...Continued from page 1

The perspective to the Ile de la Cité is different and unobstructed. There are some grass bits between the pavement and the quai wall, and a lot of people are resting along here, because they are getting a full blast of sun. It is warm too; for the first time in many days.

Since the Sunday-drive traffic is up above, the expressway is relatively quiet - except for the roller people who don't quite know how their brakes work. A little kid falls off skates too with a yelp and has to be picked up. The noisiest things of all are the sightseeing boats, and I can smell their diesel stink.

The walking is okay. No crosswalks or lights to watch for and I don't pay attention to the riders and rollers because none come close - everybody had elbow-room.

I go up at the Pont Marie and cross to the Ile Saint-Louis, because there is a bike lane marked on its south side. Thephoto: bouquiniste quai st michel island is teaming as I guess it does every sunny Sunday, but the Quai d'Orléans has its usual line of parked cars and even has a Sunday jam. Some old guys are fishing off the quai below.

The bouquinistes on the quais must be having one of their better days.

Near the Pont Saint-Louis, there is a huge crowd lined up for the ice cream shop there and the terrace of the Brasserie en l'Ile is entirely full. Across the short bridge, there is a big crowd - bigger than usual - all around Notre Dame; at the park in back, and in all the cafés and shops along the side, and in front it looks like some sort of world convention.

On the other side of the Pont au Double, all of the bouquinistes along the quais seem to be open and the crowds oblige me to step into the street - which is not closed to traffic.

There is a huge number of people here, on fairly narrow sidewalks, all the way along the Quai des Grands Augustins and the Quai de Conti. These are streets I was sure would be for pedestrians only, on Sundays.

Near the Pont des Arts, the crowd begins to look like the one outside Tati before the doors are opened for the 70 percent-off sales. The bridge itself is black, with tiny color flashes, with all the people shuffling across it - past Ousamane Sow's 'Little Big Horn' sculpture exhibition.

Every time I've been near it - even when it was raining - it has always looked like an army - Indian army? - trooping across. The art-show right bank-left bank shortcut. I don't think there's a counter, so we'll never know how popular it is.

But I'm certain it's giving the Hôtel de Ville somephoto: pont des arts ideas. For the two new footbridges, I'm sure they are planning their exhibitions now - maybe even bridges with shops on them will be brought back.

Hard to see the army of 'art lovers' on the Pont des Arts in the photo, but they are there.

The embankment below the Quai du Louvre is a popular spot for some bongo players and they are doing their drumming for a fair audience - which includes everybody on the bridge - as the sun continues to bathe the quais in light.

People are on all the bridges today - for these are sure places for being under the sky and being able to see a lot of it. In fact, wherever I look I see a lot of people.

It is Sunday in Paris and the weather is just right. Most of the trees are well-greened and it is nether cold nor hot. There is less traffic than usual and there are more people with time to spend, just being people.

Today is April in Paris.

If you're thinking of biking around Paris, get yourself a copy of The Best Biking Guide to Paris by Rose Burke, who writes about it from personal experience. It's wheelie time!


This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

count down Eiffel TowerIssue 3.17 - 27. April 1998 - This issue featured - Café Metropole - 'This Strike Won't Affect You' and the 'Au Bistro' column had '20 Million Wrong Numbers.' The issue had three features , entitled 'Flower-Gazing in the Parc Bagatelle,' 'Camping in Paris' Bois de Boulogne' and 'Where All Lanes are Fast: the Perifreak!' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Train Driver Dream.' And as usual, there were the usual couple of wrong dates.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 250 more semi-beautiful days to go - some of them Sundays.

Regards, Ric
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