Paris' Long August

cafe terrace, rue Lescot
There is another café with a huge terraces next door.

Hopes for a Golden October On the Rise

by Ric Erickson

Issue 2.39:- Metropole Paris - Monday, 29. September 1997:- We are used to hearing, "Everybody moans about the weather, but nobody does anything about it."

That seems to have changed in Paris this year. Day in and day out the weather has been magnificent; and temperatures during the day have been at about the normal levels for July.

The evening TV-news weather map has shown these great big, fluffy yellow balls covering most of France most of the time; even sometimes when it is overcast everywhere else - even in Spain! Moscow has five, Paris has 25.

Parisians and visitors have been taking advantage of this weather to keep wearing their summer clothes, and rue Montorgueil turning out on the streets in great droves. I bet there are a lot of people who leave their offices to go to lunch and don't find their way back.

On a sunny day you can see your face in the rue Montorgueil, if it has just been washed.

The other side of the coin is that some of these days have been nearly windless, and this means Paris' air is somewhat murky - although so far, I think we've only had - one? none? - 'level two' pollution warnings.

If it wasn't for the back-to-school business and the usual September 'transport disturbances,' one could almost call it 'the long August.'

If it keeps up, we'll get a golden October. I haven't seen one of these since 1969, so I am going to keep my fingers crossed until next Wednesday.

On the other hand, maybe I better not. The last time I had it, people were sunbathing in the Englischer Gartens in Munich on Sunday, 31. October, and on Monday there was freezing sleet. On 2. November, it began to snow and it didn't stop until after Christmas.

Hunting Season Opened Sunday

And last night's TV-news reported the accidental killing of a bear, recently transported to the Pyrenées to reintroduce the species there. There are supposed to be three left, but nobody can find them.

Hunting season in France lasts five months, so take care if you intend to be in wooded areas. Wear something very bright and/or play some loud musical instrument. There are an estimated 55,000 hunters in the Ile-de-France alone. Watch out for wild pigs just south of Versailles.


Richesses de l'Arsenal or two centuries of literary passion is an exhibition for which I received an invitation to the opening, but for BNF- riches Arsenal which I cannot find the press release.

The Bibliothèque Nationale de France is bombarding me with a truly impressive amount of press releases, brochures and invitations - and if I included everything here, they would have no need of their own web site.

If you are thinking that the Bibliothèque Nationale only deals in musty old books, I'd like to remind readers that a lot of these are profusely illustrated and the BNF makes good use of reproductions of these graphics for decor at its exhibitions.

When the weather gets a bit more seasonal, I intend paying visits to the various BNF sites around Paris - to bring back reports on how they operate; to explain how to plan visits, whether for research, or merely to see their facilities. But now that I've got a graphic of this particular exhibition, I may as well run it:

'Richesses de l'Arsenal' at the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal
1. rue de Sully, Paris 4. Métro: Sully-Morland.
Until 31. December; daily from 10:00 to 18:00, except Mondays and public holidays.

Vaudou - voodooMémoires Vaudou

In Africa, between the 12th and the 18th centuries, millions of men, women and children, were treated as slaves and had nothing to hold on to except their religion: Vaudou, or 'Voodoo,' as it is known in the western hemisphere. Over the centuries this religion, with imports from other religions, has conserved its strength, and this present exhibition is a witness to it.

Judging from the brochure, the religious images on view - sculptures, statues - are impressive and dynamic, and come from both Africa and the New World.

'Mémoires Vaudou' - Until Monday, 27. October.

Vanuatu, Océanie

'Arts des Iles de Cendre et de Corail' is an exhibition of sculptures, masks, objects and ornaments, from the south of the Island of Malakula - which express the richness and diversity of the traditional arts of Vanuatu.

'Vanuatu, Océanie' - Until 2. February 1998

Both exhibitions at:
Musée National des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie
293. avenue Daumesnil, Paris 12. Métro: Porte Dorée. Open daily except Tuesdays, from 10:00 to 12:00 and from 13:30 to 17:30.

Des Ponts et des Hommes

Paris' 39 bridges crossing the Seine were managed by the state until 1988; and are now under the administration of the city. From the oldest - the Petit-Pont - to the newest - Charles-de-Gaulle (opened on 8. August 1996) - all are presented in this exhibition at the reception area of Paris' city hall. At once attractive, although not in museums; and practical - all are used to carry people across the river - the bridges of Paris are a unique collection of mankind's dreams and architecture.

Salon d'Accueil, Hôtel de Ville, 29. rue Rivoli, Paris 4. Métro: Hôtel de Ville Daily except Sundays and holidays, from 9:30 to 18:00. No entry charge.

Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 1.32 - 30. September 1996 featured the columns - Metropole Diary's count-down eiffel 'Only Promises This Week' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'If not 60, Then 50.' The articles in the issue were ' Utrillo: Born Nobody on Montmartre - Buried on Montmartre, Famous' and 'The Fast Lane is for Bicycles - If Traffic Isn't Crawling in Paris, It's Stopped.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week rounded off the issue.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 2000:

Only 831 days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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