National Geographic : 1972 Jul
National Geographic, July 1972 own grievances. At the end of the month, President Charles de Gaulle pledged educa tional and industrial reform. The University of Paris disappeared as an entity, decentralized into 13 separate uni versities spread all around Greater Paris. Each would become autonomous, and the students would have much more say in administrative matters. The Grenelle Agreement, promising im provements in wages and hours, brought peace to industry. But the earlier chaos had lasting effects upon all France. It led to an aus terity program and devaluation of the franc. The Ministry of National Education recent ly introduced another change, which will per haps encourage the French to read more. Starting last April, the Ministry is presenting to every newly married couple, free of charge, six volumes of French classics, handsomely boxed and bound in red. Les Miserables on your honeymoon? The city's young lovers, and there seem to be more of them in Paris than anywhere else, are never miserable. A motorbike screeches to a stop at a red light. The helmeted driver tilts backward, the girl riding behind him bends over his face, they kiss. The light turns green. The motorbike races on to the next intersec tion, the next osculation. Many of these inseparable pairs, however, prefer to walk in the Luxembourg Gardens on a Sunday afternoon, hand in hand in the sunshine. You'll find children there too, riding donkeys, sailing toy boats in the pool, hurrying excitedly to watch a puppet show.