...Continued from page 1

The young lady felt the resistance but didn't look around. The young girl's mother couldn't figure out what was going on - neither could the young girl - somebody was yanking on her pony-tail was all she knew. Yanking hard now.

The mom started to get up - the girl yelled, "Cut it!" - and the young lady heard this and looked around - but the backpack was so big she couldn't see what the matter was. By now other passengers were in the act and between them and mom they got the hair unhooked - and - miracle - the young lady managed to get out of the car before the doors closed.

The whole business took about 30 seconds. With the car a bit more crowded, more noise... I don't know what could have happened.

I know those big backpacks must be handy for carrying things; but a lot of them are too big and have too many hooks and gizmos and sub-packs - the packers are not really in control, not agile with them. Some of them, being as heavy as they are, can really give an innocent passenger on the métro a good clout - and the packer is often completely unaware of this.

Like bicycle riders in countries where safety-consciousness is paramount, back-packers should affix warning batons to their packs; so you get tapped with these as a warning before you get badly whacked by the full load.

Free Toilets in Paris

Since laws on the books have a bad habit of staying on them, I suppose that bars and cafés are still obliged to allow non-customers to use their toilets. This goes back to the days when there were few public facilities, just as there were few public telephones which were not located in bars and cafés.

The cost of a public toilet in Paris runs about two francs to three; and I mean the automatic ones on the streets or the ones in train stations and the few still around, near métro exits. Counting the other odd places you can find them, they add up to quite a number now, and usually there is no need to seek out a bar or café if that's all you need.

But since the public ones do cost some money, it seems to me to be fair to pay to use the ones in bars and cafés. A fast café costs from 5.50 to six francs with tip, and if you include the use of the toilet in this, then by taking care of both either the café is only about three francs with use of the toilet thrown in, or you can consider the toilet costing six francs with a free café thrown into the deal.

Until I saw it happen last week, I didn't think anybody walked into ordinary bars anymore and asked for the toilet, used it, and then without a 'thankyou' went across the street to a classier-looking place - with lots of toilets.

At Your Service

In the incident above, right after I watched the two fairly well-dressed ladies disappear across the street, a young fellow with long hair came into the bar and seemed to ask for water.

Most bars have an ordinary-water tap among all the other taps on their beer-towers. A lot of people want a small glass of water on the side with their thick express Club Tania café. The patron reached for this tap, but the fellow indicated he wanted some other water.

This is an ordinary whisky bar; only open in the evenings, only for certain people. People with money.

A lot of people don't like tap water or they have some water-preference, some mineral water say, so there was a bit of back-and-forth about this customer's water desires. When it dawned on everybody, that the customer wanted one of the one and a half litre bottles of mineral water, the patron told the guy he should get it at the 'Nicolas' next door where it would be cheaper.

The young fellow seemed doubtful about this, but he finally nodded and went next door. When I came back from the toilet I saw him walking out of the bar with a big plastic bottle of mineral water.

The patron looked at her watch and asked her partner when the Nicolas opened after lunch. It was 15:15. I went out and looked and the Nicolas was closed.

I doubt if there are many bars in Paris that will send customers next door for cheaper water. The one I was in is on the rue Washington, about 150 metres from the Champs-Elysées.

Some Events

Only one: the 'Fête Nationale,' Saturday, Sunday and Monday; 12, 13 and 14 July. Note that the actual national holiday is on Sunday, the 14th, and many museums which are normally open on Sundays in France, will be closed.

Metropole One Year Ago

count-down eiffelIssue 1.20 - 8. July 1996 featured the columns - Metropole 'Diary' - Defective Memory; and 'Au Bistro' - Roadblocks and Free Rides. Articles in the issue were: Prehistoric Impressionism at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and The Stone Place - the Place Vendôme and the Ritz. Ric's Cartoon of the Week rounded off the issue.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 2000:
Only 908 days left to go.

Regards, Ric
Go to page : 1 - 2
In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini