*** Secrets of Paris Newsletter #21: February 9, 2002***


IN THIS ISSUE:

*From the Home Office
*Win a trip to the Grand Opening of Disney Studios in Paris!
*Crash Course in French from the Master
*Asterix & Cleopatra
*Question on Cheap Housing
*And a Question About French Lessons
*Valentine's Day in Paris
*What's Up? Wax
*Another website for Visitors to Paris

* From the Home Office *
Maybe some of you are wondering why I don't write this more often. It's not, I assure you, from lack of things to write about. Unfortunately, yours truly is suffering from RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury), tendonitis and tennis elbow. Lots of horrid things, all in my right arm. When I first felt that stinging pain in my fingers, I joked about my 'mouse arm', named so because it's from all the surfing around and editing/layout/translation I do wit mouse in hand all day long. So, I'm not allowed to be on the computer too long, and I'm making my osteopath rich. Which brings up another point. This is free, which is why you get those stupid ads from Yahoo! Groups in return for neither you nor I paying a cent. But I would like to do more, and get us onto a website where you don't get pop-ups in your face. So here's a question for all of you loyal readers: if I built my own site and newsletter distributor, do you think *new* subscribers would pay to join? Just enough to cover the costs, like $4 per year for at least twice-monthly letters? I wouldn't make y'all pay, because I'm still peeved that Homestead wanted me to pay *after* I spent hours building my website. All feedback in general is welcome. Do you think the newsletter is great, okay, or in need of massive work? Tell it like it is…I can take it! For freelancers, feedback is even better than Valentines! Oh, and before I get a nasty e-mail, Claire wanted me to tell y'all that Carpe Diem Café has replaced the Oscar Wilde, not the James Joyce, as mentioned last month. -H

* Win a trip to the Grand Opening of Disney Studios in Paris! *
Ah yes, the EuroDisney Resort Empire continues to grow, bwah hah hah! As a big fan myself, I managed to gain press entrance for Claire and myself to the Grand Opening of Disney Studios and the Ten Year Anniversary of Disneyland Paris next door. The official opening date for the public is March 16, but if you want to attend the pre-opening bash March 15, AND YOU LIVE IN IRELAND OR THE UK (sorry!), you can win a free trip for yourself and three pals by going to the Disney Studios website and answering a few trivia questions (if you're a Disney fan or ever babysat, it should be cake). Good luck, and maybe I'll see you there!
http://www.disneylandparis.com/uk/explore_disneyland_paris/walt_disney_studios/flash/index.htm


* Crash Course in French from the Master *
Planning a trip to Paris and need to master the basics of the French language? Michel Thomas is your man. He has taught movie stars like Mel Gibson and Princess Grace of Monaco how to speak a foreign language in a short time with NO homework, memorizing, or even workbooks! How does he do it? Good question. I read in an article here in France that he uses a method unlike anything you've ever seen in school. And claims it's fun, too! And up until recently, you had to pay big bucks to get a lesson with Michel, but now he has an audio course on CD at Amazon.com. I may try his Italian course so I can haggle with the market people at the border. If I do I'll tell you how it worked for me. Until then, looks like I've got Mom's Christmas present early this year!
"French with Michel Thomas: The Fastest Way to Learn a Language"
http://www.amazon.com/

* Asterix & Cleopatra *
Speaking of Disney, the local French competition to Mickey Mouse, Asterix (and his Theme Park) have teamed up with the very un-French McDonald's (aka Mac Do') to promote the latest Asterix & Cleopatra film. It may seem like an act of desperation to enter the Golden Arches in Paris, but you can't beat an Asterix Happy Meal for a unique gift for the kids back home. Collect all six and they click together to form a sort of Egyptian montage. And pas mal at just under €5! Click here to see the toys: http://www.mcdonalds.fr/

* Question on Cheap Housing *
Julian, a music student moving to Paris, wrote in to ask the question on most new residents' minds: Where do I find cheap housing? The traditional places to look are the FUSAC (http://www.fusac.fr/), where you'll find ads in French and English, usually targeting the student and expat community, the Particulier-à-Particulier (http://www.pap.fr/), which is a French magazine with ads from owners, not agencies (who charge large fees), and the message boards at the American Church. It's obviously cheaper to live outside the center, but be careful about the suburbs, because the RER trains only run until about 1am, and if (more likely 'when') there's a strike, that's a lot of walking. Also, keep your eyes open for the new laws aimed at protecting renters from paying huge guarantees upfront, from renting places that are unsafe or too small (the infamous 'chambre de bonne' and the 'studette'). If I see a good article on this in English I'll post it here next month.

* And a Question About French Lessons *
If you're in Paris and looking for a good language school, I highly recommend the Alliance Française. Not only in Paris, they have schools around the world, and in addition to classes there are usually cultural events, social gatherings and help with adjusting to life in France. And the one in Paris is just around the corner from the lovely Jardin du Luxembourg:
In Paris: http://www.alliancefr.org/
Worldwide: http://www.francedit.com/af/accueil.asp
There are many other schools out there like Berlitz and at the American University of Paris. You'll find all of their ads in the FUSAC.

* Valentine's Day in Paris *
Mmmmmm….romantic just thinking about it. The chocolates, the lingerie, the Seine and the rue St. Denis (well, to each his own). Get the scoop on all the goings on, gift ideas, and more in this week's Bonjour Paris (http://www.bparis.com). Especially noteworthy is the article, "I'm with Cupid": tips for singles in Paris during Valentine's Day. You can also visit the official site of the town called Saint-Valentin (in central France), which has the history of the day and lots of cheesy heart-shapes on its site (in English and French): http://village-saint-valentin.com/home.htm

* What's Up? Wax. *
Remember the packed Befores at the What's Up Bar at Bastille? Gone for almost two years now, but its replacement, WAX, is heating up. The décor is 70s, the crowd still young and too cool, and the music goes until 2am (so far, they're waiting for the all-night license). A good warm-up before a night at Le Cabaret.
WAX
15, rue Daval, 11th arr.
Tel: 01.40.21.16.18.
Metro: Bastille
Free entry

* Another Website for Visitors *
Always seems to be another website with info on hotels and visits and monuments and tours of the Loire Valley, but I like 1France. It's not exclusively about Paris, but you'll find helpful info, notable an online version of the Petit Futé Guide to Paris (in English) in the Tools section. There are also some interesting articles like "The Best Linen Shops in Paris". Check them out: http://www.1france.com

* Check out my Archives *
There are over 50 articles and 175 links archived on my Secrets of Paris website at Suite101.com (soon to be updated and given a new home). Photos, too! Go have a peek: http://www.suite101.com/welcome.cfm/4820

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