FRANCE: La Pipeletfe

Behind a glass door near the entrance to every apartment house in Paris sits a well-upholstered Cerberus who can purr contentedly or breathe fire at will. She (usually it is a she) is the Parisian concierge. Parisians call her La Pipelette, after Mme. Pipelet, a garrulous character in a popular French novel (The Mysteries of Paris). Paris knows her well, courts her favor, dreads and cherishes her power and protection. Last week, La Pipelette's very existence was threatened, and with it a bittersweet slice of Parisian life.

For a Consideration. In a moment of ill-advised generosity, France's Chamber of Deputies...

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