The Big Wind

Cafe, place Madeleine
A good place to keep an eye of the place de la Madeleine.

Métro Fever Strikes While Taking Reader On Tour

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 5. January 1998:- It is windy in France today. It has been very windy on the Atlantic coasts for more than a week; and there were gusts up to 180 kph over Saturday and Sunday.

TV-news has been showing shots of what eight-metre-high waves do when they hit the shore. Mayors of coastal towns have been warning residents and sight-seers to stay away from beaches and break-waters because being close to this kind of ocean activity can be dangerous - you could get sucked out to sea.

This weather does not only affect France. All Europe's western coasts are under attack by the wind and the sea. Channel ferries are either staying in port or having a hard time of it if they attempt to cross. Fishing boats from France have been lost with their crews.

Inland damage is heavy with lots of local flooding, and roads are dangerous because trees or parts of them are flying wildly about. This weather is killing people.

Paris is far enough from the nearest coast to be spared, but it is breezy all the same. It is not cold, but every once in a while a squall of heavy rain passes over.

Readers' Visit

On rare occasions Metropole readers not only come to Paris but they also attempt to meet the person responsible for this publication. This is so rare, in fact, that I try to make these meetings a success by attending them.

Professor Gordon Greb wrote in mid-November to comment about Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare & Co. in the rue de l'Odéon. Then he wrote again in mid-December to ask if I could recommend a restaurant in which he could celebrate his and his wife's 47th wedding anniversary.

At the time I was thinking about the Procope so I suggested it. The good Professor got the reservation he wanted, and subsequently had a good anniversary party there. Much to my relief.

Professor Greb's bag is journalism and he is interested in the way it is done 'on the Web,' so he wanted to talk about this.

Last Tuesday I met him at his hotel and we were supposed to go off to the Café Charbon on Oberkampf Prof. Greb, Cafe Charbon for a chat. That morning, radio-news was saying that the unemployed were to have a demo at Bastille, so when I got to the hotel I suggested we go down there and 'do a little work.'

This is Professor Greb and the Café Charbon is behind him.

On the métro we were talking so much I wasn't paying proper attention to the tunnels and we ended up walking as far as it is possible under Bastille, and managed to hit every stairway with a dead escalator. After a long hike, we reached the surface right in front of the Opéra.

Expecting to see the huge place full of irate unemployed, I was surprised to see no crowd, and no traffic jam either and on top of it, the sun was shining. One of my few chances to be at a big event, and nothing.

While gloomily surveying the happy traffic, a fellow approached us and asked if we were looking for the demo. He said it had been there, but it had moved on towards the Gare de Lyon. While we were talking, other people came up, looking for the demo too.

Professor Greb and I got back into the métro and got lost for a while in the tunnels and found more dead escalators, and did the same thing when we made the change at République. By the time we got to the Café Charbon there was only about an hour left on my clock.

This went all too quickly, but I did learn that Professor Greb - before he was a Professor - might have been partly responsible for all the bad things you see and hear in movies and on TV these days. It was a good story about 'Freedom of Speech' and why there is more of it than we like sometimes.

Heading back, I inadvertently picked the wrong métro at République, and we had to make yet another change which involved a lot of stairs.

It's a good thing I don't have to write a paper about Paris for Professor Greb. I don't think I'd get high marks for finding my way around the métro, I'd get zero for the unemployed demo, and then on Friday, I simply got on a métro that was only headed 180 degrees from the direction I thought it was going.

Do I have métro fever?

Some Events

Musiciens des Rues de Paris has been on since 19. November and continues its run until Monday, 27. April. Street musicians Street Musicians are an occasional item of news, when they are getting busted for playing in certain public places; without a license or at the wrong time.

The regulations were brought in during the 19th century, because many of these musicians were foreigners and because some used political or social lyrics. Street musicians existed before the regulations, and this exhibition traces their history in Paris from the time of Henri IV.

Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires, 6. avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris 16 - on the border of the Jardin d'Acclimatation - métro: Sablons. Except Tuesday, daily from 9:30 to 17:15. Entry is 25 francs and for 37 francs you can get a combo ticket allowing you to view the museum's permanent collection as well. Info. Tel.: 01 44 17 60 00.

Cyrano At 100 Years is an exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the play by Edmond Rostand about the man with the nose. At the Théâtre National de Chaillot, place du Trocadéro, Paris 16. In the evenings, from Tuesday to Saturday, starting at 19:00; and on Sundays from 14:00. Info. Tel.: 01 53 65 30 00 or 01 53 65 30 04.

Two for One: The city of Paris, known locally as the Ville de Paris, has a little operation going which involves getting two places at concerts for the price of one.

In French it says, 'Take a place, come with two.' I don't think they mean for you to share a seat, so it is a 50 percent reduction offer. Exactly what it's good for I don't know, but you can find out by calling 01 42 78 44 72. This operation continues until Sunday, 18. January.

Exhibitions About to Close:

Prud'hon, or 'le Rève du Bonheur' - at the National Galleries du Grand Palais, Champs-Elysées-Clemanceau - winds up on Monday, 12. January.

Same place, different date: the 'George de la Tour' show ends its run on Monday, 26. January.

The Havemeyer Collection at the Musée d'Orsay finishes its run on Sunday, 18. January.

'Pajou - Sculpteur du Roi' at the Musée du Louvre, will be letting it its last viewers on Monday, 19. January.

The Musée du Château de Fountainbleau has been showing off a selection from Napoléon's library of 2,378 volumes he had at Elba to while away the time he was there from May of 1811 to February 1815. The exhibition has been on since the end of October 1997 and ends on Monday, 19. January. Info. Tel.: 01 50 71 50 77.

Coming Attractions: New 'Grand' Exhibitions

Musée du Louvre: the 'Lemme Collection' of 17th and 18th century portraits: opens on Friday, 13. February.
Musée d'Orsay: 'Manet, Monet, the Gare Saint-Lazare' opens on Thursday, 12. February.
There are 12 other 'Grand' exhibitions scheduled to open in Paris, mostly between March and the end of June.

Nouvelle Image, Nouvelle Réseaux - Revisited

Last week I wrote that Paris' Science City has just opened a new 2,000 square-metre exhibition to show off the latest Mairie - city hall state of image, sound, and video, coupled together with communications technologies, and so on and so forth.

I also wrote that I was not particularly impressed with the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie's web site treatment of this large and important exhibition. One reader wrote to say he was impressed with the site and that it was jazzy, and a fellow wrote from the Cité des Sciences to suggest it wasn't all that difficult to download 'Flash.'

Around here, this is a mega reaction, so I went and fired up my old browser and gave the site another hit. I must still be stuck somewhere in fuddy-duddyhood because I could detect no difference. I didn't download 'Flash' because I didn't see anything warning me that I needed to do it.

Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, 30. avenue Corentin-Cariou, Paris 19. Métro: Porte de la Villette. 'Nouvelle Image, Nouvelle Réseaux' - open daily except Mondays, from 10:00 to 17:30; on Sundays until 18:30.

Hello 1998; Goodbye 1997

If you are reading this I sincerely wish you and yours a Happy New Year for 1998. This is a repeat of last week's goodwill message - especially for Metropole's French readers - who send and receive New Years Greetings rather than Christmas Cards. With this formality out of the way - Metropole Paris can begin a new year, starting with this issue 3.01. The three is for third year of publication and the zero-one is for the week-of-the-year.

Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 2.01/2.02 - 6. January 1997 featured the columns - Metropole Diary's 'Jumps a Week' and count-down eiffel 'Au Bistro' had - 'Big Blah on TV, Big Crowd in Real Cold.' The articles in the issue were 'Paris - In The Future Recent - A Short and Fast First Mini-Tour of 1997' - 'Paris - In The Passé Recent - Highs and Lows of the Last Grand Tour of 1996' and 'The Half-Price Dress of Your Dreams - 'On Sale' in Paris May Be Better than 'Wholesale' Elsewhere.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week rounded off the issue.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 726 days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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