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This pedestrian bridge offers some of the finest 2 blvd du Palais 1st , 01 53 40 60 Guided tours in English daily at 11am and in , it was the first bridge in the city to be This vast park filled with peaceful wide alleyways pm For additional information on constructed in cast iron and is frequented by artists for strolling and an octagonal water basin offers a guided tours call 08 25 05 44 Maillol, Rodin, Dubuffet and Louise Bourgeois are among the jewels set in these refreshing gardens.

Place de la Concorde 1st. Free for children under 18 and EU accommodation and meals. Daily 6ampm; masterpiece. Free guided tours in English Wed citizens under Dome am-8pm. Experience www. Last tickets 45 minutes before closing. An on-site interactive display or the application Jefile lets you envisage the wait for visiting the towers and to reserve your time. Enjoy a truly unforgettable moment with Secret Journeys on the evenings of March 5, 12, 19, 21 or 26, with a unique experience starting at pm before a concert of either organ or Medieval choir music.

Ask you hotel concierge for booking details, visit secretjourneys. It is an inviting place to discover links the Villette basin to the Arsenal port. The visit is jewellery and Louis XVI furniture, in a series of artists: Brasilier, Corda, Mach, Kusama and Joe not recommended for pregnant women, people different markets. Open Mon from claustrophobia and children under 14 must Market lies beyond them. Sat-Mon ampm.

Tues-Sun Porte de Clignancourt 10ampm. Many of the galleries are a theatre troupe. The current show, La voie number of activities and exhibitions. Avenue Rockefeller, Versailles. The 50 attractions, shows and parades, a day at A contemporary art gallery on the Champs- first exhibition is dedicated to Klimt. Around Saturdays. Roosevelt Discover the world of the sea at this delightful Flight Experience Paris aquarium. Daily 10am-7pm, first Sat of the month You can pilot a Boeing in a state of the Galerie Olwen Forest art flight simulator.

Under the guidance of a Gallery exhibiting vintage costume, couture jewels until 10pm, last tickets one hour before closing. From Sat-Mon. Daumesnil 12th , Participants don a virtual reality Suitable for Impressionist and modern paintings by masters measures the level of pollution in the atmosphere. Flights are dependent upon the international art including a romantic ensemble weather so it is preferable to call ahead on the day.

France Miniature by Jean Pierre Cassigneul. Tues-Sat 11am-7pm.

Jules Verne - Voyage au centre de la Terre SOUS-TITRES - Damien Genevois

Roosevelt 15th , Its rooftop offers a degree the Town Hall. Lazare spaces devoted to photojournalism exhibitions on Vedettes du Pont Neuf to Gare de Vernon, 45 minutes, then the No. Closed Tues. Metro or RER to la salon and a bottle of champagne. Entrance located at Eiffel Tower. Port de Suffren 7th , place for a promenade between the Pyramide du Vincennes then 46 bus to zoo.

The superb Renaissance decor by Italian artists. Wed- These lovely gardens were built upon the initiative venue offers fabulous fun and entertainment for Mon am-5pm. They are the whole family where one and all can take on Lignes from Gare de Lyon to Fontainebleau-Avon 40 composed of both English and French gardens, a the roles of alternatively actor, spectator or even min , then a short bus or shuttle ride from the station.

The Chateau is open Tue-Sun emblematic animals from all over the world in its 9ampm. Gardens open daily 8 am to sunset; guided tours original zoo and safari park in a beautiful setting free. Avenue Rockefeller. Buy tickets also visit the castle, which has been inhabited on board, at hotels, or at their boutique office. Rue du Pavillon de Montreuil, Thoiry, Paris Authentic Mon-Sun am-5pm. By car 55 km from Paris. Departures every 45 min, 11am-9pm. Tue- are available and you can also customize your tour. National art galleries in the glass-roofed exhibit hall Sun 10 am-6 pm, Thu 10 am- pm.

Tue- Enjoy our enlightening storytelling experiences In a wonderful Frank Gehry-designed building, Sun 10am-6 pm. All journeys can be privatized. Take the number bus from 56, works by more than artists. Wed- mansion on the Place des Vosges is devoted to the Gare du Nord directly to the museum. Mon 11am-9pm last tickets 8pm. Tues-Sun 10am-6pm. Palais de design. Housed in a spectacular contemporary century.

Daily 10am-5pm. Daily 10am-6pm. This museum of the city of Paris is devoted mainly A contemporary art centre designed by Jean rue de Rivoli 1st , Tue 11ampm, Wed-Sun 11am-8pm. Mona Bismarck American Center major work by Rembrandt. Paintings by Canaletto, blvd Raspail 14th , Its mission is to engage Saxe porcelain and objects worked in silver are This cultural institution in the Bois de Boulogne international audiences in a compelling dialogue housed in a mansion listed as a historic monument is devoted to contemporary art and creation.

Exhibition spaces display permanent collections centuries. Today craftsmen continue historical and modern French and international This venue is devoted to exhibitions, art history, to fashion medals, official decorations and figures.

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Tues-Sun 11am-7pm, Wed the visitor into a giant, mirrored kaleidoscope. Mon-Fri 10ampm, Sat-Sun, bank and school during which he created. Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, This museum houses one of the most extensive Schoelcher 14th , Tue-Sun A marvelous display of some 3, scientific Daily 10am-6pm, last entrance at pm, closed 10am-6pm; Library: Tues-Sat 1pm-8pm. Mon-Sat Tue-Sun ampm, late night Wed until A superb museum for children and adults, 9am-6pm, Sun and holidays 9am-5pm. Garden closes at 5pm. Opened everyday 10am-7pm. Tue-Sat 10am-6pm. Other galleries house appearance on the face of the planet to the haute couture house.

Retrospective displays are the rich collections of paleontology, comparative present. Wed-Mon 10am-6pm, until 9pm on alternated with temporary thematic exhibitions and anatomy, mineralogy and geology. The galleries Wed. Marceau 16th , Tue-Sun 10am-6 pm. Interactive displays, workshops The mansion of 19th century magnate Edouard and a planetarium are all on the agenda. Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 8th , stunning collection of furniture and art includes Wed-Mon 11am to 6pm.

Wed-Mon 9am- 6pm. Jardin des Tuileries, Fri, reduced price after 6pm. Beneath 16th century vaulted cellars are Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, late night Thurs until 8pm. Tue-Sun am-6pm. The visit Ave Winston Churchill 8th , Tues-Fri Branly 7th , Open daily from 10am to beautifully restored 17th century mansion in the 6pm.

Seats are available for most shows in of the month. This year Fragonard is mansion, with its famous gardens and chapel. From the ground up, Rooster has a sort of Brooklyn chic vibe, with an antique pharmacy cabinet displaying handmade ceramics from Aix-en-Provence and Brooklyn. Ibrik Kitchen 9 rue de Mulhouse 2nd , 01 70 69 42 50 w w w. Well, Boca, a vest-pocket restaurant in the heart of the city about a ten-minute walk from the Opera and the big department stores could be the ideal solution to your quandary.

