TEXT AND PHOTOS BY M. M. ALAM
PARIS: Globally Paris is visualized as a city that harbors Tour Eiffel, Leonardo’s oeuvre Mona Lisa, wine guzzling and cheese munching Parisians. But Paris has much more to offer to a visitor who really wants to imbibe the romance in the air.
One sees the iconic Tour Eiffel as soon as his plane commences descending on Paris. Unlike the narrow Minar-e-Pakistan, this 300m wrought iron lattice Tower harbors small eateries and kiosks. This scribe had bought a camera (for 500 Francs) in 1995 from a small shop there. You pay more if you want to go to the second and third level (by means of a primitive escalator and stairs).
Tour Eiffel was built by Gustave Eiffel to serve as the entrance to a World Fair organized back in 1889. Initially, this monster was disliked by the Parisians who hate modern structures tainting the conventional batiments.
Not many know that Eiffel had designed a secret apartment for himself at the summit where he used to entertain guests. Those visiting the third level can see wax statues of Gustave Eiffel, his daughter (servicing tea to) Thomas Elva Edison inside the chamber via glass partition.
Following militants’ attacks, (like elsewhere in Europe) armed guards are seen at the 125m square base of Tour Eiffel that has been fortified by means of concrete.
In order to figure out the happenings in the milieu one needs to quietly sit and observe: while millions of tourists visit the tower annually, a large number of migrants entertain them for money.
Walking away from Tour Eiffel one can stand on one of the small bridges on the River Seine. You can see Paris from boats called Bateaux Mouches while having lunch or dinner (during the 15km journey).
From Tour Eiffel, you can walk to Musée Guimet located at place d’Iéna. It has the largest collection of Asian artifacts (outside Asia). Even Louvre had given their priceless shreds of Asian history to them. Its former curator Jean-François Jarrige and his (archeologist) wife Catherine had spent some three decades in Balochistan and discovered 5000-year-old Mehrgarh Civilization.
From Guimet you can walk to Arc de Triomphe situated at Avenue des Champs-Elysées – the most romantic boulevard in the world. Like Tour Eiffel, you can buy the ticket to climb the Arc de Triomphe and view Paris by means of telescopes. On the way to the rooftop, one can visit a small museum inside the structure. On 14th July national day military parade also takes place on this Avenue in presence of the republic’s President.
Instead of taking a metro one should try to walk as much as possible to explore the real Paris. In case you are alone and not planning to remain there for long just buy a carnet (ten tickets) for the metro.While walking towards world’s most celebrated Museum Louvre (to take a glimpse of Mona Lisa) you can window shop at Louis Vuitton and the likes before tasting French cuisine at one of the innumerable restaurants at Avenue des Champs Elysees (including McDonald and Pakistani).
At Louvre again you will have to pay around Rs. 1500 to buy a ticket. On Wednesdays, after 6 PM you can get the same for about a thousand rupees (Museum remains open till 9.45). On the first Sunday of each month, you can enter the Louvre for free.
Tourists must visit Roman Catholic Church Sacré–Cœur Basilica perched high at the Montmartre, a hilly place from where you can see whole of Paris. These days due to FIFA World Cup football juggler at Sacré–Cœur Basilica has come into limelight.
Walking down the Church you can get your sketch drawn by roadside artists. Further down you can visit the (red light area) Pigalle marked by the red windmill (Moulin Rouge) known for the can-can dance.
If you visit Paris in the month of June you will be able to enjoy daylight right from 6 in the morning till 11 at night. Due to favorable weather in this month the world’s biggest (Biannual Paris) Air Show is held here in the mid of June (at Bourget).
You can go there on the last two (public days) and besides watching the cutting-edge technology can also learn about the history of aviation at Musée de l’Air. On the 21st of June Fête de la Musique (Music Day) is celebrated all over Paris.
And if you plan well you can also watch the participants of world-famous Tour de France cycling through the city. For Euro Disney Resort you will have to go some 30km out of Paris.
Cycling: Tour de France 15th stage results
CARCASSONNE (France): Results from the 15th stage of Tour de France, a 181.5km ride from Millau to Carcassonne today:
1. Magnus Nielsen (DEN/AST) 181.5 km in 4hr 25min 52sec
(average: 41,1 km/h)
2. Jon Izagirre (ESP/BAH) at 0
3. Bauke Mollema (NED/TRE) 2
4. Michael Andersen (DEN/AST) 29
5. Toms Skujins (LAT/TRE) 34
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/BAH) 34
7. Lilian Calmejane (FRA/DEN) 34
8. Rafal Majka (POL/BOR) 37
9. Nikias Arndt (GER/SUN) 2:31
10. Julien Bernard (FRA/TRE) 2:31
11. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 2:31
12. Niki Terpstra (NED/QST) 2:31
13. Daniele Bennati (ITA/MOV) 2:31
14. Fabien Grellier (FRA/DEN) 2:31
15. Pawel Poljanski (POL/BOR) 2:31
16. Amaël Moinard (FRA/FST) 2:31
17. Daryl Impey (RSA/MIT) 2:31
18. Romain Sicard (FRA/DEN) 2:31.
19. Daniel Martínez (COL/EFD) 2:31.
20. José Herrada Lopez (ESP/COF) 2:31.
21. Damien Howson (AUS/MIT) 2:31.
22. Serge Pauwels (BEL/DDT) 2:31.
23. Arthur Vichot (FRA/FDJ) 2:31.
24. Marc Soler (ESP/MOV) 6:07.
25. Florian Vachon (FRA/FST) 8:13.
26. Imanol Erviti (ESP/MOV) 8:13.
27. Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/SKY) 13:11.
28. Gianni Moscon (ITA/SKY) 13:11.
29. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 13:11.
30. Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP/SKY) 13:11.
31. Egan Bernal (COL/SKY) 13:11.
32. Rudy Molard (FRA/FDJ) 13:11.
33. Dion Smith (NZL/WGG) 13:11.
34. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 13:11.
35. Simon Geschke (GER/SUN) 13:11.
36. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) 13:11.
37. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) 13:11.
38. Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN/SUN) 13:11.
39. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) 13:11.
40. Nicolas Edet (FRA/COF) 13:11.
41. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 13:11.
42. Mikel Landa (ESP/MOV) 13:11.
43. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 13:11.
44. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 13:11.
45. Jesper Hansen (DEN/AST) 13:11.
46. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EFD) 13:11.
47. Pierre-Roger Latour (FRA/ALM) 13:11.
48. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/QST) 13:11.
49. Kristijan Durasek (CRO/EAU) 13:11.
50. Marco Minnaard (NED/WGG) 13:11.
51. Guillaume Martin (FRA/WGG) 13:11.
52. Mathias Frank (SUI/ALM) 13:11.
53. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 13:11.
54. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 13:11.
55. Silvan Dillier (SUI/ALM) 13:11.
56. Robert Gesink (NED/LNL) 13:11.
57. Oliver Naesen (BEL/ALM) 13:11.
58. Antwan Tolhoek (NED/LNL) 13:11.
59. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 13:11.
60. Daniel Martin (IRL/EAU) 13:11.
61. Omar Fraile (ESP/AST) 13:11.
62. Primoz Roglic (SLO/LNL) 13:11.
63. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 13:11.
64. Bob Jungels (LUX/QST) 13:11.
65. Audrey Amador (CRC/MOV) 13:11.
66. Daniel Navarro (ESP/COF) 13:11.
67. Wout Poels (NED/SKY) 13:11.
68. Warren Barguil (FRA/FST) 13:11.
69. David Gaudu (FRA/FDJ) 13:11.
70. Franco Pellizotti (ITA/BAH) 13:11.
71. Gorka Izagirre (ESP/BAH) 13:11.
72. Adam Yates (GBR/MIT) 13:11.
73. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/DEN) 13:11.
74. Peter Sagan (SVK/BOR) 13:11.
75. Mikel Nieve (ESP/MIT) 15:40.
76. Laurens ten Dam (NED/SUN) 15:40.
77. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/BAH) 15:40.
78. Maxime Bouet (FRA/FST) 15:40.
79. Timothy Dupont (BEL/WGG) 17:55.
80. Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE/FDJ) 17:55.
81. Michael Schär (SUI/BMC) 17:55.
82. Nils Politt (GER/KAT) 17:55.
83. Timo Roosen (NED/LNL) 17:55.
84. Chad Haga (USA/SUN) 17:55.
85. Paul Martens (GER/LNL) 17:55.
86. Stefan Kung (SUI/BMC) 17:55.
87. Pavel Kochetkov (RUS/KAT) 17:55.
88. Ian Boswell (USA/KAT) 17:55.
89. Thomas Degand (BEL/WGG) 17:55.
90. Luke Durbridge (AUS/MIT) 17:55.
91. Koen de Kort (NED/TRE) 17:55.
92. Tomasz Marczynski (POL/LOT) 17:55.
93. Andrea Pasqualon (ITA/WGG) 17:55.
94. Darwin Atapuma (COL/EAU) 17:55.
95. Simon Clarke (AUS/EFD) 17:55.
96. Rory Sutherland (AUS/EAU) 17:55.
97. Thomas Boudat (FRA/DEN) 17:55.
98. Jasper Stuyven (BEL/TRE) 17:55.
99. Edward Theuns (BEL/SUN) 17:55.
100. Kévin Ledanois (FRA/FST) 17:55.
101. Romain Hardy (FRA/FST) 17:55.
102. Elie Gesbert (FRA/FST) 17:55.
103. Yoann Offredo (FRA/WGG) 17:55.
104. Anthony Perez (FRA/COF) 18:01.
105. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/LOT) 21:44.
106. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL/WGG) 21:44.
107. Simon Gerrans (AUS/BMC) 21:44.
108. Julien Vermote (BEL/DDT) 22:17.
109. Gregor Mühlberger (AUT/BOR) 23:36.
110. Michael Gogl (AUT/TRE) 23:36.
111. Anthony Turgis (FRA/COF) 23:36.
112. Oliviero Troia (ITA/EAU) 23:36.
113. Laurent Pichon (FRA/FST) 23:36.
114. Dimitri Claeys (BEL/COF) 23:36.
115. Matthew Hayman (AUS/MIT) 23:36.
116. Marco Marcato (ITA/EAU) 23:36.
117. Daniel Oss (ITA/BOR) 23:36.
118. Tom Scully (NZL/EFD) 23:36.
119. Jay Thomson (RSA/DDT) 23:36.
120. Michael Hepburn (AUS/MIT) 23:36.
121. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA/DDT) 23:36.
122. Olivier Le Gac (FRA/FDJ) 23:36.
123. Tim Declercq (BEL/QST) 23:36.
124. Jasper De Buyst (BEL/LOT) 23:36.
125. Jelle Vanendert (BEL/LOT) 23:36.
126. Yves Lampaert (BEL/QST) 23:36.
127. Taylor Phinney (USA/EFD) 23:36.
128. Christophe Laporte (FRA/COF) 23:36.
129. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/DDT) 23:36.
130. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/EAU) 23:36.
131. Ramon Sinkeldam (NED/FDJ) 23:36.
132. John Degenkolb (GER/TRE) 23:36.
133. Roberto Ferrari (ITA/EAU) 23:36.
134. Arnaud Démare (FRA/FDJ) 23:36.
135. Lukas Pöstlberger (AUT/BOR) 23:36.
136. Kristjan Koren (SLO/BAH) 23:36.
137. Damien Gaudin (FRA/DEN) 23:36.
138. Maciej Bodnar (POL/BOR) 23:36.
139. Marcus Burghardt (GER/BOR) 23:36.
140. Jacopo Guarnieri (ITA/FDJ) 23:36.
141. Maximiliano Richeze (ARG/QST) 23:36.
142. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/QST) 23:36.
