Putting the Sweaters Back On

photo: cafe terrace at trocadero
Last Wednesday it was sunny on the terraces at Trocadéro.

On Top of the Summer Shirts

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 15. June 1998:- A week ago I was really comfy with daytime temperatures in the high twenties, but by the beginning of the World Cup at mid-week they have been struggling to get up to 20.

So it is; year in and year out - rain is 90 percent certain as soon as the Roland Garros tennis tournament starts in June, followed practically every year by February.

This is the reason I have about 15 summer shirts. Fuddy-duddy winter shirts get worn out because it is winter most of the time, and the summer shirts last forever because it is hardly ever summer. How, I want to know, can I justify getting a new summer shirt to put a bit of sparkle on my back? If I look in a mirror, I will see me wearing a sweater on top of it.

Right now, really early on Monday morning, I bet it is warmer outside than it is inside - and it's below 15 outside. Instead of writing this, I'd rather put on an overcoat - if I had one - and go to bed and stay there until it is time to go on holiday in Spain.

This is awful whining because it was only a week ago Friday that Monte McGee and I were hanging out in the Tuileries and on the island in the Seine there, watching the sightseeing boats do their bootleg turns in the river.

You will get an idea it was not too bad last Wednesday either when I went to Trocadéro to help get the World Cup launched; even if I remember the forecast that day was for ghastly times. I love the forecasts and I've found a lot of other people who live here, are as good at outguessing them as I am.

This is easy - after ten years or so - because they show the satellite weather thing first. I don'tphoto: soupe populaire VIe know if it is a map of the future or the past, but all the TV-weather people swear by them. When they show the stream passing by Paris - on one side bright sunshine and on the other, mean black clouds with snow falling out of them - it means if it slips up or down by about 10 kilometres, it is the difference between the land of balm or the next ice age.

Soup! I need some soup right now. Some hot soup. Some for my feet too.

What I don't like is, the TV-weather people have no past. They never say they are sorry they got it wrong the day before. They never give yesterday's score. Not even the populist Le Parisien gives yesterday's temperatures.

We don't have local weather either. When I turn on radio France-Info in an hour or so, they are going to say the temperature is going be 20, in the south! and below 18, in the north. Corsica will be warmer, but it is closer to Africa than Palma, so it should be.

And I mean, they will say this without shame. Oh, once in a while when they think we are grumbling enough, they will put out the startling news that temperatures are a 'little' below normal for this time of year.

Hah! They mean five degrees and these are not those little Fahrenheit degrees some places have; these are the big ones, the decimal ones with hundreds and tens and whatnot. Serious degrees, I mean.

But so what? Add five degrees to 18 and it gets you 23 and what's this worth as a temperature? It's worth a sweater; I take one off. Just one.

To tell the truth, I could keep all my sweaters on forever without too much trouble. I'm only writing about this filthy, rotten, crummy weather, because I can do it off the top of my head. Right now I'll do anything to get out of looking in any guidebooks to see what's happening next week and writing it down here.

Some of the stuff, and it isn't bad either, will be over by next week, so I won't have to write it then either.

Oops, this reminds me - one of things I'm about to not do, is write about the painter, Richard Texier, who has a show at the Musée de la Marine. I did go there to find out about it, get the press release and the poster, and I'm just about to let it slip away - look, the poster is on the first poster page - and the show is on until 14. September; open daily from 10:00 to 18:00 except Tuesdays. Go see it. I'm going to, before I go to Spain.

Next week, rain or shine, right here: the Paris beach report.

Old Photograph Auction in Paris

The International Herald Tribune's auction reviewer and art critic, Souren Melikian, wrote about old photographs in his regular feature on Saturday. When I checked, it was not online yet but may be by the time you read this.

Reporting about a recent auction in Paris at Drouot, which featured very early photography - daguerreotypes - he said there weren't many collectors and the documents involved were very rare, both as photographs and as representations of the past, from the 1840's and 1850's. These, he pointed out, show streets of 16th, 17th and 18th buildings; intact and 'without billboards.'

'Art historical' information about the pioneer photographers and their works is extremely sketchy, and expert Mr. Melikian himself named Robert Hershkowitz, a collector based in Britain, as his guide to the auction's photos. The city of Lille purchased a photo of its own Grand Place, taken around 1850, for $1850, and this was about the highest price offered for a single view.

For those of you who are either already doing it, or thinking of giving digital photography a whirl, here are some Web site URLs which feature the latest information, reviews and comparative prices.