Stopping by for dinner the other night, the owner was charming, and we loved the gravlax with jellied cubes of lemon and gin, aubergine beignets, grilled razor-shell clams with bacon, and pork ribs with scallions and a Creole sauce. Brunch is served from No reservations are possible so get in there early. Settle into the stylish dining room with a white-tiled bar, almond green and toast painted walls, oak plank floors and 50s retro light fixtures and tuck into succulent dishes like haddock with potato waffles and horseradish spiked whipped cream and scallops on a bed of coriander-seasoned tapioca with garnishes of nashi, fennel and pickled lemon, a fascinating and very successful composition of flavours and textures.

Buckwheat flour brioche with coffee and whisky flavoured cream concludes a very fine meal. And one of our favourite tables in the French capital welcomes you with a great outdoor dining area, a fantastic view and delicious fare. Order the artichoke salad served with shavings of Parmesan cheese or try the linguine generously tossed in a pistachio pesto sauce. Loulou rue de Rivoli 1st , 01 42 60 41 96 w w w. You start with the soothing Soto Ayam, a rich chicken soup with rice and vegetables, and continue with lumpia, deep-fried spring rolls, chicken satay peanut sauce , and umami rich rending daging, beef marinated in coconut milk with Indonesian herbs.

By turns delicate and fully flavoured, Indonesian cooking is soothing, sophisticated and sensual, and this is a wonderful place to discover it. Djakarta Bali 9 rue Vauvilliers 1st , 01 45 08 83 11 Happiness in Chocolate It only opened a few months ago just in time for all the Christmas festivities and now Le Bonheur has become one of our favourite chocolate shops to pop into for a yummy treat.

Here in the quaint shop you will find floor to ceiling individually wrapped praline chocolates with surprising flavours including pistachio and basil, goji berries, and puffed rice and ginger. A creative and healthy buffet set up in a cozy and warm atmosphere, by the fireplace or in our green patio. We offer : a traditional sunday roast, hot dishes served with several breads, a selection of matured cheeses and cold cuts, homemade delicacies, and other suprises made by our chef…!

Address Book dining For more detailed listings wheretraveler. The desserts were created delicacies. Daily La Maison Plisson departures for dinner at pm. There is a superb selection of Enjoy a three or four course lunch or dinner on 93 blvd Beaumarchais 3rd , The menus change with the seasons. A warm welcome and fine spot for a nice lunch, inventive cocktails with a main filet of sea bass. Reservations required. Port excellent advice are hallmarks of Nicolas. The three- tapas or dinner. Traditional brasserie fare is on the de la Bourdonnais 7th , The most luxurious of all the river boats serves up Place de la Madeleine 8th , Forum des Halles, Porte Rambuteau 1st , gourmet dinner cruises in collaboration with the Savoury starters include the Angus beef from Kansas are only some of the cuts Beaupassage shrimp dumpling soup and a fine selection of dim found on the menu alongside cocktails created by This calm, greenery-filled, open-sky passageway sum.

The restaurant has a nice 6 rue Bailleul 1st , Try lumpia Fauchon A beautiful bistro now co-owned by superchef deep-fried spring rolls , or ayam jahe chicken A celebrated food emporium with an excellent Alain Ducasse, offering spiffed-up and modernized caramelized in ginger. Two doors down 2nd , Amazing gift baskets setting with a first-rate wine list including an jus.

L only. The cheese tray is superb Chef Christophe from spices to teas and coffees, condiments, a host fare at the Nolinski hotel. Classic starters include Moisand changes the menu on a weekly basis but of sweet treats and more. There is a fine selection mackerel in white wine with grain mustard dressing dishes may include a medley of Saint Jacques with of beers, wines and spirits and a luxury counter while a nice main is the roasted free-range chicken in leeks and candied lemon for starters and marinated Reservations for most restaurants are strongly advised.

Check when booking that the restaurant will accept your credit card. The casual A stunning 18th-century room offers a gastronomic 4 rue Malher 4th , It once garden setting. B daily, Mon-Fri L. A classic bistro known for huge portions of foie Starters Fine contemporary French cuisine can be savoured A in this one-star restaurant with an elegant and cosy QuartIer latIn nice main course is the aged house steak. Mon-Fri the Palais Royal. Saint-Bernard 5th , A stunning oysters and big seafood platters.

The atmosphere is still Parisian, Art Nouveau setting in this registered historical am. Daily am selection of grilled meats and finely prepared For over 20 years, right in the heart of the Marais, am. Mon-Sat, 10ampm. Fine wine list. For a traditional American Diner serving classic Daily am am.

The prix-fixe menus revolve around 1-star restaurant offers excellent soups, marinated 8th , The beautiful dining room looks out over the Roosevelt 8th , For a fish Mon D. Under an illuminating glass roof guests such as a foie gras burger. Every day from 7. On foie gras and a scallops millefeuilles.

This gourmet 1-star Michelin restaurant serving authentic French cuisine inspired by the 27 Quai Branly 7th , The menu changes every month, garden is a Parisian institution. Hotel This quintessential Parisian restaurant nestled Lancaster, 7 rue de Berri 8th , Delano Montaigne 8th , Try specialities proffers superb cooking from three-star chef Eric boutique is a restaurant bursting with flavourful like the causa, a mashed potatoes dish seasoned Frechon in a delightful duplex space.

The grilled langoustines in a light citrus This delightful restaurant in a private mansion is This chic and trendy bar and restaurant offers sauce are excellent as is the cheesecake. Mon-Fri adjacent to the museum of the same name. Tues-Sun D. There are a host of For starters enjoy salmon atmosphere. Desserts include lemon pie around MontParnasse 13th, 14th, 15th regional products. A nice Monday to Saturday. With a breathtaking view, culinary traditions of southeast China.

The art of glass roof in this lovely place. There are champagne enjoy one of their foie gras offerings or try the Cantonese fine dining comes to life in the main and cheese trolleys and the dessert trolley filled delicious seafood. Mon-Fri available in various sizes. The upstairs dining room can be reserved 7am-midnight. For starters there is a nice lentil A magnificent, mirrored Belle Epoque restaurant serves contemporary and classic fare.

Starters can salad while main courses include Black Angus steak in the Gare de Lyon train station serving classic include a salad of green beans with foie gras flavoured with a pepper sauce. Etats-Unis 16th , Chef to this pillar of the Place de la Bastille. Starters superb seafood platters. Tues-Sat, dinner only. Starters can include sea France while actors in Baroque costumes tell you The highly original desserts include only Tues-Sun. Enjoy selective produce pumpkin with ginger yoghurt. Tues-Fri L, Tues-Sat This month, playing through to the 19th of March, visitors are in for a treat with Swan Lake playing out at the famous Bastille opera house.

You can book your tickets online www. The famous music hall will be welcoming the Parisian leg of the Connemara Tour that will see the new troupe of 20 dancers take you on a dancing voyage to the Emerald Isle. Choreographed by Jacintha Sharpe, the show is a wonderful mix of tradition and modernity in dance, with the precision of every step soundtracked by traditional Irish music leaving audience members with a memorable evening.

Reserve your tickets at Fnac Olympia 28 blvd des Capucines 9th , 08 92 68 33 68 w w w. Playing live on the 13th, 15th and 16th of March, the Canadian rapper is bringing his The Assassination Vacation Tour to the City of Light where he will be performing songs from his last studio album, Scorpion, as well as some of his earlier hits. Olivier Giraud has too, noticed that the Parisians are unique in their behaviour, and has decided to bring all those idiosyncrasies to light.