143. Jack Bauer (NZL/MIT) 23:36.
144. Julien Simon (FRA/COF) 23:36.
145. Heinrich Haussler (AUS/BAH) 23:36.
146. Luke Rowe (GBR/SKY) 23:36.
147. Sep Vanmarcke (BEL/EFD) 23:36.
148. Amund Grondahl Jansen (NOR/LNL) 23:36.
149. Lawson Craddock (USA/EFD) 23:36.
150. Tom Slagter (NED/DDT) 23:36.
Class standings from the 15th stage of the Tour de France, a 181.5km ride from Millau to Carcassonne on Sunday:
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/BOR) 452 pts
2. Alexander Kristoff (NOR/EAU) 170
3. Arnaud Démare (FRA/FDJ) 133
4. John Degenkolb (GER/TRE) 128
5. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL/BMC) 115
6. Andrea Pasqualon (ITA/WGG) 100
7. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/QST) 89
8. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/QST) 84
9. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/BAH) 76
10. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/LOT) 71
1. Rafal Majka (GER/BOR) 10 pts
2. Bauke Mollema (USA/TRE) 8
3. Magnus Nielsen (KAZ/AST) 6
4. Lilian Calmejane (FRA/DEN) 4
5. Michael Valgren (KAZ/AST) 2
King of Mountains:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/QST) 92 pts
2. Warren Barguil (FRA/FST) 70
3. Serge Pauwels (BEL/DDT) 66
4. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 30
5. Rafal Majka (POL/BOR) 28
6. David Gaudu (FRA/FDJ) 25
7. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EFD) 23
8. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) 23
9. Rudy Molard (FRA/FDJ) 22
10. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/LNL) 20
1. Movistar 188 h 47:32.
2. Bahrain at 7:10.
3. Sky 42:22.
4. Astana 47:43.
5. LottoNL 52:00.
6. Giant 1 h 17:38.
7. BMC 1 h 18:04.
8. Mitchelton 1 h 22:31.
9. AG2R La Mondiale 1 h 29:19.
10. Etixx 1 h 35:25.
11. Europcar 1 h 47:27.
12. Cofidis 2 h 07:36.
13. RadioShack 2 h 07:51.
14. EF Drapac 2 h 20:01.
15. FDJ.fr 2 h 23:33.
16. Fortuneo-Samsic 2 h 29:48.
17. Bora 2 h 37:58.
18. Lampre 2 h 39:58.
19. Katusha 2 h 41:25.
20. Wanty 2 h 43:08.
21. Team MTN 3 h 07:43.
22. Lotto 4 h 22:47.
Best young riders (overall):
1. Pierre-Roger Latour (FRA/ALM) 63 h 07:15.
2. Guillaume Martin (FRA/WGG) at 2:27.
3. Egan Bernal (COL/SKY) 6:16.
4. Daniel Martínez (COL/EFD) 26:45.
5. David Gaudu (FRA/FDJ) 39:23.
6. Stefan Kung (SUI/BMC) 43:21.
7. Soren Kragh Andersen (DEN/SUN) 52:33.
8. Antwan Tolhoek (NED/LNL) 1 h 02:44.
9. Magnus Nielsen (DEN/AST) 1 h 03:19.
10. Marc Soler (ESP/MOV) 1 h 23:32.
1. Rafal Majka (POL/BOR)
France’s far-right patriarch refused questioning in EU fraud case
PARIS: Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s far-right National Front party, refused to submit to police questioning last month as part of an EU funding inquiry, claiming immunity as a European Parliament lawmaker, his adviser said today.
Le Pen is one of several party MEPs suspected of using European Parliament funds provided for assistance to pay more than 20 France-based party staff. If convicted, the party could be ordered to repay seven million euros ($8.2 million), and the judges pre-emptively seized the subsidies.
