French call for `rue de Diana' in Paris

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The Independent Online
AS THE anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, approaches, the French are being seized again by Dianamania. Interest in France had waned as the investigation failed to prove anything substantial, but the French press are now testifying to their compatriots' continuing sense of loss after the tragic accident last August.

No official commemoration is planned by the city of Paris, but polls show 70 per cent of the French want a Parisian street or a square named after the Princess. The authorities are being denounced by the press and the public for being out of touch with popular opinion. "I cannot believe they can consider not naming a road after her," said one French woman. "Roads have been named after far less deserving people."

The polls show the death of "la Princesse du peuple" affected a cross- section of the French. Those demanding an official memorial in Paris are of all ages and come from all walks of life. Visitors from around the world still flock to the pont de l'Alma where the accident happened, and where the flame from the Statue of Liberty has become an appropriate unofficial memorial to Diana.

The office of Jean Tiberi, mayor of Paris, insists that although they have considered a permanent memorial, they may not do anything for at least five years - the minimum time required before naming a road after the deceased.

The authorities admit there may be a spontaneous event at the sight of the tragedy, but the only commemoration with official permission is a candlelit vigil, organised by a cultural group. The British embassy says the Princess's family feels it should be a quiet time for private thought. The vigil is to begin at 6pm at the place de l'Alma, where poems will be read in honour of the Princess.