After graduating from a top culinary school in Paris, Olivier moved to the United States where he managed a restaurant of a 5-star hotel. After four years, and many soul-searching nights, he decided to return to France and follow his real dream of becoming a comedian. Having experienced the cultural differences between the Parisians and Americans while in Florida and having observed for himself the tourists of all nationalities in Paris, he decided to not shy away from the hard-hitting questions of how one becomes a real Parisian. In the metro, what do you do if you see an older lady or a pregnant woman?

And how do you behave in a cab? Putting together a one man show, How to become a Parisian in one hour? This is the perfect guide to enjoy Paris and the Parisians! Non-stop laughter from a real Parisian guaranteed to leave you wanting more. The bar is open daily with cocktails served from 5pm. The ephemeral winter bar is open until the 31st of March.

The club boasts a library, two bars and a stage, which welcomes a revolving door of artists, from photographers to DJs. While Silencio is reserved for members only from 6pm for its cultural events, it is open to the public from Tuesday to Thursday, from 11pm to 4am and until 6am on Fridays and Saturdays for a very elite night of clubbing in the City of Light.

Silencio rue Montmartre 2nd , 01 40 13 12 33 Time to Jazz When in Paris listening to jazz music is de rigueur and there is no better jazz club than New Morning to spend an evening with the moody tunes of a saxophone. This month step into the mythical jazz club for an evening with Canadian singer Tamia on the 3rd of March, Lucky Peterson on the 11th, and Elliott Murphy on the 15th and 16th of March.

New Morning 7 rue des Petites Ecuries 10th , 01 45 23 51 41 w w w.

Équipements

A show www. Bertrand and quickly became one of the celebrates life and fashion and chicest addresses in the Latin features actors, dancers and circus quarter. The theatre was re-built acts. Daily 8 pm. He came to the attention of an older fellow enarque, Jacques Chirac, and when Chirac was mayor of Paris, in the s, Juppe became his "fi-nancial adjoint"-more or less the city comptroller. Then, when the conservative parties won the legislative elections two years ago, Chirac, though he had prudently decided not to seek the of-.

So when Chirac was elected presi-dent this May, it seemed inevitable that he would make Juppe. Like all ambitious French politicians, Juppe chooses to present himself as a literary man. La Tentation was regarded as a fighting campaign manifesto, since it is as necessary for an ambitious French politician to write a book explaining why he never likes to think of politics as it is for an ambitious American politician to write a book explaining why he never thinks of anything else.

Juppe, ahead of the pack, had written a book asserting not only that he would rather be doing something else but that he would like to be doing it in a completely different country. The romance of retirement is still extremely powerful in France, descending, as it does, from Montaigne, who remains the model here of pen-sive, high-minded reclusion, even though he spent an important chunk of his life as the boss of a tough town.

In Juppe's case, the descent from Montaigne, who supplies the epigraph for La Ten-tation, is easy to show: Juppe is the mayor of Bordeaux, as Mon-taigne was. French politicians often hold more than one office at once, just in case. Among French politicians, in fact, ostenta-tious displays of detachment are something of a competitive sport.

After being succeeded as president by Chirac, Francois Mitterrand gave an interview to Christine Ockrent, the editor of L'Express, simply to announce that he was now taking long walks in Paris and looking at the sky. It was understood as his way of keeping his hand in. Not long ago the former prime minister E douard Balladur, who had been so busy looking detached from. It was the start of his comeback. Then, at the beginning of June, the weekly comic paper Le Canard Enchaine revealed that Juppe, when he was the financial adjoint to Chirac, had taken the lease on an apartment in the Sixth Arrondissement that belonged to the domaine prive of the City of Paris.

The domaine 'prive is a peculiarly Parisian estab-lishment, although even after four months of scandal, no one knows exactly what it is, how the City of Paris came to possess it, or how you get into it. It turns out, however, that the City of Paris also owns a small, semisecret group of apartments and apartment buildings that are given out at the discretion of whoever happens to be running Paris. These domaine 'prive apartments came into the hands of the Parisian government in all kinds of interesting ways.

Many of them are on the beautiful old streets of the Left Bank, near the river, because of various failed city plans that left Paris with a lot of property, which the city fathers eventually started renting to one another. Until the prefects of the Paris arrondissements controlled the domaine prive, but then the system was reformed, which, as often happens in France, managed to make the mechanics of it even murkier. Today no one seems to know exactly how many domaine prive apartments there are.

One estimate puts the number at about thirteen hundred; an-other puts it at about fifteen hundred; still another says that there are more than four thousand. Juppe's apartment, on the lovely rue Jacob, was a lavish spread, complete with garden and terrace, that he had in effect. When this arrangement was challenged, Juppe announced that he felt "serene" and that he couldn't see what the fuss was about, since anyone could have found out that he lived there by looking at the mailbox. There was something equally off-key about Chirac's later defense of his protege. During a televised press conference, he declared himself "profoundly shocked" by "the exploitation of a fact that no one should contest.

As it happened, Martha and I arrived in Paris to look for a place just as the news of Juppe's arrangement broke, and we soon discovered what Juppe obviously knew to be the vital fact but was having a very hard time saying outright: All apartments in Paris that you would long to live in belong to the domaine prive. This is to say not that they all belong to the city govern-ment but that they can be obtained only through membership in one or another of the political or literary or fashionable keiretsus that dominate Paris.

Though Paris is in many ways a grasping and commercial city, it is not ruled by the market in quite the way that most other Western cities are. Martha and I, eight-month-old in tow, learned this quickly as we wandered from apartment to apartment. We discovered that apartments came in three varieties: sad apartments that no one would want; interesting apartments that would require grands projets to make them work; and nice apartments that had a long private history or, to put it another way, a catch and so were in a domaine prive of their own.

This one came with a sister in Amer-ica, who might or might not eventually return. Another was avail-able only if the divorce that had led to its emptying out was concluded. With tears in his eyes, the previous resident made it. That one belonged to a philosopher who had changed his sexual orientation, and it was available with the proviso that if he changed it back, he would need the apartment again.

The inwardness of Paris rules out the illusion created by the renting of an apartment in New York, the illusion of renewal, of starting over. An apartment in New York is a blank slate. In Paris it is an already parsed sen-tence, a string of imperfect verbs, hidden conditional construc-tions, and long, intricately wrought clauses in the past tense. Juppe would probably have been able to survive the revelation of his living arrangements if only Le Canard Encham e hadn't published, a couple of Wednesdays later, the news that when Juppe was a city official, he had taken apartments in the domaine prive for his son and daughter as well and that these apartments too were right there on the rue Jacob.

Then it turned out that both Juppes ex-wife and his half brother had apartments cour-tesy of the City of Paris. The former Mme. Juppe was lodged across the river, on the Right Bank, presumably out of deference to the sensibilities of the new Mme. At this point l'affaire des logements became a little more serious. Le Canard published a document apparently showing that Juppe had approved a rent reduction on his son's apartment from seven thousand francs per month to six thousand a difference of about two hundred dol-lars.

This might have contravened an all-purpose law against ethical backsliding on the part of public officials, a law whose worst penalty, sweetly enough, was that the offender would be prohibited from ever again being elected to office. Things got so bad that Juppe had to submit to a humiliation that the French had previously considered fit only for American politicians.

