Are the French out of their Gallic tetes? The world won't
know for sure until Bernard Bled, the Paris official in charge of
the City of Light's millennium festivities, gives the oui
or non to a mind-boggling plan that would cut off all the
lights on the Champs Elyssees just before midnight on New Year's
The push to darken the historic thoroughfare is the brainchild
of architect Patrick Bouchain, who contends that the millennium
spectacle he has concocted would be diminished if traffic lights,
streetlights and commercial lighting were to be left on.
In an ideal world, even in a remotely sane world, Bouchain's
plan to blacken the Champs Elyssees prior to a dramatic light show
would not be such a big deal. But here on Earth, packing masses of
champagned people into a confined space and then turning the lights
off is the stuff that pickpockets' dreams are made of. What are
these people thinking?