Autumn in Paris and Still Nice

Cafe Le Royal Saint-Martin
Café Le Royal Saint-Mertin, near Beaubourg.

Metropole Gets 'Flame' and Survives Burn

by Ric Erickson

Issue 2.38:- Metropole Paris - Monday, 22. September 1997:- Today is the first day of autumn, and the weather is terrific. Normally, after the August holidays and during the rentrée, it is grey, damp and drizzly. Good weather makes everybody feel good, and it feels better when it is in Paris.

Yesterday, on this last day of summer, France wine accessory shop had its National Heritage Day. This is an annual weekend affair, and the weather in the Ile-de-France pulled out all the stops to accommodate it with bright, warm and sunny skies.

If you are going grape-picking, get your bottles and corks here. This shop has glasses too.

Ten million residents and visitors trooped through thousands of sites; some national, some local and some private; some only open once a year on this weekend, and all of them with no entry charge.

As in past years, this edition of Heritage Day/Weekend has caught me by surprise - with no plan for it. By lucky chance, I had an invitation to lunch yesterday at a private site; one that could be 'classé,' but is not.

Before the owner died seven years ago, I spent a good number of fourth of Julys and New Year's Eves at La Tourelle in Rochefort-en-Yvelines ; as well as other occasional days. Many others did too, perhaps thousands over the years.

La Tourelle still stands but it has been sold. Because of part of it being 'classé,' the new buyer immediately divided it in three and sold the pieces in a few hours on a recent Saturday morning. This means it will cease to exist, in the form which so many came to know and love.

If any readers ever accepted an invitation by Dr. Richard Carrott, to stay at La Tourelle, I will appreciate it if you can write to me with a few words about it. Meanwhile, take a last visit with me to La Tourelle - in this issue.

Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 1.31 - 23. September 1996 featured the columns - Metropole Diary's 'Bistros Close - Ours Remains Open' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'Light and Shadow on Pope's Visit' The articles in the issue were 'The Boul'Mich in Rippling Shadows' - 'A Little Stroll Down Vaugirard' and ' Where Has the Magic Gone? - Empty-Headed at Apple Expo.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week rounded off the issue.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 2000:

Another visit to the 'Blooper' department: I'm sure Metropole has many alert readers, but last week only one had the courage - the nerve! - to write about 'my' countdown 'blooper.' John McCulloch wrote, "The Tour Eiffel countdown is a countdown to the beginning of the last year of the 2nd [second] millennium. The beginning of the next [the 3rd] millennium will be 1204 days from [last week's '838 days left' date]; that being 1. January 2001. Read Arthur C. Clarke!

"There was no year zero, thus to 'count' the year 1 [one], we had to pass through the year to 31. December. Year two also ended on 31. December. By the same process, the end of the first century was on 31. December 100, and the beginning of the second century was 1. January 101. The first millennium was completed on 31. December 1000 at 23:59 plus one minute."

count-down eiffelThis was my first 'flame' and I was so excited about it, I replied, "The display on Eiffel Tower is not to end of millennium; but to 31. December 1999. It is a clever idea! The French government has no budget for a millennium party, so this is the substitute."

Then for no reason other than I had this useless 'fact' cluttering up the place, I added, "Scientists recently calculated Jesus was born about 4 BC; so that makes today 22. September 2001. The 'real' beginning of millennium was months ago and we missed the 'Big Date!" The Eiffel Tower was 107 years old on 31. March 1997.

Only 831 days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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