He had to go on television and answer questions from reporters. De Gaulle spoke directly to the French people or else in highly choreographed press conferences; Mitterrand would tolerate a few friendly journalists but would explain to. Jupp e , by contrast, had to give one of those jumpy, undignified, I-have-nothing-to-hide performances beloved of American han-dlers.

Juppe did his best. He pointed out that members of the French press had been around for dinner at the now-famous apartment on the rue Jacob, and nobody had seemed upset about the apartment then. This argument was regarded as fight-ing dirty. The next day Le Monde haughtily noted that it was not proper for guests to ask their host how much he paid in rent and who owned his apartment.

Juppe also announced that he had lowered the rent on his son's apartment only because he was afraid of contributing to a general inflation of rents in the city. It didn't help much. In July a local lawyer with Socialist party con-nections began filing letters of complaint against Juppe with the state district attorney in Paris, Bruno Cotte, who would therefore have to decide whether to go the Italian route and indict the prime minister of France and, not incidentally, launch his own political career or go the honored French route and let it all pass.

By this time I had come into possession of what I thought was the lease on an apartment and so found the later stages of I'affaire des logements very diverting. There is nothing like being even an honorary, part-time insider to make insiderness look cute. Then, just as we were about to leave Paris to go home and collect our furniture, I got a call from the real estate agent. She made it sound as though the apartment had won a prize. Things worked out better for us than they did for the prime minister.

We came back to Paris at the end of September and managed, through various routes, to find an apartment at 16 rue du Pre-aux-Clercs in the Seventh Arrondissement. The story. On the other hand, they would want the apartment back when they returned from Japan, at some unspecified date, which makes us leap every time the doorbell rings. Bruno Cotte has at last offered his judgment on the Juppe case. He declared that he would not indict Juppe for what he had done with the domaine prive apartments, provided that the prime minister of France get out of his apartment and rent one someplace else.

This may have been a first in the history of ju-risprudence: an eviction notice issued by a magistrate against the prime minister of a major Western power. Naturally, American and British journalists have tried to ana-lyze l'affaire des logements and, interpreting it in the light of Anglo-American politics, have concluded that Juppe has suf-fered because he was seen as a member of an unduly privileged elite. This is in fact almost the direct opposite of the truth.

The Frenchmen who are currently the most enraged at the govern-ment-the functionaries who stopped all business in Paris sev-eral weeks ago-are not protesting against the accumulated perks of a privileged class. They are the privileged class, protest-ing on behalf of their accumulated perks. What made them mad about I'affaire des logements, and Juppe's conduct, was not that it revealed to them something they hadn't known but that it re-minded them of something they knew all too well-namely, that the system of acquis sociaux -entitlements-runs so deep in France that to abolish it would be in some sense to abolish French life itself.

Every Frenchman who is not outright destitute sits in the middle of a domaine prive- that is, within a domain of. The people who are left outside now seem to be left outside for good. The North African immigrants, in particular, who fill the Paris banlieue that the po-lice have largely abandoned are not just a minority; they are with-out any entree at all. They are called, simply, the excluded. Some of them set bombs off under your bed.

Juppe's serenity is certainly gone for good. Already he is speaking plaintively of his fate. I am honest! After brooding on this affair, the French elite has decided that the cure for the kinds of hidden deals that fill French public life is transparence, which has become along with exclusion the word of the moment here.

By transparence people just mean that everybody should see everything that is going on. A lot of Parisians would now settle for having a Paris that is transparent the way an ant farm is transparent: with a cutaway front so that you can see the action even if you can't affect it. But what has al-ways given Paris its peculiar grace and favor is that things that are hidden away elsewhere like, say, adulteries are all out in the open here, while things that are all out in the open elsewhere are hidden away here like, say, the way you get an apartment.

A Pans you can see right through hardly seems worth having. The "generalized" strike that the big French labor federations have called-making a fastidious distinction between what they're doing now and the "general" strike that they may yet get around to-has shut down Paris. The commuter and intercity trains haven't run for two weeks, not even the TGV, the famous fast train between Paris and the South. The Metro is closed down the crickets who live beneath the rails are said to be perishing for lack of the heat they normally get from the friction of the trains running above, and their plight has become a minor cause celebre here.

There are no buses, and the post office has stopped deliv-ering the mail. Even le Paris touristique has been snapped shut. The Ritz has had a dropoff in occupancy of 25 percent at the height of the terrorist bombing campaign, a few months ago, the rate was near normal, which suggests that the rich would rather risk being blown to bits than have a hard time finding a taxi. The Louvre, like a city under siege, has been struggling to stay open. The government has even commandeered the bateaux-mouches- those ugly, flat-bottomed open-air tourist boats that ply the tourist sights year-round-and has turned them into ferryboats to get commuters up and down.

I think that I only really began to grasp just how serious the strike was when the chickens stopped rotating at the outdoor market in my neighborhood. Several poultry merchants there keep chickens and coquelets and rabbits and pheasants spitted and broiling on outdoor rotisseries all through the year, even in August and in the quiet days after Christmas.

One afternoon a few days into the strike I walked over to the market to check on the progress of a turkey I had ordered from one of the rotisseurs, to be sent up from the country for a belated Thanksgiving, and I noticed that he had unspitted all his birds and turned off the grill. This seemed to me one of those signs that reporters abroad are supposed to treat as portents "It has long been said in the bazaars that when the chickens stop turning, the government will fall" , and as I approached to ask what he was doing, he ges-tured grimly in the direction of the boulevard Saint-Germain.

It's beginning, though what, exactly, was beginning I wasn't sure. He shook his head gravely, implying, I thought for a moment, that the strike might have spread to the fowl too. Then he ges-tured again toward the boulevard. For about ten solid blocks, on each side of the boulevard aint-Germain a row of tourist buses was parked; that, considering the severity with which the cops normally enforce the no-parking regulations, was in itself a near-insurrectionary sight.

The buses bore on their windshields notices indicating where their journeys had begun-Lyons, Grenoble, Bordeaux-and, in their side windows, little stickers saying "FO," for Force Ouvriere, or Workers' Force.

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Despite the militant name, it is the more moderate of the big French labor federations. Inside, the bus drivers looked bored and sleepy after the long trip in from the provinces. But between the two rows of buses thousands of FO members, from all across France, were marching up the boulevard, three or four abreast. Then came a rear guard of stu-dents armed with batons and occasional bricks. The noise, oddly, was confined, cozily insulated by the parked coaches, a revolu-tion taking place in a bus depot.

Farther east on the boulevard, beyond the buses, the French riot police were lined up and wait-ing, in helmets and shields. There wasn't any violence then, and there hasn't been too much since, but around that time it began to seem that the French were trying on, if only for a moment, long-discarded revolutionary roles, albeit in a slightly unreal set-ting: strikers taking buses to the revolution, students relearning the lore of the heaved cobblestone.

The strike had begun, on Friday, November 24, as a one-day job action, led by the railroad workers. The Juppe government was still in a state of self-congratulatory, mildly Gingrichian de-light over the austerity measures that it had announced to reform the expensive social security system of the French state. The cheminots, as the railroad workers are called, hated this idea, be-cause a lot of money is put directly into their pension fund by the government, an outright subsidy, which makes the railroad work-ers less employees of a profit-seeking enterprise than subsidized functionaries of a state cultural treasure, like members of the Comedie Francaise.

