The Pit of Winter and What You Can Do
About Unspeakable Weather

by Ric Erickson

The Place du Hotel de Ville
on Thursday afternoon.

Number 1.03 - Metropole Paris, Friday, 8. March 1996:- Before you unbook the trip you are planning, let me clarify the weather situation here. Winter weather is happening in Paris in the winter this year, rather than at Easter, when is usually happens. Paris usually gets a foretaste of spring around now - but not this week. If you are visiting from some really rotten place, it won't seem so bad here - it is not freezing, it is not raining all the time, but still - it is not pretending to be spring either.

Just forget about walking around, seeing the sights. Ride the Métro and pop up to the surface from time to time to see if it is liveable and if not, continue your journey underground. Sit inside and watch the weather through glass; rain-streaked, steamed. Go to museums, see things inside - maybe even go shopping. A lot of Parisians are out of town skiing at the moment, so there's elbow-room nearly everywhere.

'Cannes' fever is cranking up in the press; and I guess it was in relation with that, that I read there are 344 heated and dry cinemas in Paris. Not in a movie, but live, Woody Allen was playing at the Olympia in the boulevard des Capucines on Monday night - clarinet - with his New Orleans Jazz Band; the concert was sold out.

Tonight, there are three other concerts, but no operas before next Wednesday, when there will be Don Carlos, Cosi Fan Tutti, and the Barber of Seville - in Italian; with Barber in French on Thursday, along with Faust at the Bastille. The only ballet tonight is Welcome to Paradise under the direction of Bouvier/Obadia.

There are 39 temporary, open to the public, art or artistic expositions open today in town, including three that opened this week: Corot, on Saturday at the National Gallery of the Grand Palais, Philippe Favier and Miquel Barcelo at the Jeu de Paume; and Miquel Barcelo has another expo at Beaubourg, featuring designs made on a trip to Mali.

The Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot show, which drew nearly 4700 visitors last Saturday, runs in parallel with another show of his work, at the Bibliotheque Nationale; both expositions will be on to near the end of May.

Romeo and Juillet, directed by Hans Peter Cloos, closes at the Theatre du Rond-Point tomorrow night after a run from 8. January. Including the Comedie Francaise, which has four alternating pieces, there are 24 other theatre performances tonight, to which can be added a further 40 occasionally scheduled performances.

Under the category of 'Spectacles and Varieties' there are 14 presentations tonight, and if one-night-stands are included, there will be a total of 45 this month. It will be a quiet weekend for salons; Antique Books and Papers at the Espace Champeret and Antiques/Brocante, at the same location.

I frankly do not know how many bars and cafés there are in Paris - there's a salon coming up for that too - nor do I know how many restaurants, museums, night clubs, picture galleries, jazz clubs, dance halls, department stores and other shops, shopping passages, billiard parlors, discotheques, swimming pools, game parlors, cybercafés, and other centers of amusements there are - but I do know that most of them are open, and most of them have roofs.

If this bewildering variety is so much that you cannot get out of the café where you are consulting your guide book, and you are getting tired of watching traffic through wet windows - why not look up limousine rentals - and ride around town looking out of wet limo windows? If you do it at night, there is a show called neon light reflections that plays nightly off the wet rues and boulevards of Paris.

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