Sunday, July 17, 2005
Lovely lights adorn the entrance to a luxury hotel just off of the rue de Rivoli.
Today is a
lovely day in
Today I am a
people said it would be 33C/92F today in
It is true that
in the south of
What is a
canicule, or heat wave, officially?
According to yesterday’s edition of Le Figaro, the weather experts at Météo
Xavier Bertrand, the “new” minister of health (appointed after the old one was fired in the aftermath of the 2003 heat wave that claimed tens of thousands of French lives), isn’t waiting for the canicule to arrive. He has already released 26 million euros for the old people’s homes and the home health care agencies to use to increase their supplies and workers in the event of a canicule.
The health officials warn that when there is a peak of ozone levels, old people, young children, and asthmatics must take care. Le Figaro reports, “In France, one study done by the World Health Organization and the National Health Watch Institute estimates that pollution in general, and due to ozone most importantly, ‘is responsible for 30,000 anticipated deaths’ as reported to the Minister of Ecology.”
Now that is one
shocking figure. The article doesn’t
say over what period of time these deaths would occur. A year?
Five years? Who knows? I assume
they mean that these deaths would occur in
The ozone is a result of the heat cooking auto exhaust and oil-based paint fumes (nitrogen dioxide, I believe?) into ozone. For several years, three types of actions have been taken to deal with this pollution problem. 1. Steps have been taken to help old people and others at risk during heat waves. 2. Manufacturers are being asked to promote and make more water-based paint and less oil-based paint. 3. Drivers are being asked to slow down because driving slower creates fewer emissions. Then there is another request I don’t fully understand; it has to do with recuperating vapors when trucks and cars fill up their gas tanks.
Enough of that serious stuff. On to food. We dined at Le Bistro Champêtre last night (107, rue Saint-Charles, Telephone 01-45-77-85-06). We should have stopped after our main courses, because everything after that declined. The dessert, an apple tart with calvados burned on it, was not good. Tom’s decaf expresso took FOREVER to arrive. If we hadn’t stayed for dessert, we could have taken a nice, long after-dinner walk.
But the appetizer, 12 wonderful escargot cooked in garlic, butter and herbs, was delightful. I had dorade and eggplant, both of which were very good, even if the eggplant didn’t look good. Tom had a beef brochette with fries. Both were good. The prices are very reasonable at Le Bistro Champêtre, and it is somewhat air conditioned. It is a large restaurant – a part of a chain of 6 or so restos – so you don’t really have to reserve, but it isn’t a bad idea.
I had to come to the rescue of a table of Americans next to us. The man at the table was desperately trying to ask the waiter if he rode a motorcycle. Why, I do not know. The American man was speaking in English, not knowing any French, and his wife knew very, very little French. The three grown children each knew about three words in French. The waiter knows enough English to take food orders, but no more. The American man would not give up. He tried a dozen words for motorcycle, and the waiter just looked confused. So I finally leaned over and said, “c’est une moto.” The entire table thanked me, and the waiter finally was able to answer that he drives a car, not a moto. Bizarre moments.