Although the train system loses money, it is one of the glories of France. Perhaps the government doubted whether the cheminots could command much sympathy since their specific grievance seemed absurdly small many of them would no longer be able to retire at fifty at full pay and since the.

One in every ten French workers still belongs to a union, but most of the unionized workers are ensconced for life in the public sector or in subsi-dized state-run enterprises. What the unions have lost in num-bers though, they have gained in freedom to maneuver and in symbolic force. They are no longer the vanguard of the revolution. Now they are the shock troops of the bourgeoisie. Meanwhile a strike by university students, which had begun outside Paris, came to town too. The students wanted smaller classes and more money, and the government didn't foresee any possible sharing of interests between them and the cheminots;.

Yet the government underestimated the extraordinary hold that the word student has on the French imag-ination, a little like the hold the word farmer has on Americans. In fact the phrase student movement has in France much the same magic that the phrase family farm has in America, conjur-ing up an idealized past, even for people who never took part in a student movement or lived on a family farm. For a week the students and the cheminots took turns working over the Chirac-Juppe government, like a veteran tag-team wrestling pair going against a couple of beardless innocents.

They did such a good job that more groups began to jump into the ring. First, the Metro workers went out, and then the postal workers, and then the em-ployees of France Telecom. No one knows who may go next. Though the strike has developed a quasi-revolutionary momentum, it doesn't have anything like a quasi-revolutionary ide-ology; the slogan of the government functionaries at the heart of the strike is, essentially, "Status quo forever. That is why even French people who don't belong to unions support the strike; a poll taken a week into the strike showed that just over 60 percent of them were sympathetic to it.

A few days after the demonstration, I went back to the rotisseur to see how the turkey was getting along on its way into town. Although workers and students are striking throughout France, the strike is chiefly a Parisian event. That doesn't make it any less national, since France is a completely centralized country. To achieve in America the effect that the strikers have achieved here, it would be necessary to shut down simultaneously the New York subway, the Washington post office, and the Santa Monica Freeway.

These weeks have been unusually cold, and that has made the troubles of the strike more difficult. The strike has even produced an iconography of endurance: lots of pictures of bicyclists and Rollerbladers and sailors, carrying on. But in fact the iconography is a little misleading. More typical sights are the endless bouchons, or traffic jams, which have made a twenty-minute trip from the E toile to the place de Clichy last four hours.

On the great boulevards and avenues there is a constant press of cars and people, marches one day and solid, immovable traffic jams the next. But if you walk only a couple of blocks away in any direction, the city looks especially beautiful, and you can have it to yourself. Despite the strike, all the Christmas decorations are up, shiny red and gold ribbon and green garlands draped like bunting around the display windows of the boutiques. Since al-most everyone is busy not getting anywhere in a car, you can be all alone with the gleaming glass storefronts and the Christmas garlands and the sight of your own breath.

The motorcyclists have solved the traffic problem by giving up. As you stroll along the boulevard, you suddenly discover a Harley-Davidson bearing down on you at high speed from among the plane trees. The motorcyclists, who would rather run over a few pedestrians than give up their Hogs, are more truly Parisian than the wan in-line skaters, since the French attitude toward any crisis is not to soldier through it but just to pretend that it isn't happening.

It was in Paris, after all, that Picasso and Sartre sat in a cafe for four years pretending that the Germans weren't there. A deeper and more dramatic version of this national habit of pretending that things haven't happened is what has shaped the strike. What the French strikers want to ignore, at least accord-ing to their critics, are the economic facts of the end of the twen-tieth century: "global capital," the "modern service-based economy," the "tough new competitive conditions of the twenty-first century," all of which, the critics say, can be dealt with only by a more "flexible" labor market.

When are these people going to grow up and face reality? What the French feel is that for the past half century they have done pretty well by not facing reality-or, anyway, by facing it for one moment and then turning their backs on it for another, in a kind of endless inspired whirl through history. France is a uniquely lovely and supple place to live, and there is a reasonable suspicion here that the British and the Americans and the Germans are trying to hustle the French into what is called a liberal paradise, but what no one here is quite convinced is so paradisiacal.

Among the nonunionized, petit bourgeois strike sympathizers, in particular, there is an intransigent and rather admirable level of temperamental resis-tance to the notion of "reforming" France to suit the global econ-omy. Even Bernard Thibault, the secretary-general of the chemmots' union, said not long ago that he was willing to negoti-ate but that his bottom line was "Citizens must never be trans-ported like merchandise.

In France, of course, not even the merchandise is transported. When the turkey arrived at last, a week after the strike began, I got an excited call inviting me to come see it, and when I arrived, the rotisseur, showing it off, pointed out to me how different it was from any bird in an American supermar-ket. It wasn't frozen, pumped full of cooking oil, or raised in a shed. The bird was supposed to have composed what amounted to a suicide note.

We talked about the strike-the rotisseur seemed to have the same ambivalent sympathies as most other Frenchmen-and I sensed then that he believed that somehow the cheminots' strike would help him keep out the frozen turkeys, and the supermar-kets they sit in, and the big chains that own the supermarkets. This belief may be as false as the belief that a ghost dance could raise the dead and bring back the buffalo, but it is no less fer-vently held. The only things that have been working perfectly during the strike are what I suppose have to be called the instruments of global capitalism.

The worldwide courier services are still pick-ing up packages and sending them out overnight across the ocean, faxes buzz and communicate, and the one worker who seemed to make it nonchalantly through the streets to our house was the cable TV installer, who hooked us up so that we could watch the strike on CNN. It's that anxious-making globalized economy that the strikers are responding to, however incoher-ently. Everyone here likes to compare what is going on now with what went on in ' The real point may be that while that was, in retrospect, essentially a cultural revolution in the guise of a political one, '95 seems, so far, to be a political revolution in the.

It isn't appropriate because a strike by its nature, is unpredictably disruptive, while the emo-tions behind this one are deeply conservative. The strike is one more cry of the heart from people who felt blessed for a long time and now feel threatened. The turkey, not quite incidentally, was so much better than any other turkey I have ever eaten that it might have been an entirely different kind of bird. It is the weather reports on CNN that will scare you most.


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They must come from a studio in Atlanta, like most things on the cable network, but they tell about the European weather, and only the European weather, and they treat Europe as if it were, for CNN's purposes, one solid block of air with dirt down be-neath, one continuous area of high- and low-pressure systems bumping into one another over a happy common land, just like the Instate area, or "here in the Southland," or "up in the heart of the North country," or any of the other cheerful areas into which American television stations divide the country. The job of the European weatherman or -woman seems to be pretty low on the CNN totem pole.

They keep changing. One day it is a blow-dried midwesterner; the next a corn-fed, nicely Jane Pauleyish woman; the next a portly black guy. Each one points in turn to the big map of Europe, with the swirling satel-lite photo superimposed, and then, with the limitless cheeriness. Petersburg"-quick, impish, professional wink- "you'd better make sure that you've got the overcoat. Looking at snow there all night long. Looks like another mild night in France, though of course there'll be snow in the mountains around Savoy. In the Basque country, some really chilly temperatures.

