Blowin' In the Cold Wind

photo: cafe, cite berryer
There was shade, light, and rain falling on
café terraces all week.

Parisians Kick Their Radiators in Vain

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 14. September 1998:- If there are any ungrumpy people around here I don't know who they are. Yesterday I went to a friend's 40th birthday party and about 50 people were there moaning about the weather.

Somebody told me the high predicted for the day was 13 or 14, and the TV-weather lady said it was about average for the end of October. I wasn't paying much attention because this has been going on for a while.

In an ordinary-sized house 50 people kind of fill it up, so all the doors were open to enable the crowd to expand onto the terrace. Open doors also enabled the considerable north-west wind to blow through the place with some abandon.

The kids had it best, because about 20 of them were crammed into one bedroom with a hot TV set and closed windows. The kids didn'tphoto: 354 rue st honore stay there all afternoon and they went outside and played on the swings and things; getting themselves all warmed up without even thinking about it.

One of the less typical shops in the rue Saint-Honoré.

Meanwhile we ate and drank and grumbled. I was ready to bolt just before the cake came; carried in by two stout lads while a piper played popular airs with his bagpipes.

The birthday lad blew out his candles before the wind could do it. Then we all sang 'Happy Birthday' to the pipes, first in English and then in French. I think it was some sort of 'first' but I suppose it is quite common in Brittany, Ireland and Scotland.

Back home, I found the radiators still ice-cold, so I made a very big pot of very hot coffee and put on a thicker sweater than the one I'd been wearing.

Special Stamps for Philatelists

The Aéro-Club de France is celebrating its 100th anniversary with an aircraft exhibition on the Champs-Elysées which will last until Sunday, 27. September.

Today marks the issue of La Poste's special stamps for the occasion. They are 'Aéro-Club de France 1890-1990' and Saint-Exupéry's 'Le Petit Prince.' The first can be seen in this issue's feature about balloon races and its face value is three francs. It is available in 50-stamp sheets.

The 'Le Petit Prince' is also three francs, but it comes on a five-stamp sheet and costs 25 francs. It is a bit early, but I think it is safe to mention that La Poste is putting on 'Philexfrance 99' from 2. to 11. July, of next year.

I think La Poste takes foreign orders. It offers information about its subscription service in English, German, Spanish and Italian, in addition to French. La Poste also accepts payments made with Visa or Mastercard.

For Philosophers

I have just received word that Paris' Café-Philos are resuming their activities after taking a breather for the summer. Pascal Hardy writes that their 'Philos' magazine is being improved. Also, the second 'World Meeting' of the Café-Philos is in preparation for next spring.

I still have the 'old' list of Paris' Café-Philos available for anybody who asks for it. One of these days it may even get updated. Until then, I'm going to be philosophical about it.

Look It Up

I am not trying to get out of looking up phone numbers for people, but frankly, my phone books are out of date. I only get them by accident anyhow, because I don't live in Paris. But despite its 'Minitel,' France Telecom still prints them.

Some people put the phone directory for France online too. A fairly new service is called 'Annu.' I tried a couple of names on it and got the correct numbers.

However, when I searched for a hotel's number recently, I had a bit of a time because I was unaware that 'Grand' was part of the name. Maybe I'm not a 'smart' searcher. Maybe the service doesn't give priority to the proper name - if it is the 'Grand Hotel Louis,' it will be under 'G' and not 'L.' Give it a try.

Constant Permeke Retrospective

Belgian landscape painter Constant Permeke is beingposter: expo constance permeke treated to a retrospective in the Hôtel de Ville's Salle Saint-Jean. The entry to this gallery may be somewhat unknown to visitors because it is at 3. rue Lobau; which is opposite to the front of Paris' City Hall - just off the rue de Rivoli.

Permeke started as a landscape painter, but also turned to nude studies and sculpture during a long working life that began before WWI and continued after WWII. In 1951, he travelled to Brittany, in order to gain inspiration for his final landscapes.

The exhibition continues until Sunday, 1. November. It is open daily from Tuesdays to Sundays, from 11:00 to 19:00. There is no entry charge. Info. Tel.: 01 42 76 51 53.

Mode in Paris by 'Elle'

The latest weekly edition of 'Elle' magazine onposter: mag: elle sale last week contained exactly 360 pages devoted to the latest fashions, and cost a measly 16 francs. This seemed such a bargain that I snapped it up and lugged it home. Some of the clothes are interesting - as usual - and a lot of the photographs are great.

There is a new trend to use people like you and me for models in general advertising, but fashion models still seem to be mostly severely underfed 14-year old girls. I hope they are paid enough because it doesn't look like they get any free lunches.

Add Another Bar To Paris' Collection

Where else but in the rue Saint-Honore would one expect to find a chic shop, selling neatly-designed, modern odds and ends of all kinds? What stopped me was the sign outside that simply said 'Food' and under it, 'Water Bar.'

The high-design items of the 'Colette' shop arephoto: waterbar, colette on the street-level floor and some of them are quite interesting. Downstairs, in a slightly gloomy room feeling a bit like an aquarium, there is a café serving light snacks for hungry, high-design shoppers. In addition to the menu for food, there is a menu for water, the bottled kinds.

There are 66 varieties, both still and sparkling. The prices run from 10 francs to top out at 30. Be chic, have a half-litre of Vittel for 20 francs or a 75 cl bottle for 10 francs.

Even if they don't have my favorite panish brands from the Sierra Nevadas, next time I'm around and thirsty I'm going to give it a fling; maybe by trying a 33 cl bottle of Hungarian 'Theodora' for 10 francs. It's less expensive than Perrier is in most ordinary bars. 213. rue Saint-Honoré, Paris 1.


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