The Weather, Photos and the Hôtel de Ville

Cafe Luxembourg
On the beach at the terrace of the Luxembourg.

Plus an Expo and a New URL

by Ric Erickson

Issue 2.29:- Metropole Paris - Monday, 21. July 1997:- I was coming back from the café in the early evening a couple of days ago and it occurred to me that it is not as warm as usual for July. I noticed this because I didn't feel warm and comfortable.

The weather report following the TV-news laconically says - night after night - that the temperatures are a little less than normal for the season. What they do, they look at the thousand-year average for July, which includes several ice-ages, and this is how they justify their fibs. It is nowhere near as warm as usual for July; not around Paris.

For people who don't like it warm - above 25 degrees that is - the weather is perfect. Clouds add character to the sky, which is certainly boring to some if it is all blue or all grey.

For me the clouds are more of a nuisance than a grey sky. I line up the camera to shoot a sunny, summer scene, and paff! - a little cloud comes along, effectively making the photo look like it was taken on a crummy day in late spring.

Often, to get the 'right' photo, one has to wait. Wait for people or cars or trucks or buses to clear the scene; wait for something to fall into place - this is called anticipation - or in the case of this weather, wait for summer to return.

You might think I have the luxury of taking my time to do these photos, but most of the ones you see here are from the date of the article they are with - so they In the Tuileries are little snapshots of time. If I have to come back and re-do them, it throws the date off, puts the time out of sync with the experience.

On the beach, in the Tuileries Gardens in the sun.

Sometimes I wonder why I made this 'rule.' It is not done with other media; everything comes out of a can or off the shelf, and the date is simply ignored. The photos in today's newspaper could have been shot at any time, and the most you know for certain is the news might have happened yesterday. If I didn't have this 'rule' of mine, my life would be a lot easier.

After all, this is a weekly publication. What difference does it make if I was at the Hôtel de Ville last Wednesday, or five Wednesdays ago? Not much.

On the other hand, I had no intention of doing a feature about the Hôtel de Ville last Wednesday when I started out. Metropole's Web-server lady, Linda Thalman, suggested I do a piece on it a couple of weeks ago and I was mulling it over. Last Wednesday it was merely on the way to where I thought I was going to do a feature, and I had to get off the métro there.

When I did, I remembered that its little 'remember-the-'50's-in-Paris' show had been prolonged and decided to give it a hit in passing. Instead of doing this right after leaving the métro, I decided to first check out the big place in front to see if it was as dead as usual. It was.

Then I watched the guards filter people entering the front door and this had the look of employees coming back from lunch - which made me wonder where the public entry is.

The exhibition is in the Salon d'Accueil - the reception - so after looking over the exhibits, I asked the reception lady about how one gets to look around the building and she said one doesn't. Then she gave me the brochure with the pictures of what I wasn't going to see.

If you get one of these brochures, you may want to see the original in person. The interior widely outmatches the over-elaborate exterior for excess of decor; it looks like they got every craftsman in France to do his or her 'Metropolar' competition major specialty in there. It may be in doubtful taste, but the interior of Paris' Hôtel de Ville is a major sight. That it may cause sensory overload is neither here nor there.

The people of Paris paid for it and all the people who come to visit Paris pay to get here, so I don't understand why somebody doesn't set up a ticket booth in the big place de la Hôtel de Ville - where there is standing room for a couple of hundred thousand - and charge ten bucks a pop for entry.

'Metropolar' is a crime story - not a weather report, running this summer.

It is not quite so big as the Château at Versailles, but - from the photos - it is more than nearly as opulent, and it's not all that far away. On top of everything else, it is a 'republican' city hall if I remember correctly; not an ex-royal heirloom.

With 20 other - working - city halls in Paris, I wonder what 'they' do in the Hôtel de Ville.

Now it's confession time. Because I had no intention of 'doing' the Hôtel de Ville last Wednesday, I had to use a photo out of my archive for the opener for the feature. It was taken about a year ago, on a really sunny day. It was a really warm day in July, if I remember correctly, when the temperature for the season, was 'normal.'

Exposition

Paris - Les Cathédrales Inconnues

Two photographers, who are also architects, Piero Steinie and Julian Rosenfeldt went around Paris looking for abandoned warehouses, churches, factories, reservoirs; all gigantic and empty spaces - and they photographed the interiors of these using - new to me - Seitz 360 degree panoramic cameras. They felt that the view of a normal camera is too restricted, too narrow.

panorama of old factory

Photo: Piero Steinie & Julian Rosefeldt©1997

The photos, with angles of 200 degrees are projected by three slide projectors, giving a 3D sensation - on a curved half-circle screen about 20 metres wide by five metres high. This makes about a 100 square metres which is large enough for the size of the spaces represented - and the photos are accompanied with recordings of the original sounds from when the places were in operation.

Besides the effect of coming into the exhibition from a busy city street to see these interiors; it might also be interesting for visitors to see the insides of buildings that they have passed daily, without knowing what they contained; without knowing what went on inside them.

L'Espace des Blancs Manteaux, 48. rue Vieille-du-Temple, Paris 4. Large-format catalogue: 200 francs. Until 31. August. Daily 11:00 - 21:00 - Tel. info: 33-1 42 77 85 35.

A New URL - for Our German Readers

They call it 'surfing on the Internet' but the way I do it is not like surfing at all. To surf, you have to memorize waves and what they're like; and logically, on the Net, I should remember how I got someplace. But I don't. All I can remember is I somehow 'found' Europolis-Online, and it has a lot of really useful information about Paris in German.

Paris - alle Infos aus erster Hand.Europolis-Online hat für Sie ausgewählt: die besten Restaurants, rund 450 Shoppingadressen, das Angebot der deutschsprachigen Paris-Spaziergänge, einige der originellsten und zuweilen unglaublich preiswerten Hotels, Ausstellungsvorschau auf die n&aumlchsten Monate, usw.

Peter and Franzi Vogel-Eckerlin, who run the site, told me they intended to have features in English, but didn't have the resources for it like I don't have the resources to run German-language features in Metropole. That's why hyperlinks were invented.

In addition to Paris items, Europolis-Online also has a lot of information about what's happening on the art-exhibition scene all over Europe, so if you can read German - or are learning to - this is a good resource.

Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 1.22 - 22. July 1996 featured the columns - Metropole 'Diary' - St. Rêmy Sees Tour de France, Without Me; and 'Au Bistro' - Not Much News and Not Much Of It. Articles in the issue were: count-down eiffel ' Bastille Day at the Buttes Chaumont - Just Another Day, Not Spent Drinking and Dancing.' The second feature was 'Real Reader, Really in Paris - Editor Nearly Flubbs Rendezvous,' and 'Showtime at the Iron Lady - the Tour Eiffel.' The last feature was 'BRIGHT Light, BRIGHT City - Whatever It Is, It Is On the Way' Ric's Cartoon of the Week rounded off the issue.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 2000:
Only 894 days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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