Nice ski-ing, though. More mild weather in Prague and Budapest, though looking up at Vienna. We have won as large a victory as any country has ever won- no empire has ever stood in so much power, cultural, political, economic, military-and all we can do is smile and say that you might want to pack a sweater for the imperial parade. When the cable television man came to hook us up on the first morning of the general strike, you could hear the demonstrators out on the boulevard, singing and marching.

But the bland emis-sary from the age of global information worked on, stringing the wire and hooking up the decoder boxes. He finally handed us three different remotes and then ran through the thirty-odd. Here is MTV. Here is French MTV," the cable man explained. Here is Euro-sport.


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  • There it was, truly, the same familiar ribbon of information and entertainment that girdles the world now-literally really, truly literally encir-cling the atmosphere, electric rain. All you have to do is hold out a hand to catch it. Luke, at least, has found a home, shelter from the electronic rain and global weather.

    He lives in the Luxembourg Gardens. We go there nearly every day, even in the chill November days among the fallen leaves. The design of the gardens is nearly per-fect for a small child. There is a playground; there is a puppet theater, where he is too small to go yet, but outside the puppet theater there is a woman selling balloons, and every morning he points to his wrist and says his all-purpose word, bu-bel, which means balloon, ball, whatever it is meant to mean.

    But then, when we get to the gardens and the po-faced woman goes to tie the balloon to his wrist, he leaps back with fear and demands to have it taken off again. Approach and avoidance with older women. He rides the carousel, the fallen leaves piled neatly all around it, and though bent-up it is a beauty. The animals are chipped, the paint is peeling, the giraffe and elephant are missing hooves and tusks, and the carousel is musicless and graceless. The older children ride the outside horses.

    A God-only-knows-how-old carousel motor complains and heaves and wheezes and finally picks up enough momentum to turn the platform around, while the carousel attendant hands a baton to each of the older chil-dren riding the outside horses. Then he unhooks a pear-shaped wooden egg from the roof of his little station, at the edge of the turning platform, and slips little metal rings with leather tags at-tached into the eggs.

    As the children race around, the little rings drop one after another into the egg and dangle from its base, the. The older children try to catch the rings with the sticks. It looks tricky; it looks hard. The kids have to hold the weather-beaten sticks up just so; there's just one angle, one way to do it. As the carousel picks up speed, it gets going whirring fast and the hand-eye, or rather hand-eye-painted horse, coor-dination you need looks terrifyingly accomplished.

    To make things even harder, if two children are mounted one right behind the other, and the first child lances the ring, it means that the next ring, slipping down, only arrives at the base of the wooden egg as the next child arrives, making it just about impossible to aim. If the first child just knocks the ring, on the other hand, the ring starts trembling widely enough to make a good grab impos-sible. It is a tough game, and what makes it odder is that there is no reward for doing well at it.

    I have read about this game all my life: going for the Big Brass Ring! It's an American metaphor. But here there are little tin rings, and no reward for getting them ex-cept the satisfaction of having done it. You don't even get to keep the tin rings for a moment of triumph-Look, Mama! The keeper takes back the batons before the carousel has even stopped. It is hard for me to imagine Luke ever doing this: sitting up there, skewering his rings. For the moment, for a long moment, we sit together in the little chariots and just spin.

    He keeps his eyes locked on the big kids with the sticks, who come under the heading of Everything He Desires: a stick, a task, a seat on the outside horse. For me, the sticks and rings game on the carousel looks more like a symbolic pageant. A Writer's Life: hard job, done intently, for no reason. Cioran used to walk in these gardens. I wonder if he watched this. The reward for the Parisian children is, perhaps, the simple continuity, the reality that the spinning will never get a prize, but that it will also never stop.

    After all, spinning is its own reward. There wouldn't be carousels if it weren't so. On nice days, when we don't have time to go all the way to the gardens, Luke and I go to the musical horse outside the Oiseau de Paradis "Bird of Paradise" , a toy store on the boulevard Saint-Germain, and he solemnly rides up and down on it while it plays "Camptown Races. It is an extraordinary place.

    It is on the second floor-almost all of the second story-of one of the old hotels particuliers. It is, I suppose, a taxidermists' supply house and a supplier too of education charts. But it is also one of the great surrealist sites of Paris. Downstairs, at street level, there is the old-fashioned kind of come-hither wraparound window en-trance, so that you enter a deep-set door between two vitrines, an architecture that must have been familiar once in Paris-it was the architecture of every South Street shoe store in my childhood-though it is fairly rare now.

    Mostly the windows are one sheet of plate glass, with a kind of false front showing the goods and the store behind. But here you walk past a "seasonal" window, filled with taxidermized animals and bare minimum decor: artificial fallen leaves for autumn, cotton ball "snow" for winter, a few silk flowers for spring. Sometimes the animals in-side the windows change too-an ancient, yellowing polar bear right now represents the Spirit of Christmas-but mostly it is the same bunch all year: a fox, a raccoon, a moose. The polar bear must have been brought down on the same expedition that is celebrated in the window of a lead soldier store on the rue des Ciseaux, which shows an otherwise unrecorded late-nineteenth-century French expedition to the North Pole, with the tricolor hanging over an igloo and reindeer entrecote in a chef's sauteuse.

    When you open the door at Deyrolle, there is a moose on your. If you go up the stairs-and Luke will only go up the stairs clutching tightly to my chest-you will find at the top an entire bestiary waiting patiently for your ar-rival not in casements or vitrines but just standing on all fours on the floor around the casements and vitrines, looking bored and social, like writers at a New York book party They just stand there.

    There are several lions, genuinely terrifying in their direct address. They have been taxidermized- reanimated is the cor-rect term-not to look fierce but just to look bored-these are French lions, after all-which of course makes them look more fierce. And then a baby elephant and a jaguar and a gorilla, all just there, with all the other natural things-skeletons and skulls and case upon case of butterflies and beetles-all around.

    The walls are painted a fading blue-green; the cases are all wood and glass. The main showroom is a two-story space, with a balcony up above. They keep the ordinary farm animals, sheep and goats, up there, looking down on the stars, like the extras in Les Enfants du Paradis. There are also-and this is the weirdest touch-lots of do-mestic animals, family pets, Siamese and Scotties and cockers, who stand there on the floor too, among the lions and jaguars, looking furtive, forlorn, a little lost. Orlovska, the owner, who has become a friend, explains that they are unclaimed taxi-dermed pets from the old Deyrolle regime.

    Apparently year after year people would come in, weeping and clutching the cold bod-ies of Fido and Minochette, the house pets, and beg to have them taxidermized, restored, revivified. No answer to calls or bills or what she calls "cornrnands of conscience. The big game are themselves souvenirs of a hotter time in Deyrolle's history, when hunters would have their African catches mounted and leave an extra lion or a leftover gnu to the house, as a sort of tip, like gamblers in Monte Carlo in the same period giving a chip or two to the croupier. The house makes its money now, Madame explains, mostly selling bugs and butterflies to decorators.

    If a lion dies in a circus, we cannot touch it. If an elephant falls over in a zoo, we cannot reanimate it. Is it better for a thing of beauty to die and molder away than to be made a work of art? Elephants will be nudged. Luke is as frightened and fascinated by the small game as he is by the large; he clings to me tightly throughout-and then every day demands to be taken back. I think he feels about it the same way that I feel about the Baudrillard seminar I am attending at the Beaubourg.

