Hello To All This

photo: cafe le rendez-vous

The closest café to the main Denfert-Rochereau métro exit.

Ed Escapes Limbo, Begins the Big Adventure

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 26. July 1999:- For the first time, I am writing this column from Paris' 14th arrondissement. I have been here exactly one week. I have been looking around and I like what I see.

Before, when I lived way out west in La Village, each time I reached Paris I had a feeling of expansion - somewhat like what a long-term prisoner may feel when he - or she! - walks out of the last gate to the outside world. Step off the train in Paris and anything is possible. The place is charged, electric.

What I feel right now, I have managed through miss-luck and ill-chance, to cut out La Village and the train-ridephoto: mairie of the 14th part and now I step out of my door and the charge starts immediately. If the electricity isn't 220 volts in my rue, it is certainly close to it on the avenue at the end of the block.

A large number of you have written to me at one time or another, to express mild envy with the life you imagined I led. It was not quite as you imagined it; and I found it sometimes difficult to keep up a certain amount of false-front. 'Life is great as the Internet's Paris Reporter,' was part fiction.

My new city hall - the Marie of the 14th - is a block away.

The fiction now ends. As head cheese of Metropole Paris I now give myself a permit to do the job right.

I can be 'on the job' 24 hours a days, seven days a week. The events I list in each week's 'Scene' column, I can now attend. I can join the Sunday morning bike riders, I can cover the Friday night roller derby.

Best of all, I've now got time to burn. No more of this 'five-minute-chat-and-run' type of interview. I can write the 'Au Bistro' column in a bistro. I can go to gallery openings and I can go to the Divan du Monde and take samba lessons. Dancing, tozzletoes!

On a lower key, as a practical matter when I want to go someplace, I no longer have to go by the shortest, fastest route. Before, I caught accidental encounters on the fly. Now, if I consider walking to nearby Montparnasse, I can think of five distinct routes, or sub-routes - including through the cemetery.

During the week, while not unpacking and setting up, I found myself walking; walking at two-thirds to half my former speed. I went to Montparnasse three different ways and a totally new way down to the Boulevard Saint-Germain, through the Luxembourg. Through the Marco Polo garden.

That's it, I think. Unlike Marco Polo and China, I know a bit about Paris already. But it is just a bit, no more. I feel ready for the rest of it.

Metropole's Summer Guide:- appeared in Issue 4.27 in the form of two extra pages in addition to the 'Scene' column. You can quickly get to these by hitting this link to the issue's home page, of by taping on All Past Issues at the top and bottom of most pages in Metropole.

The Summer Sales Go On and On - I thought everything would be gone by the time I got to the city - with a little money! - but I was wrong. Two blocks away I found a little shop withphoto: sculpture in cemetery the kind of Italian shirts I have been looking for - for, well, a long time - and got three for about the price of one 'name'-brand shirt on sale at a chic boutique.

Cemetery sculpture, seen while taking one of my new shortcuts to Montparnasse.

Discounts are again on the order of minus 10, 20, 40 and as much as 60 percent off. All articles have to display their full pre-sales prices. Caution: very good, very classic goods, are seldom offered 'on sale.' Many famous brand-names are, so there are some real bargains to be had. The sales end in early August.

The Last Issue: - of this magazine was an 'iffy' thing, as I thought it might be. I really intended to try for some sort of Bastille Eve/Day coverage - even if it was a local fête in Boullay-les-Holes - but in the event I went to sleep at 22:30 both days. I suppose I was a little tired.

It was generous of the server-lady, Linda Thalman, to invite me to her Cadillac Ranch at Boullay-les-Holes for the week. Luckily, the weather was pretty good to excellent and I would have been reluctant to leave if I had not seen how much work there was still to do - like pulling out nasty, vicious weeds.

Linda's place is not called 'Cadillac Ranch' by her; it is a name I borrowed from long ago, for another place. She actually has another name for the layout, but I have been sworn to secrecy about it because she thinks it is veryphoto: my new market silly. So while I maintain my pledge, it will remain 'Cadillac Ranch.'

Its location is known as France's 'Silicon Valley' but Boullay-les-Holes is not in the actual valley. It is up on a plateau, beside a prairie of wheat fields. For you the view shown in a photo in this issue's feature 'Paris Looks Good' may look dull, but to me it was refreshing because it didn't look like the wall of trees I've had my nose pressed against for 12 years.

The nearest street marché is two blocks away. Daily, except Sundays, I think.

Apparently, the residents of this French 'Silicon Valley' are not the type of people to gather at the local village 'place' for important fêtes. They are all away in southern New Zealand or other remote places. So I had a big yawn and a good sleep instead of wearing my reporter's hat.

Now, about Bastille Day 2000, I've been thinking about it really hard for 17 seconds. Here is what I've decided: you tell me about it and that's what we'll do. Okay? Date: Thursday, 13. July and Friday, 14. July 2000. It'll be the 'pont' to end all 'ponts' - a four-day long weekend millennium-launch fête!

The weather is worth mentioning because the forecast for today and tomorrow is one huge sunball for all France, with the high temperatures in Paris ranging from 28 to 32 C. Wednesday might be cooler and unsettled, but the big yellow ball is supposed to return to cover all over France on Thursday.

A Final Note: - Thanks to all of you who took the trouble to write encouraging messages while I was in limbo and offline. Because some of you wrote for the first time, I also want to thank all who intended to write too, but didn't get around to it on account of going to bed at 22:30 for a change.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 3.29 - 20. July 1998 - This issue featured - very little, actually - Café Metropole - 'They Shoot Tourists?' and the 'Au Bistro' column had 'France Has a Big Party and Shuts Down.' This issue had only count down Eiffel Tower one feature, entitled 'As Normal As Paris Gets After the Party.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Ca Va, Eddie!'

Issue 3.30 - 27. July 1998 - This issue featured - a bit more - Café Metropole - 'The Escargot Races' and the 'Au Bistro' column had 'Tour fe France Bikers Go On Strike.' This issue had two features, entitled 'An Unstructured Flash-Visit To the Marais' and 'Ups and Downs of Paris Nannydom ' by Tracy Turner. Also, there was a page of emails about the World Cup. There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Metro's Tour de France Entry.'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 164 more gloriously sunny and sometimes very hot Ile-de-France summer days to go until the next really big depressing weather front comes along..
signature, regards, ric

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