the moment, they offer the overall best deal for the price. Service is a cross between Orange and Alice — hot and cold. I have Freebox installed at my home/office, my rental apartment, Le Provençal and have installed it for several clients. Installations has been ridden with problems, but not unlike the others.
I have no experience with Dartybox, although I am loyal to Darty electronics and appliances, thanks to their amazing service. I’d say they are worth a try. Plus, Darty is advertising installation of any of these services for 90€!
If you’re moving to France and want to “abonner” (subscribe) to any of these services, keep in mind that it takes at least three weeks before you will receive your equipment by post (the adsl systems)…and that’s only if you already have a France Telecom line in place. If you don’t, and your telephone line will be subcontracted with France Telecom by the VoIP provider you choose, then allow an extra three weeks for anything to happen.
Be careful to make your selection of “dégroupé” or “non-dégroupé.”
For example, if you choose Freebox dégroupé, then Freebox becomes your primary phone provider and you will no longer have an invoice or service from France Telecom. The “prises” (jacks) throughout your apartment will no longer provide any line of communication — only the one in which your Freebox is connected. The solution to that are multiple phone systems that operate from one jack. (I found a great site that explains this:
If you choose “non-dégroupé,” you will continue to also have France Telecom service, plus the VoIP phone at your disposal, but you’ll have to add a small adsl filter to each jack with your France Telecom line.
Promise not to laugh when I tell you how connected my household is after all this trial and error?:
There are two two-line phones that sit on my desk — one for VoIP and one for France Telecom lines. Two cordless phones on the auxiliary desk next to me and a phone in every other room of the apartment. WiFi from both Internet systems, with secured access, of course. (If one goes down, the other kicks in.)
Keeping track of all the phone numbers, answering machines and security codes could make your head spin. And now, while all the battling for cyberspace is going on among these companies and others, the little old city hall of the 3rd arrondissement has made WiFi free arrondissement-wide! Have a look at http://www.meteor-wifi.com/wifi-3e.fr/
Isn’t there a better way to keep life in Paris dreamy? Or are we doomed to these technological nightmares?
A la prochaine…
P.S. My advice to all of you who are ready to connect…call a technician first who can help explain the differences and then make a careful decision…because once you “abonner,” you’re subscribed for what could seem like eternity. Technicians who speak English can be found advertised in the various classified venues (such as FUSAC.fr, Franglo.fr) and I have my favorite, http://www.sharoncomputer.com/. (Tell Toby Adrian sent you.)
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Allen Ginsberg came to Paris in 1957, 31 years old and already infamously known as the author of Howl. A month before his arrival, the news-making obscenity trial concerning this perverted, sex- and drug-crazed writer out to deride American values, had just ended in favor of the poet “debutant” and “subversif.” After the trial, Ginsberg came to France because he had long been inspired by French literature, had read the avant-garde lit magazines VVV and View, and had been exposed to Artaud, Céline, Apollinaire, and Gide. “I’d walk the Left Bank streets,” he remembered, “thinking that Apollinaire or Rimbaud or Baudelaire had walked down the same streets.” He didn’t, however, let the past drag him from the present – didn’t let it become a “burden” – and got a full bohemian Beat-education from his Paris. For more about the Paris “Beat” scene, see the guide….
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Whole Apartment of Decorator Furniture for Pennies on the Euro!
Leaving Paris. Buy over 100,000 € worth of furniture, fixtures, and antiques for 20,000 € or buy individual items. These items were all purchased in 2005/6 and barely used. To get a glimpse, visit http://www.khs.fr/DetailVENTE.cfm?id=130&langue=EN (apartment Blériot — Vue Seine).
To get a complete listing of furniture email [email protected]
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