Il fait froid à Paris. But otherwise, there are some great treats here. One is the free Internet, at Wi-Fi spots throughout the city and paid for by City Hall (that is, the taxpayers). Right now we're in the Mairie (town hall) of the 3rd Arrondissment, along with a couple of dozen other people all with laptops (Apple iBooks like mine seem to be the most popular). That's because the city government (one overall mayor, plus local mayors for each of the arrondissments) is all or mostly Socialist (Parti socialiste), in contrast to the national government under Sarkozy (UMP), pushing hard to the right. We are lucky to be here between strikes. The big one of the subway and other transit workers two weeks ago has been lifted, in preparation for a more massive one that threatens to paralyze the country beginning November 13.
My French is no where near as fluent as my Spanish or English but so far I've been able to make myself understood, and to understand most of the replies, in the brasseries, la pharmacie and, most complicated, with the hôte du logement, and I've been reading the papers. So far I haven't found any -- not Le Monde, certainly not Libération -- as good for world news as Spain's El País. Libération is very interesting on the labor conflicts and the effects of Sarkozy's new measures on local households, and carries interesting literary reviews, but has almost nothing on events outside France that don't directly affect France. Le Monde has a little more, including the other day an essay on the coming Mideast conference by, of all people, Henry Kissinger, noted Christmas bomber. More when I learn something interesting enough to share with you. À bientôt.