    It's scary, but you learn something. I've attended this public seminar, given by Baudrillard and friends at the Beaubourg. Jean Baudrillard is, or anyway was, the terror of West Broadway back in the eighties. He was the inven-tor of the theory of "the simulacra," among much else, and fa-mously insisted that "reality" had disappeared and that all that was left in its place was a world of media images and simulated events.

    Before the seminar I imagined Baudrillard as tall and spectral and high-. He turns out to be a stocky, friendly little guy in his fifties, with a leather jacket and a weather-beaten complexion. The seminar consists of a three- or four-man panel: an econo-mist; a sociologist; Leo Scher, the all-around thinker. Each gives a presentation, and then Baudrillard comments. The other day, for instance, the economist was giving a lecture on exponentiality "Exponentiality is fatality," he announced grimly, and went on to point out what every first-year biology student is told, that the "ex-ponential" proliferation of biological life-each codfish has a mil-lion codfish children; each codfish child has a million of its own children-means that the codfish, or slime mold or antelope or, for that matter, French intellectuals, would cover the world in ten or so generations, unless there were something-several somethings-there to check them.

    The girl in front of me scribbled in her book, in French, of course, "Exponentiality is Fatality". I call this principle the Regulon. No one protested, or pointed out that, as I think is the case, Darwin among many others had solved this problem awhile ago without recourse to the Regulon. Predators eat most of the cod-fish; the rest just die. Life is hard; the Regulon is called life, or death. Baudrillard nodded gravely at the end of the exposition. But yours underlines the point I am making," he added, almost plaintively He paused and then pronounced: "There is no Regu-lon in the Semiosphere.


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    There Is No Regulon in the Semiosphere. There is no way of stopping media signs from proliferating, no natural barrier to the endless flow and reproduction of electronic information, no way. There is nothing to eat them. There Is No Regulon in the Semiosphere is a wildly abstract way of saying that there is no "natural predator" to stop the proliferation of movies and television; they do over-whelm the world, and with it reality.

    It is hard to see how you save the carousel and the musical horse in a world of video games, not because the carousel and musical horse are less attractive to children than the Game Boy, but because the carousel and the musical horse are single things in one fixed place and the video games are everywhere, no Regulon to eat them up. When I lived here with my family, in the early seventies, there was nothing I liked more than walking up the boulevard Beau-marchais to the Cirque d'Hiver, the Winter Circus.

    It is a wooden octagon, visible from the boulevard, but set well back, on a little street of its own. A frieze, a kind of parody of the Pan-athenaic procession, runs around its roof: clowns and jugglers and acrobats in bas-relief. Inside, it has a hushed, intimate quality;. I don't recall that I ever actually went inside when I was a kid-I was too busy with movies-it just seemed like the right place to walk to.

    But now we've been to a winter circus at the Winter Circus. The Cirque du Soleil, from back home in Montreal, put on its slightly New Age show, and we took Luke and sat in the top rows. They brought the lights down when the circus began, as though it were a play, which struck me as an odd thing.

    I always think of circuses sharing the light of their spectators. What happened to the summer circus? I used to think that the circuses must have toured all summer and then came into winter retreat on the rue Amelot. But now I suspect that there was a summer circus once too, but they closed it. The Circus. Regulon got it, I guess. It was a good circus, though a little long on New Age, New Vaudeville, and Zen acrobats and a little short, absent in fact, on.

    We have a standing joke about lions in Paris; as I push his poussette, I announce that I am terrified that there may be lions in this quarter of Paris- "and I'm so scared of lions"-and he roars, lustily. At the end, though, the troupe took its final bow and threw those little glow-ing green bracelets up into the audience as a favor.

    A few came up as high as we were. The French fathers, soccer players to a man, snatched at them from the wrist as they flew up, like men slapping futilely at mosquitoes. I stood up and with years of in-competent Central Park softball under my belt, I pounded the right fist into the left and pulled one in like a pop-up. Then I handed it to Luke. The other fathers in the row looked at me with pure hate. I shrugged and have never felt so obnoxious, so proud, so imperial, so American. We have found Luke a baby-sitter, or I suppose I have to say a nanny.

    Her name is Nisha Shaw, she comes from Sri Lanka, has long hair in a beautiful braid and beautiful lilting English, and she is the wife of the philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy's chauffeur. She is lovely and loving, and she sings all day to Luke in a high-pitched soprano, singing songs that seem just out of focus.

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    We have already, in a few weeks, become a strange island of Sri Lankan, Icelandic-Canadian, West Philadelphian, Franco-American civi-lization within a bigger culture. I imagine these are songs that she's heard over the radio and in school, songs that are part of her own little monoculture, just as we have made up ours. Every morning as Luke and I wait for Nisha to arrive before I go to work in my office, we look out from the kitchen into the courtyard. Every morning, just at eight-fifteen, a hand emerges, holding at its end a tablecloth or a sheet or something that it.

    The odd thing in making a big move is the knowledge that your life will be composed of hundreds of small things that you will ar-rive at only by trial and error, and that for all the strikes and sem-inars you attend, the real flavor of life will be determined, shaped, by these things. The Semiosphere comes at you in little bursts.

    Where will your hair be cut? What kind of coffee will you buy, and where? We have been searching for the right mocha, every-where we go: at La Vieille France, a pastry store on the rue de Buci; at Hediard, on the place de la Madeleine; at Whittard, an English coffee importer that has a counter in the Conran on the rue du Bac. The Shaky Lady will preside over some kind of coffee, but even she cannot know quite which one, not just yet. We have been trying to furnish our place-we had minimal fur-niture in the New York loft, really, chairs and rugs and rattraps- and on Sundays we go up to the Marche aux Puces, the flea market, which remains a wonder, though the only fleas in it all have Platinum American Express cards.

    It isn't cheap. The Metro ride up to the porte de Clignancourt is a joy, though, just for the names of the stations in northern Paris: Chateau Rouge, Chateau d'Eau-what -was the Red Castle? We come up, back home, at Odeon, under the statue of Danton, and a single limb of a chestnut tree hangs over the Metro stairs. It's dark already at five o'clock, the limb sil-houetted against the moonlit sky while the crowd presses against you on the stairs.

    What an old place France is, the attic bursting. The feeling is totally different from an antiques fair in America; this is the attic of a civilization. Today we stop at Le Biron for lunch; the restaurants up at the flea market-Le Biron, Le Voltaire-are among the few real bistros left, in the sense of simple places with some culinary pre-tension that maintain an air of joie de vivre.

    The poor madame is terribly overworked, and we feel for her, but lunch, simple chicken, takes an hour and a half. The tarte tatin is very good, though. After lunch, on this freezing cold day, faint light raking through the stalls, Luke and I stop at the little bar with a Django-style swing band: two gypsy guitarists with ancient electrics with f-holes, joined by a good-looking blonde with an alto sax.

    There's a couple smoking endless Gauloises next to us. I ordered, with a thrilling automatic feeling, a cafe-calva and a grenadine for Luke. Martha was off shopping at Vernaison for a plain old table. A per-fect half hour. Martha insisted on taking a cab home, declaring it too cold to get on the Metro.

