RéconciliationJanuary 22nd marked the 40 anniversary of the Réconciliation (reconciliation) between France and Germany. Signed in 1963 by then German Chancellor Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulle. What the Germans call the treaty of Paris and the French call the treaty of the Elysée is essentially a treaty of friendship between the two countries. Between 1870 and 1945 France and Germany fought three major wars: War of 1870-71, World War I and World War II.
The occasion was marked by a celebration January 22. A joint session of the French and German parliaments was held at the Chateau de Versailles, the site of two famous treaties. In this historic palace the treaty ending the war of 1870-71 was signed, it forced France to hand over Alsace and Lorraine to Germany. In 1918 the treaty ending World War I, was singed returning Alsace and Lorraine to France.
Both leaders: German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac, also used this time to state their unity in opposing a war in Iraq.
StuckEarly January saw not only snow, which by bad luck fell on the last weekend of the winter vacation season, but also French ineffectiveness. Fifteen thousand motorists where stuck overnight on the A10 Autoroute. The situation was caused by heavy snowfalls and an accident, which made plowing impossible. Further complicating the situation was the failure to warn motorists about the accident. The government blamed the company overseeing the A 10 Autoroute for not communicating the extent of the delay to drivers. Thus, creating for a time, the longest parking lot in the world.
Putting salt on the wounds of those that stayed in their cars, and some did overnight, was once travel resumed they had to pay their tolls.
Those using the airports of Paris also suffered from this ineffectiveness as thousands were stranded overnight at Orly and Charles de Gaulle. Why? Both airports ran out of salt to melt the snow on their runways.
BornL'odyssée de l'espèce (The odyssey of the Species), a documentary on the evolution of man based on scientific research, was shown January 7th on channel France 3. The first third of this superb documentary included computer generated human replicas. The filmmakers decided to limit the use of human actors to the last two thirds of the movie. Scientists believe that the movement of the first human descendents was unlike humans today.
Some of the 'stars' of L'odyssée de l'espèce were such anthropological finds as Lucy, the nearly complete skeleton of an early human ancestor found in Ethiopia on November 30, 1974.