Almost Without Features

photo: veranda rest. fournaise

Veranda of the Restaurant Fournaise in Chatou.

An Issue More Accidental Than Others

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 12. April 1999:- I don't expect that anybody really cares about how I organize myself to produce this magazine every week. I fact, I wouldn't be surprised if some readers are convinced there isn't any organization at all.

It is a bit of both. Thanks to readers, there are some projects that take a while to put together - but many features are just like the 'lightbulb' idea. 'Bif,' my lamp is lit. I get on the train headed to Paris and by the time I get off I know what that day's feature is going to be.

Last week - while worrying a bit about not taking care of some current proposals fromphoto: poster: vous pouvez resister readers - I managed to get to Paris without any 'bif,' without any illumination in my dim recesses. Another day I was in Versailles on unrelated business and when it was finished, I had no 'bif' there too.

Thursday night's TV-news showed a Moorish Arch being erected in the Place de la Concorde. This sort of thing does not happen every day in Paris, so I figured it was worth a look on Friday.

Yes, this is definitely not what the doctor ordered - but what the heck!

This I did, but it was not worth a feature article, as it is a promo for an exhibition which starts this coming Thursday. With just the little vernissage at the Musée Fournaise in Chatou on Saturday, I was looking at writing a feature about odds and ends, or about 'how not to write a feature.'

Then the Musée Fournaise turned out to be more interesting than I'd thought it would be, and writing about it left me no time to write a lot about four other unrelated subjects. And since I am writing this explanation here, these four other unrelated subjects will not fit in here either.

This reminds me of the man on the street I ran into last Wednesday. I was in the Latin Quarter, on a street which was flanked by a high wall, with what appeared to be an old fire station, and behind the wall there was a big building that was certainly old.

I was wondering if it were a 'find' when the man saw me looking and deduced I had no idea what I was looking at. He told me what a scandal it was, this old convent or something, how it was now a police barracks, somebody should 'do' something - you know, the kind of conversation you can get into.

I walked around the whole block and could find no main entry, so I am just as much in the dark as before. Later, I checked my Paris map, and it shows nothing; and I haven't the time to look up the four main street references in my 'street' dictionary, plus all the sub-references.

But if I did, this probably would have been a big feature - except the thing is behind a high wall and full of policemen. So, it could have been, almost was, a feature. But it didn't pan out.

Tocqueville's News This Week

'The Tocqueville Connection' has been forgetting to send me highlights from their current Friday editions, but I've gotten into the habit of taking a look anyway to see their view of things Parisian. This week's feature about the Opéra Comique's 100th anniversary is worth your time - especially as this opera house seems to be having a renaissance - after 300 years of operation.

Email News and Views

Emails from readers are welcome and there are a constant stream of them. Most of these do not lead logically to article ideas. I don't feel I should publish all the ones saying 'three cheers for Metropole!' either - although these are particularly welcome - and arrive fairly steadily.

However, Metropole does have readers who write occasionally about this or that, and here are two of them.

Don Smith of OzArt in Seattle is a Paris fan and he's threatened to photograph me during a Paris visit in May, when I may spend a Saturday being a Sunday-painter on the Champs-Elysées. Don, as a Paris fan, has Paris on his Web site and he's written to say his travelogue is now ready for viewing. This may involve big images, but if you like tem, be sure to drop him a note.


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