  • Digital Camera Resources
  • ZoneZero is an image-heavy site with lots of large photos.
  • PC Photo Forum seems to be a site related to PC Zone, but in addition to prices, also has reviews and product comparisons.
  • Olympus' Digital Cameras got good ratings six months ago. Since then, some of their models have been upgraded.

Also since then, a lot more camera makers have stepped into the market, so digital cameras are evolving from simple snapshot video cameras into full-featured devices capable of high-grade work.

Do not throw away your trusty 35mm metal box though. I have seen a mention of a digital insert for SLR cameras, the same size as a 35mm film roll; that has a chip which allows a full-frame capture.

Also, flat scanners are dirt-cheap and if you are a bit handy with Photoshop, you can get decent results from one-hour-minilab prints. This can cut digital storage costs too, as you only have to save what you need or want - because you can re-scan anytime.

Discounts For the Under Mid-Twenties-Somethings

I have never been in an age group or in a situation where I get a discount. Older people get them, younger people get them, but the scale of eligibility slides up in pace with my exact age and I pay full fare.

Now that I've got that grump off my chest, if you can prove you are under 25 you can get inphoto: pass jeunes on a new racket called the 'Pass Jeunes.' With this 'pass' you can get discounts on a whole raft of entries to various entertainments, lodgings and eats. The discounts are usually 10 percent, but some are more.

The passes are available at the Tourist Office, the Info Kiosks, the FUAJ outlets, the 'OTU Voyage' offices and at the CIDI offices at 101. quai Branly, Paris 15. The passes are good until the end of July.

'FlashNews' Updates and 'Past Issues'

Due to the transport strikes in Paris and throughout France - which came to an end last week - 'FlashNews' bulletins were posted on the Contents Page.

Each time this was done, the action 'disappeared' the latest version of 'Past Issues' and substituted it with the 'Past Issues' page which ran with issue number 3.20.

Nobody here knows why this happens but we know it still does. I hope this has caused no inconvenience to anybody other than me and Metropole's Unix guru who is being ruthlessly harassed to fix it.

Correction: 'Unstable' Weather Not At Fault

''Unstable' Weather Knocks Off Web-Server' was a headline used here last week to explain the inaccessibility of Metropole last weekend; until about 17:30 on Monday.

The problem turned out not to be the lightning storms I mentioned, but the equipment furnished by the server's Internet access suppliers, who will remain nameless.

Besides not watching their store over the weekend, the new equipment installed on Monday failed again last Wednesday, and it took them until about 17:28 on Thursday before Metropole was available again. Since I am not a technical guy and I have no direct dealings with these people, I can't say much about it that I'm allowed to write here.

Metropole's World Cup Links

Since just after the beginning of the year, a few links to World Cup sites have been a weekly item near the end of the 'Au Bistro' column - sort of in the guise of 'SportsNews.' The whole kabongle is now upon us, so I've moved these links to a page of their own. Doing this puts fans into a kind of a 'links ghetto,' except for one link there to an anti-World Cup Web site.

Continuing Exhibitions and Events:

Max Ernst Exhibition

Although well-known as a painter, Max Ernst was also a periodic sculptor. He seemed to do it while off on trips - to visit his pals Giacometti and Paul Eluard, or further off, on Long Island or in Arizona. The Centre Georges Pompidou is showing 110 pieces and 15 paintings at the centre itself.

Max Ernst, Galerie Sud, Centre Georges Pompidou
Daily from 10:00 to 22:00; closed Tuesdays. Until Monday, 27. July. Entry: 30 francs. This exhibition will move to the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen in Düsseldorf where it will be on show from 5. September to 28. November.

Beaubourg Moves to Paris' Modern Art Museum

This is an example of being totally renovated and showing your stuff off at the same time. Some 350 of the Centre Georges Pompidou's modern art treasures go on show at Paris' Museum of Modern Art, starting on Thursday, 18. June.

This is a long showing so it will be in three parts, with the third kicking in at the end of this coming October. All of the sub-classifications of modern art will be represented; from the fauves through to the 1981 'Psycho-sites' of Jean Dubuffet.

From Thursday, 18. June until Sunday, 19. September 1999.
Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris
11. avenue du Président Wilson, Paris 16. Open from Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:30; weekends from 10:00 to 18:45. Closed Mondays. Entry: 30 francs; catalogue of 80 pages, 49 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 53 67 40 00.

