Sunday, June 18, 2006

La Coupe du Monde

The World Cup is the Superbowl of Football, the original one (only Americans call American football just "football".) This event, however, only takes place once every four years. World Cup fever has taken over Europe, with flags flying, tacky decorations up in the fast-food restaurants, and people leaving their homes to sit in brasseries to enjoy a beer and the game.

This is somewhat unusual in Paris. Most bars here do not have the televisions blaring from every corner like many American places. There is a television tax to just own a television, so the number of TV's in public places and private homes is reduced--and those who have one have just that: one. (Kim lets me know this is per household, not per TV, but maybe once you've paid the yearly tax on owning it, nothing's left to buy a second! Not to mention the TVA--value added tax, like sales tax but figured into the price, the habitation tax on square meters of your home, etc. etc. etc....)

Despite the hefty tax, some businesses are seizing this opportunity to bring in flat-screens (possibly rented--that's my guess.) Along with your croissant and café normal or demi de Blanche you can check out the game, served by a waiter in a black bow tie.

Vive la France!

**(This photo is during the first half of the France/Korea game, on right now as I type. I took it while giving Lucy her evening walk, and in return, Dr. B took down the dry laundry and ironed his own clothes--just for the chance to watch the game from the beginning. He says that it is pretty much hockey, with no skates, more guys, grass and a ball. Close enough!)



At 3:55 PM, June 18, 2006, Anonymous kim said...

Actually, the tax isn't per tv, it's per household, so it doesn't explain the fact that people do with one tv. I think it's just question of upbringing, although things seem to be changing. A lot of our friends here have a tv in the bedroom. Personally, that's where I put my foot down. Ugh.

At 11:04 PM, June 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Down here in Australia, we call Australian Rules Football just football too, but we shorten it to "footy".
Your American Football is also called "Gridiron" am I right?

Oh, and GO the Socceroos!!!

At 1:57 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger La Rêveuse said...

Um, I don't know. Never heard of that, but I'm not what one would call "sporty". (I've been to more professional operas than professional sports events, and given a choice I'd choose the opera every time.)

At 2:54 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger L'Amerloque said...

Hi Mrs B !

The audiovisual tax and the TVA really have nothing to do with the fact that few cafés, bars and restaurants in France have a TV or radio playing "for the customers", compared to the USA.

It's all about the SACEM, the Société des Auteurs, Compositeurs et Editeurs de Musique. This is the organization in France that collects rights and royalties for composers and performers. It has a monopoly.

Concretely, this means that if a bar (or a hair salon, or a gas station shop, or any shop or store at all) wants to play music (tape, CD, DVD, radio, TV) for its customers, it must pay a yearly fee (une redevance) to the SACEM. From what Amerloque has learned when dealing with the SACEM, the fee can be quite substantial, as apparently it is based on a basket of criteria, including turnover.

SACEM inspectors wander throughout the cities of France, entering shops and checking if a) there is music and b) if the shop has paid its yearly fee. They make sure the establishments pay up.

/*/Despite the hefty tax, some businesses are seizing this opportunity to bring in flat-screens (possibly rented--that's my guess.)/*/

Nope. (grin) Legally renting leaves a paper trail, and rentals must be declared to the authorities (when one purchases, rents or leases a TV in France, it is declared to the authorities so that the "audiovisual tax" can be collected, by the way). If on the paperwork the owner/renter of the flat-screen is Jojo's Cafe SARL, one can bet that the SACEM will stop by quickly.

The TVs of which you speak are probably borrowed for the duration, or simply moved into the bar/café from the owner's home. The café owner is betting that a SACEM inspector won't be popping into the café for the duration of the World Cup – then he can get away free of redevance. (grin)

France is a complicaed place, eh ?


At 3:01 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger La Rêveuse said...

Well, there you go, then! (Et puis, voilà!)

Amerloque answers my queries, once again. And yes, France is very complicated.


At 3:43 AM, June 19, 2006, Blogger PutYourFlareOn said...

I'd like to get rid of out tv all together to avoid all the confusion. But that's something I'll have to take up with my husband.


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