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LES ECHOS

An After-Hours Visit To The Champs-Elysées Seedy Sister Street

Rue de Ponthieu is one of the French capital's choice spots for late-night partying. But it also has a reputation for dodgy encounters and pre-dawn street fights.

Sunrise over rue de Ponthieu
Sunrise over rue de Ponthieu
Roland Gauron

PARIS — It's 5:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning: closing time for the nightclubs on Rue de Ponthieu in Paris' 8th arrondissement. Club goers spill onto the street. Watching them are a dozen or so police officers standing beside the nearby Galerie 66 shopping center. This is the street's "flashpoint," and the officers aren't budging. There was a shootout here last month, at about 7 a.m. — also on Sunday morning. Three men were shot and injured, two of them already known to police in relation with previous criminal affairs. The other was the driver of a private taxi.

About 15 or so bars and clubs are concentrated along a stretch of about 600 meters on this side street, just behind the famous Champs-Élysées, one of the world's most beautiful avenues. Cars move slowly in the early hours of the morning, occasionally honking their horns. Against the background noise and bustle, late-night partiers can still be heard laughing or shouting. An exasperated resident shouts out "shut the f**k up!" from somewhere. The effects of alcohol are evident on some. A girl in high heels and falling neckline wishes the policemen an enticing "good evening" before tripping a few steps later.

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Geopolitics

Has Lebanese Politics Finally Freed Itself Of Iran's Influence?

Lebanon's recent elections have shrunk the legislative block led by national power-brokers Hezbollah. But will a precarious new majority be able to rid the government of the long shadow of Tehran?

Supporters of pro-Iranian Hezbollah sit in a street decorated with picture of the party chief Hassan Nasrallah

Ahmad Ra'fat

-Analysis-

The results of parliamentary elections in Lebanon, have put an end to the majority block led by Hezbollah, the paramilitary group concocted by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hezbollah and its Christian allies, the Free Patriotic Movement, led by President Michel Aoun, lost their 71 seats and will now have 62 (of a total 128 seats).

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