    The cabbie, observing Luke, began a dis-quisition on children. Only children-we explained in French that he won't be, or we hoped he wouldn't be-are, he explained, the cause of the high modern divorce rate: The boy arrives, and the man feels jealous; there is another man in his wife's life well, another being , and this leads to jealousy, a lover; and the whole cycle over again.

    Why a second child would cure this This is why women must have three children and stay home. It is odd to think that for so long people came to Paris mostly for the sex. Now the dirty movies get made in Amsterdam; the dirty drawings get sent in from Tokyo; and Oriental and even German towns, of all places, are the places you go for sexual experiment.

    Even the bidets are gone from Paris, mostly converted into bizarre plug-in electric toilets, which roar as they chew up human waste, in a frenzy of sanitary appetite, and then send it out, chastened, down the or-dinary water pipes. Things have become so run-down, or cleaned up, sexually here that France has even reached the point where it is running a bimbo deficit and has to import its sex objects. Philippe Douste-Blazy.

    The award struck many Parisians as ridiculous, but it was, in its crude way, a logical part of a consistent cultural policy. Despite their reputation, the French are not really cul-tural chauvinists at all. They remain chauvinists about their judgment, a different thing; increasingly their judgment is their culture. They want to be free to continue to reinvent American culture in their own image, finding art forms where back home we saw only hackwork and actresses where we saw only bimbos.

    The award to Sharon Stone was for "her services to world cul-ture. Pinning a decoration on Sharon Stone is the perfect way of looking down your nose at U. The one exception to the erotic milding of Paris are the lingerie ads, which still fill the boulevards and billboards. The ads-. Women are, as we would say, reduced to body parts; the Aubade ads isolate breasts or thighs or legs as relentlessly as a prep chef at KFC, each part dressed up in a somewhat rococo bit of underwear, lace and thong, in sculpted-lit black and white, very Hurrell, with a mocking "rule" underneath it-i.

    There is something stimulating but old-fashioned about these posters which, for a week or two at a time, are every-where, on every bus stop, on every bus. They are coquettish, a word I had never associated with a feeling before. For all the complaints about a new puritanism, the truth is that feminism in America has, by restoring an edge of unpredictability and dan-ger to the way women behave and the way men react to that be-havior, added to the total of tension on which desire depends.

    The edgy, complicated, reverse-spin coding of New York life- this skintight dress is not a come-on but its opposite, a declara-tion of independence meant not for you but for me-is unknown here. Here, the intellectuals wear black, and the models wear Alaia. The other evening, for instance, we went to a dinner party where the philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy appeared with his wife, the amazing-looking Arielle Dombasle who wore a bathing suit in one of those philosophical-erotic-talky French films, from the time when philosophical-erotic-talky French films were the delight of the Upper West Side.

    She wore a skintight lame dress. We saw her a week or so later and she was wearing another cling-ing lame dress, as though out of obligation to her own image, her own invention. Desir in Paris is surreptitious but not ironic; everyone has affairs, but no one has reverse-spin coding. In New York the woman in the clinging dress is probably a professor at Hunter, while the girl in all black with no makeup reading the. French papers may be Sharon Stone.

    You could tell by the medal, I suppose. BHV-the Bazar de 1'Hotel de Ville, the City Hall Bazaar-is al-ways called by its initials bay-aish-vay , and it is an old store, one of the great nineteenth-century department stores on the Right Bank that are the children of the Galeries Lafayette. As I say, it is on the rue de Rivoli; in fact that famous Robert Doisneau photograph of the two lovers kissing is set on the rue de Rivoli just outside BHV.

    This is doubly ironic: first, because the narrow strip of the rue de Rivoli in front of BHV is about the last place in the world that you would want to share a passionate kiss-it would be a bit like kissing at the entrance to the BMT near Macy's-and of course, it explains why they did it anyway. They are not sundered lovers but a young couple who have man-aged to buy an electric oven and emerged alive.

    Anyone who has spent time at BHV knows that they are kissing not from an onset of passion but from gratitude at having gotten out again. BHV, in its current form, seems to have been invented by a Frenchman who visited an E. Korvette's in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, sometime in the early s and, maddened with love, decided to reproduce it down to the least detail. There's the same smell of popcorn, the same cheery help, the same discount appliances stretching as far as the eye can see. It is the Parisian tradition that the landlord does not supply appliances.

    They must all be bought, and you take them with you when you leave. We had a whole run of things to buy, none of which, as lifelong Manhattan renters, we had ever had to buy before: a refrigerator, an oven, a stove. We had, oddly enough, once bought a wonder-.

    But we couldn't use even this since most of the old appliances run on American volts, and France uses volts. You either have to get the insides of the machine changed or else buy something new. We became hypnotized, bewitched by the curious selling rhythms of BHV: a mixture of confidence, arrogance, and an American-style straightforwardness, with the odd difference that here the customer is always, entirely wrong.

    We bought a toaster, which promptly shorted out the first time we used it. We brought it back. He looked shocked, disgusted, appalled, though not sur-prised. But he let us have a new one anyway. Ours didn't work, for reasons I don't understand, since a lot of the electric lamps we brought with us do work. Apparently some American lights shine in Paris, and some don't, don't ask why. Henry James wrote whole novels on this theme, after all. In-stead of coming in strands that you can wrap around the tree, though, the French Christmas tree lights come in guirlandes- garlands-closed circles of lights without beginnings or endings.

    A thin cord with a plug at the end shoots out from the middle of the garland. They cost a fortune too: twenty-five dollars for as many lights as you can get on Canal Street for five. These gar-lands are packed into the box just the way strands are-light by light in little cardboard notches in a horizontal row-so it's only when you take them out of the box that you realize that what you've got is a ring, not a rope. This means that the only way to get the Christmas lights on the Christmas tree is to lasso it. You have to get up on a ladder, hold the lights out as a loop, and then, pitching forward a bit, throw the entire garland right over the top of the tree, rodeo style.

    This is harder to do than it sounds and even more danger-ous than it looks. I suppose you could pick up the tree and shimmy the lights on from down below, like a pair of calecons, but this would require someone to pick up the tree so you could do it. I can't really see the advantages of having a garland over a string. A string is easier to use-you just start at the bottom and wrap it right around the tree, merrily ascending-and this seems to me not cultural prejudice but a practical fact.

    But then all cultural prejudices seem like practical facts to the prejudiced. Still, the garlands are all there is. Martha kept sending me back to buy more. Even then it wasn't finished. I had had the pointed inspiration of buying blue lights for the Christmas tree this year, whereas in New York we always had white ones.

    Since we had moved, changed cultures, I couldn't think of a better marker, a clearer declaration of difference and a new beginning, than having blue lights on the tree instead of white ones. But when I brought them home and did my Roy Rogers bit again and we turned them on and then turned off the lights in the living room, no one liked the look of them.

    The blue lights looked, well, blue. I doggedly, painstakingly packed them back into the box, took them back to the Bon Marche, and tried to exchange them for white lights. The trouble now was that the new white lights I got were white lights that were all twinkling ones. I saw the word clignotant on the box, and I knew that it meant blinking, but somehow I didn't associate the word blinking with the concept "These lights blink off and on.

    It said guirlande right on the box, and I knew perfectly well what guirlande meant; but I am not yet able to make the. I saw the word guirlande on the box, but I didn't quite believe it. In France I am always prepared to give words the benefit of a poetic doubt.