Friday, July 15, 2005
Fireworks, as seen
from our kitchen window.
I’m not sure
what President Chirac was thinking yesterday when he gave his annual Fête
Nationale TV interview. Just after spending
a moment of silence in support of the British bombing victims, he spent much
of this interview explaining in detail how the French are better than the
British in almost every way. That
wasn’t very nice, was it?
fireworks were different this year.
Many of them were fired directly from the
We went to Le
Tipaza at about 9PM for dinner last night.
Mohammed greeted us with enthusiasm and we were given the very best
table, in the front corner window. It
is almost like having your own private dining room facing the street. From there, we watched the traffic grow
into a real snarl as people tried to drive to see the fireworks.
I think we
usually eat at Le Tipaza on Quatorze Juillet.
For one thing, it is open. For
another, it is usually hot weather and Le Tipaza’s front is entirely open, so
there is some air circulation. If the
weather really heats up, they even turn on their air conditioning. But I think that happens only if the
outdoor temperature goes above normal body temperature. It isn’t quite that hot . . . yet.
everyone, I wonder? Usually Le Tipaza
is crowded on Quatorze Juillet and on Sunday & Monday nights through July
and August. But there were only about
4 tables occupied while we were there.
It is a shame, because the food and service were excellent. We both had Chateaubriand with roquefort
sauce. It is the best steak I have had
I sincerely do
hope that people are not staying away from Le Tipaza and other North African
restos in the aftermath of the
Le Tipaza is a
feast for the eyes, too. It has
elaborate tile on the floors and partway up the walls and columns. Above the tile is intricately molded
plaster that forms Moorish arches between the columns. The lighting is perfect. The comfortable chairs are covered in a
rich tapestry-like fabric with colors that blend with the tile. Mohammed and his staff are dressed in
crisply ironed white shirts and neat black trousers.
The place is –
or has been – very popular. Take a
look at this
review. And another French
reviewer says: “Un restaurant berbère
génial : la nourriture est fameuse et le décors est très très sympa. On sent
que le patron a enormément travaillé à faire quelque chose de qualité. Les prix sont hyper raisonnables. Je vous
conseille un petit détour par ce resto. vraiment.” (Translation: A great North African restaurant: the food is famous and the décor is very,
very nice. One senses that the boss
has worked tremendously hard to make something of high quality. The prices are extremely reasonable. I advise you to take a detour for this
Le Tipaza, 150
av. Emile Zola, Telephone 01-45-79-22-25.
the way, is a city on the Mediterranean coast in western
pavement of the Etoile, the enormous roundabout
surrounding the Arc de Triomphe, is going to be re-done. Each paving stone will be taken up,
cleaned, and replaced. This will
involve 300,000 paving stones in the section of the roundabout between the
avenues Foch and Iena, about 3,000 square meters. This will take about a month and a half,
starting now and ending at the end of August.
Last year, the
city did this operation in about 6000 square meters right around the
Arc. This is where the paving stones
form a design that looks like a twelve-pointed star. The newspaper says, “It is necessary to
scrupulously respect the design with the paving stones of different colors.”
If you have
ever driven through or been driven through this famous intersection, you
won’t be surprised when I tell you that the paper says the Etoile handles
15,000 vehicles per hour. Somehow,
traffic is maintained while this work is being done.
operation is being done by 25 workers on site. The stones will be power washed, and placed
in a metal drum which is shaken to remove the old bits of blacktop from old
joints. The concrete surface beneath
the stones will be restored while the stones for that section are being
cleaned. When the stones are clean as
new, they are replaced.
Prior to this
and last year’s operation, the stones haven’t been renovated since 1947! Next year’s project will involve 4,500
square meters, and the year after, another 2,500 square meters will be
restored. That will complete the new
As beautiful as
the paving stones are, they have their detractors. Motorcyclists don’t like them, and some
drivers think that the bumpy ride over the pavers is just too
uncomfortable. The detractors say that
for the sake of “patrimoine” (historic preservation), keeping the Arc de
Triomphe is enough.