Fake Spring Surprises Paris Again

Buffet-cafe on parvis
When skateboarding at Trocadéro burns up calories; get them back here.

One Hand Claps; the Other Taps

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 23. February 1998:- If I were a well-organized and wise person, I would not be writing this on Monday morning.

If I smoked a pipe, I would thoughtfully fill it with fine tobacco hand-picked in Brazil and place a goblet of very-old champagne cognac at my elbow, and on a quiet and peaceful evening, I would gather my thoughts carefully together after having organized them over several days, and I would slowly but steadily enter them into the maw of this consumer electronics machine grinding away right in front of my nose.

But I do not smoke a pipe and I do not drink cognac - fine or otherwise - and although the evening was peaceful, five in the morning on Monday is too. What passes for thoughts in my head are not organized and musicians at La Defense what I am entering into the grinding maw in front of me, I am doing it jerkily - and really slowly - partly because I have been doing it since noon yesterday, but also because I don't speed-type.

Aha! you say. No wonder it is five in the morning, if he types so slowly - he must have frittered away the week!

Cool jazz at near-warm La Défense last week.

I like that - 'frittered' - are there any language persons out there who can tell me about 'frittered?' As for what I did during the week, you can read about in this week's issue - unless my right hand gives out and I try and use the left. Then Metropole will become bi-weekly, at best.

Well then, what shall I say? There are a number of dubious things going on in the world, but you know about these already if you see, read or hear snappier forms of information than this plodding weekly screed.

If you generally skip this feature of mine and read all the other parts, than you will already know that 'fake' spring was around again in Paris last week. If you read this feature first, then you will hear about it here, before you get to read it elsewhere ad nauseam.

That's it. That's this week's column. Paris had 'fake' spring again last week. Hooray. I clap with my left hand, lest I wear my right one out.

Can you hear it?

From Friday's The Toqueville Connection:

Dominique Moisi, in an interview last Thursday with The Tocqueville Connection, says in the latest issue, "There's a feeling here, that American weapons are smarter than they were in 1991, but American strategy is not." Well-known foreign policy commentator Dominique Moisi, is an Associate Director of the Institut Français des Relations Internationales, or IFRI. For the complete interview, see 'Last Gasp for Diplomacy in Iraq.'

In the same issue, also see 'Windsor Marriage Revisited.' This is about a little château in France where the marriage took place in 1937. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were in the news again in the run-up to Sotheby's Thursday, 19 February auction of their belongings which was dubbed the "Royal Sale of the Century." Mohamed al Fayed, the father of the late Dodi al Fayed, bought the Windsor's villa near the Bois de Boulogne in 1986 and the objects for the sale came from this house.

Update:- Friday: A report in the International Herald Tribune - Paris' own 'worldwide' newspaper - said the first evening of the nine-day auction was a roaring success, with buyers going sky-high over the estimated prices. Sales for the evening totalled 1.9 million dollars, including $29,900 paid for a piece of the wedding cake. The buyer said he didn't intend to eat the cake and Sotheby's thought it may have been a record price for such an item.

Next Sunday: International Salon de l'Agriculture

This is the salon to go to see a lot of what you eat while it is still alive. Once you've seen some of the cows and other animals you may decide to be a vegetarian, or you may want to adopt a cute cow. It is a very big annual salon and it features all sorts of regional specialties to eat and drink, and Parisians flock to it by the hundreds of thousands. Other activities, sometimes related to the outdoors, are on display.

At Paris-Expo, Porte de Versailles
Starting Sunday, 1. March and continuing until Sunday, 8. March. From 9:00 to 19:00 daily. Métro: Porte de Versailles. Info. Tel.: 01 49 09 60 00.

15th Banlieues Bleues Continues
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