An EU tribunal has already determined that Le Pen must reimburse 320,000 euros. But when police from France’s anti-corruption squad tried to question him last month at his office just outside Paris, he claimed MEP immunity and ordered them to leave. “He was prepared to receive them, but they had such arrogant attitudes which Jean-Marie Le Pen refused to accept,” his adviser Lorrain de Saint Affrique told AFP, confirming a report in the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.
Le Pen, 90, sits as an independent after being thrown out of his party by his daughter Marine Le Pen in 2015 for saying the Nazi gas chambers were a mere “detail” of history. He has also often made disparaging statements against Muslims and Roma which have earned him a string of hate speech convictions.
His daughter has renamed the party the National Rally in an effort to shed its xenophobic and anti-Semitic image. The EU funding inquiry has led French judges to withhold two million euros of public subsidies for the party, a move which Marine Le Pen has denounced as a “death sentence”. Without the funds, she warns the party will be bankrupt by September.
EU demands greater clarity from May on her Brexit blueprint
BRUSSELS: The EU’s top negotiator Michel Barnier expressed doubts Friday over Britain’s new Brexit blueprint for future trade ties with the European Union, as he called for “rapidly” settling outstanding issues like the Irish border.
But Barnier also welcomed good points in London’s fresh proposal, such as plans for a free trade agreement, after he discussed it Thursday with Britain’s new Brexit negotiator Dominic Raab. Raab took up the job following a rebellion against Prime Minister Teresa May’s Brexit proposal.
But before talk of future ties, Barnier said the priority should be on clinching a Brexit divorce deal over the next weeks, with 20 percent of the so-called withdrawal agreement still to be achieved.
Britain is set to leave the bloc on March 30, but the two sides want to strike the divorce agreement by late October in order to give parliaments enough time to endorse a deal.
“On the future economic partnership, the white paper (blueprint) raises three sets of questions for which we are expecting answers,” Barnier told a press conference after consultations with EU ministers.
He said he wanted answers on whether the offer met EU guidelines, including on the free movement of goods, capital, people, and technology.
He also sought to know whether the blueprint supported the integrity of the EU single market and the autonomy of European decision-making.
He cited concerns about border controls, potential fraud, and unfair competition. “We need choices and decisions, clarity and legal certainty,” the French negotiator said.
But he said the blueprint contained “several elements for a constructive discussion”, including on security cooperation.
Britons voted to leave the 28-nation bloc in June 2016, but negotiations were only launched a year later and have bogged down frequently since then.
Barnier and others are concerned about the slow pace of talks against the backdrop of political discord in Britain, including the rebellion against May over her blueprint.
May’s blueprint for the future would see Britain ask the EU for a free trade area for goods through a “facilitated customs arrangement” alongside a “common rulebook”.
Brexiteers believe that keeps Britain too close to the EU, while pro-Europeans think it fails to protect the country’s dominant services sector, among other gripes.
“We must rapidly find an agreement on all the subjects that are still open in the withdrawal agreement,” Barnier said, recalling there were just 13 weeks left.
He listed as a top concern the lack of progress on the future of the border between EU member Ireland and the British province of Northern Ireland.
The EU has proposed that Northern Ireland stay aligned with the bloc after Brexit if no other solution to the hard border can be found.
Under its guidelines, the EU stipulates there should be no “hard border,” such as customs checks, in order to preserve the gains of the Irish peace process.
“This requires, in particular, a legally operative backstop,” Barnier said after recalling May’s commitment to a backstop in March.
“We cannot afford to lose time on this issue,” he added. Barnier said that is why he had asked his British counterparts next week to work on the backstop, which he calls an “all-weather insurance policy.”
But London is concerned the EU proposal would break up the UK. It has suggested instead that the whole country remain aligned with the EU in certain areas, only until the end of 2021, but Brussels knocked that idea back.
The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, published a document on Thursday urging the remaining 27 member states and businesses to “step up preparations” for all outcomes, including the lack of a deal. It warned of disruptions, including to business supply chains.