Reader Turns Into Paris Sidekick

photo: cafe l'ecrin, villiers

Café at Villiers had fine café for lost guide and visitor.

The Rallye de Cachan Is Not For the Clueless

Paris:- Monday, 15. February 1999:- A reader of this magazine is in town. Thousands of others may be too, but only Allan Pangborn has made contact and we have been batting around a bit as a result of his extended stay.

Allan has a past which has evolved into his present. He started out as a chemist and gradually slipped into the chemistry of wine, and this led him to the inside and out of Champagne - which is a reason he visits Paris often. Because it is close to Champagne; which is only a few kilometres to the east.

Allan is also a mechanic - if you need a complete winery, call him and he'll build one for you - so while he is in Paris he looks for new tools. Last Friday we were looking at old tools, plus some wheels, together at Rétromobile.

For me it is pleasant to spend a day walking around and hearing about things not Parisian, and this we did last Wednesdayphoto: carrefour villiers around Saint-Lazare and up to the Place de Clichy and back down by Saint-Georges. The trouble with it is, I learned a lot about making Champagne bottles, but did not have much attention to spare for researching an article for this issue.

Recent 'classic' cars are driven daily on Paris streets.

The main reason we were in this area, was to see if we could find sheet music for Edith Piaf's songs. A reader had written to ask if the sheets are available in Paris. Without too much hunting, we found three books full of scores at La Flute de Pan in the Rue de Rome. This area has a lot of similar shops, plus many that make, repair and sell stringed and brass instruments.

With this information in hand we spent the rest of the time walking to places that were in the wrong direction. This is how one accidently sees a lot of Paris unexpectedly.

Clueless In Paris?

Regular readers will know Linda Thalman keeps Metropole's server spinning around. She also spends some long weekends trying to get the wire supplier to put us back online, when she would rather be out in her garden coaxing plants to come out of the ground.

Life is not all work though, and once a year she invites me to take part in an excursion, which is known this year as the 46th 'Rallye Dans Paris.' It is also known as the 'Rallye de Cachan' because I think it is organized by the handball club there - in Cachan. Wherever it is.

And that's the point of the 'Rallye.' Participants start off in Cachan, with a list of things to 'find' in Paris. The team that finds the most, wins. However, before even starting there is a questionnaire to be filled out.

It has questions like, "Who was the first woman to pray at Notre-Dame- de-Paris?" The clue is the musical comedy by the same name by Luc Plamondon and the multiple choices are Esmeralda, Mère Teresa and Jeanne d'Arc. A given hint is that Jeanne d'Arc was wounded at the Porte Saint-Honoré and never entered Paris. So that leaves Esmeralda and Mère Teresa.

I think the correct answer is Madonna, mainly because I have not seen the musical and who the dickens is Esmeralda? There are 30 questions like this to answer, just to sign up. On the rallye itself, there are more questions but two-thirds of the answers are 'visual' - meaning you have to spot some object.

Back at the Salle Galliéni in Cachan at 18:30, the teams get to play show and tell. Then, if they can still stand, the winners drink Champagne and the next morning Linda sends me an email about her feet.

Want to try it? Entry fee is 25 francs each, the date is Sunday, 14. March, and Arcueil-Cachan is on line 'B' of the RER just a few stops south of the Cité Universitaire stop. For possibly more information, email Linda (she couldn't find a phone or fax for the official organizers) or just show up between 8 and 9 a.m. at the Salle Galliéni.

Ethel Waters and the Black Voice

'Celebrating Black History Month' continues this coming Friday, 19. February when Sorbonne scholar Randall Cherry will present the sounds and images of the career of Ethel Waters, one of the first Black stars.

Mr. Cherry's presentation will show the many faces and facets of Ethel Waters within the context faced by Black female actresses and vocalists in the early part of this century in thecartoon: pirate 'tout-terrain' US. I don't know anything about Ethel Waters, except for what I heard Jack Cullen play on his nightly CJOR 'Owl Prowl' radio show in the early '50's - but from what I remember, I wish I could make this date.

Not seen at Rétromobile, but nearly: the jet-engined, eight-cannon, amphibious, '007' racing half-track.
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