Tea Parties at the Musée de la Vie Romantique

Throughout the rest of the month of June, public tea parties will be held in the idyllic gardens of the Musée de la Vie Romantique every day except Mondays, from 13:00 to 18:00.

Two young ladies prepare the goodies by using secrets learned from their grand-mothers, to the romantic sounds of fountains bubbling into a pool or something, full of 'red' fish and there is something about nesting birds as well.

Even if I don't get all these romantic details - my dictionary is tired - I have been in this museum's garden and if there are tea-parties in it, it is a good place for them to be - it is another bit of 'the country' in Paris.

Musée de la Vie Romantique
16. rue Chaptal, Paris 9. Open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:40. No entry charge for the gardens and the museum entry is only 17.50 francs. No reservations for the tea-party necessary; but, Info. Tel.: 01 48 74 95 38.

21st Foire Saint-Germain

Although this is only the 21st modern version of a 'Foire' which first took place 822 years ago, you shouldn't think there is a lot of moss growing on it.

The Foire is centered on the place Saint-Suplice, but actually takes place in six locations, includingphoto: foire st germain the Odéon theatre. Basically there will be exhibitions, concerts, and some theatre and dance, plus street animations.

Today is the last day for the antiques people at the Foire Saint-Germain.

Within the framework of the whole Foire, there will also be 'marchés - four in all. There will be antiques until today, the 'Marché de la Poésie' from 18. to 21. June, the 'Marché de la Bibliophilie' from 23. to 30. June and the 'Journées de la Céramique,' which lasts from 3. to 5. July.

The Foire Saint-Germain - until Sunday, 5. July. Jointly sponsored by the Mairie of the 6th arrondissement and the Mairie de Paris. Info. Tel.: 01 43 29 61 04.

Exhibition: 'La Gloire d'Alexandrie'

Apparently, this exhibition is supposed to interest children or a certain age. It has a lot of underwater items in it. On show until 26. July at the Petit Palais on the avenue Winston-Churchill; métro Clemenceau, Paris 8. Except Mondays, showtimes are 10:00 to 17:40 and until 20:00 on Thursdays. Entry charge is 45 francs and Info. Tel.: 01 42 65 12 73.

Man Ray - La Photographie à l'Envers

See the article entitled 'Man Ray in Montparnasse' if you feel up to it.

Exhibition on show until Monday, 29. June, in the Galeries Nationales of the Grand Palais.

Delacroix, les Dernières Années

Until Monday, 20. July, in the Galeries Nationales of the Grand Palais.

Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
Open daily, except Tuesdays, from 10:00. Without reservations, from 13:00 to 20:00. Entry: Square Jean Perrin. Métro: Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau.

Delacroix: 'Le Trait Romantique'

An exhibition of about 250 drawings, watercolors and engravings, by Delacroix.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France - Richelieu
Galeries Mansart et Mazarine
Until Sunday, 12. July. Open daily except Mondays, from 9:30 to 18:30. Entry 35 francs. 58. rue de Richelieu, Paris 1. Métro: Quatre-Septembre or Bourse. Info. Tel.: 01 47 03 81 10.

Delacroix et Villot

This exhibition accents the copies of Delacroix done by Frédéric Villot.

Musée Eugène Delacroix
Until Friday, 31. July. Open daily, except Mondays, from 9:30 to 17:00. Entry, 30 francs. 6. rue de Furstenberg, Paris 6. Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Près. Info. Tel.: 01 44 41 86 50.

Paris In Sites Newsletter Offer

You can still subscribe to the free Paris In Sites Newsletter and automatically receive the latest information from Paris - about WebFrance International with some reminders about Metropole Paris - once every three weeks as regularly as a metronome.

Subscription information for the newsletter is on Metropole's Links Page. It has always been there, but I've been running the plug here, because for every new one that goes in, I get a free thimble of café. I now have a credit for over a year's worth and it is surely enough to cause a large ulcer.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 2.24 - 16. June 1997 - This issue featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'A Case of Severe 'Event-Fatique'' and 'Au Bistro' had - 'A Big Wind Blows Through Paris.' The articles in the issue were 'On the Quais of the Seine - the Bouquinistes' - 'An Island in the Stream - the Ile-de-la-Cité' and 'In the City On the Island - At the Very Centre.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was called 'A Nice Little Weekend Drive at Le Mans.'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 565 short days left to go.

Regards, Ric
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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