Posted: 4/10/2015
Title: APRIL IN PARIS

Blog:                                                                                                                         

President Ronald Regan called in right on August 05, 1981. On that day he fired 11,359 striking air traffic controllers who had violated his order to return to work within 48 hours. 7,000 flights had to be cancelled.

A lifetime ban on the strikers by the FAA and on August 17th the Federal Relations Authority declassified the union PATCO and banned striking members from working as controllers for life. I think the Frenchies ought to learn a thing or two from Reagan.

The French controllers went on yet another strike over the demand to retire at age 47 instead of 49. Talk about cushy jobs. The French only work a 35 hour week with great benefits and early pensions. I has my Ryan Air flight from Manchester to Paris cancelled at the last minute and missed the French Cup semi-final at Parc des Princes: PSG v St. Etienne. I managed to get a Jet2 flight Leeds to Paris the next day which arrived on time to glorious Spring weather and sunny skies.

Of all the thousands of stadiums in 80 plus countries that I have visited STADE ROBERT-BOBIN in BONDOUFLE about 60km south in the suburbs of Ile de France proved to be a little hard to find. No train station and after asking dozens of information kiosks and offices ONE young guy in a red and navy train uniform new the answer. "You have to get off at EVRY COURCOURONNES and then ask locally", he said. He helped me buy a ticket at Gare de Lyon for my one hour ride. GOOD NEWS. On arrival There were three white passenger vans from nearby JUVISY the third best women's club in France offering fans a free ride to the stadium and return. I seemed the only taker and five minutes later arrived with a large crowd to support LES BLEUES.

In fact 11,445 was the official attendance for FRANCE v CANADA feminine and a rousing LES MARSEILLES set the tone for a fun evening, even though I wondered why the kick off, with many families present, was at 9.00pm. Canada are of course the host nation for the FIFA Women's World Cup this summer while FRANCE will open against England in MONCTON on June 9th. It was a steep climb to the enclosed press tribune and I took the only spare seat with a huge box of sandwiches in front of me. BON APP. Carrefour TRIO POULET CRUDITES....so I was Le gardien de sandwiches for the evening ! and next to me was a case of Eau de Montage, more power for me.

France dominated throughout and the visitors will need the passion and support of their home crowds to make them competitive even with experienced players such as captain Christine Sinclair and a well travelled coach in John Herdman.. The officials were Silvia Spinelli from Italy with assistants from Switzerland. About 8 Mexican Waves and one goal. Eugenie LE SOMMER scored the only goal in the 34th minute as the Tricolors waved in the stands, which unfortunately were well back from the action with a running track and other wasted space.

Captain Wendie Renard and Laura Georges played well in defence and I was also impressed by Elodie Thomis in attack. a few press box colleagues, one from Stockholm. insisted on going to the post match press conference wondering how to get back to Paris. I got my free shuttle and caught the last train to Gare de Lyon at 11.48 pm for under 6 Euros, with no sign of the Swede. At least 150 Euros by taxi..if one could be found...but Swedes have loads of money, don't they?

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