Just Above Sunset
July 9, 2006 - Nothing New Under the Moon

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Our Man in Paris is Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis. This week it's tense times in Paris. France beat Brazil in the World Cup game last Saturday evening, and faced Portugal next, and won (Ric's account of that from Wednesday is here - Bonjour Tristesse). So it's France versus Italy for the whole thing, Sunday night in Berlin, and noon here in Hollywood. This is Paris, waiting.

Saturday night, July 8 - In Paris there is nothing new under the moon. Everybody is fretting, waiting, passing time, until the BIG day - tomorrow - when it will be truth or consequences, even though they say Les Bleus are already heroes and it doesn't matter what they do in Berlin tomorrow. It does.


So, to keep out of trouble and because Arte's Saturday night docu was less than totally exciting - about the Medicis, and their bloody Florence and that little pipsqueak Nicolo M. and his advice for 'princes.' Hah! A lot of good it will do them in Berlin tomorrow!


So, keeping out of trouble, wandering in Montparnasse - actually like a great number of other people at loose ends - not wanting to watch Germany beat up Portugal - ah, play the game, somebody has to be third.


Still avoiding trouble, like the million holidayers who left today in a mad race to get somewhere on time for the game tomorrow. At the worst there were 450 kilometres of 'bouchons,' many of them on the outskirts of Paris, where there are the first toll booths handing out the autoroute tickets that you pay when you leave it, if you live so long. They didn't even mention the army of police out there waiting to snatch licenses. The 450 this weekend tops last year's.


The police not out trying to keep the French alive are getting ready here, to keep control of the Champs-Elysées tomorrow. Doctors-Without-Borders says they have set aside 250 hospital beds in Paris for the potentially wounded. Only six were killed after Wednesday's triumph in Munich - one was described as falling off the roof of a métro train at Opéra. That's something I've never seen - falling off the roof of a subway car.


Already announced - the Champs gets closed to traffic hours before the game. Sarkozy is probably moving in portable courts, jails, guillotines.


Already canonized - Zizou. Now it's official - he's the sole hero of the nation. Does not even have to play tomorrow. Never has to buy a cigar again in his life. Sainthood planned for Monday. It's the only thing all the French agree about, except of course for Jean-Marie Le Pen - who demanded more Aryan ball players. Hey there's Frank! Little Frank from Boulogne-sur-Mer, the hero of the Channel, dream of Dunkirk. Eh? And there's Willy, another little white French guy, reeking of garlic. And the goalkeeper, Fabian. Or is he from outer space, another planet?


Addidas was reported to have made an extra million Les Bleus shirts in white and the ever-popular blue, and these were sold out within eight minutes today. Flag sales have taken off like never before and the factories diverted all the ones they had made for Bastille Day, and they're all gone too. There's a looming flag shortage for the 14th, the first since August, 1914.


The Pope has carefully made his plans to be out of Italy this weekend, not shaking hands with the Spanish prime minister, while Queen Sofia kisses his ring or whatever it is they do instead of shaking the Pope's hand. The Pope's annoyed with the prime minister because of all the Spaniards having abortions and bull fighters marrying each other. He's a red Socialist - what does the Pope expect?


Le Parisien says 8 out of 10 French believe Les Bleus will win tomorrow. Germans, with third place sewed up are said to be rooting for the French on account of how they were treated by the Italians the other night. One assumes that they didn't stay bought. It must be the heat. I mean the prosecutor in Rome.


So you understand why I took a stroll around Montparnasse tonight. The photos are of the same old stuff, except I left out the all-night 'superette' in the rue d'Odessa. It was just as beautiful as ever. In fact Montparnasse was splendid tonight. The neons as brilliant as ever, the creperies, the cafes, the bars, the terraces, the restos, the cinemas.


If I didn't live here I'd wish I did.

Paris waits - Saturday night before the big game -

Paris waits - Saturday night before the big game -

Paris waits - Saturday night before the big game -

Paris waits - Saturday night before the big game -

Paris waits - Saturday night before the big game -

Text and Photos Copyright © 2006 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis

Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

The inclusion of any text from others is quotation for the purpose of illustration and commentary, as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law.  See the Legal Notice Regarding Fair Use for the relevant citation.
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