...Continued from page 1

But, the quay is wide, there's parking, there's a nearby métro station, and the Bercy sports palace and concert hall is just across the way - and so too is Bercy 'village' with its growing cluster of restaurants featuring quality wines.

After watching a fellow stringing up some super-disco light inside the Batofar's light tower and another guy trimming the boat-deck's beer taps, I wandered down the quay.

Between the Batofar and the El Alamein barge, there was a tower of aluminum scaffolding, and some tables with parasols set up beside another barge. This was supposed to be the location of the Fêtes de la Seine on this quay. People are supposed to go swimming here on the weekend.

I was invited to climb the tower; placed to give a view of the new - the 38th! - Seine bridge. This is to be a footbridge, linking the bibliothèque with Bercy. The Pont de Bercy and the Pont de Tolbiac must be too far apart and this new bridge will be a shortcut to Bercy's park.

From the top of this tower, the most imposing sight is the finance ministry building sticking out into the Seine by the métro's bridge on the Bercy side. It easily outranks the cement works, from which it came. Otherwise, trees are the only thing showing over at Bercy, while the bibliothèque's plateau has fewer features than outer space.

Further along, at the Blues Café, I was looking at its bill of musical fare when a man on the gangplank called out to me to come around for the music in the evening.

I am really dubious about dancing inside the hull of a river barge. But we struck up a conversation and I was invited aboard to take a look.

Barges are huge and this one is the biggest along there; having the man said, an underdeck space big enough for 250 to frolic. The portholes were all open and it was cooler in the hull than outside. With another 50 on the deck above, also covered, I expect that what the neighbors complain about, is the overflow on the quay.

What can one hear at the Blue's Café, I asked my guide. He said, "Reggae-Raga." He explained that this is African-style reggae, or reggae is Caribbean style raga - his hand gestures sort of filled in the missingphoto: quai de la gare as terrace links, which include the Atlantic.

Just so long as it isn't techno, I said. He said they do techno too sometimes. People like it and pay to hear it. I said I used to get paid to listen to it while working in factories.

The café terrace beside the location of Paris' new 38th bridge.

My guide hadn't spent a lot of time in metal-working factories in Africa, so he looked dubious about this until one of the other guys tore up some wood with a power-saw. "Like that?" he asked when the racket stopped.

We agreed that it didn't really matter - even if it was a shame to let a fully equipped bandstand go to waste. The important thing is music; anything except silence he said.

After the philosophic 'sense of silence' from a couple of weeks ago, I think the most important thing is dancing - and if it takes techno to do it, then techno is okay. I just hope the kids don't use their fathers' vinyl records to make it with.

As I was leaving the quay an old couple asked me where the Fêtes de la Seine were. They had an invitation card. I pointed out the scaffolding tower in the distance - not sure if they could see it, not sure if they could get across the hot, sunny quay before getting to its parasols.

I didn't say the 'Fêtes' location was just after the seventh floating disco barge. They might have been a couple of the neighbors.

The Fall Season and '2000 in Paris' - since the beginning of the year, readers have been hinting that they intend to be in Paris for the turnover from 1999 to 2000. The Ville de Paris has not been asleep; its plan is called 'Paris 2000.' It is a fairly modest plan - 'from the heart' - as it's called. The national program seems equally low-key.

Coming events for the big turnover are sketched in this issue's new '2000 In Paris' column. When more details are available, then the event will be detailed in the 'Scene' column. In this way, you can get an overlook from now until next summer from the shorter '2000 In Paris' items, and 'Scene' has what's coming soon or now playing.

Photos of the 'Fêtes de la Seine' can be found throughout this issue.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 3.36 - 7. September 1998 - The Café Metropole's subtitle was - 'Paris Goes Event Crazy.' 'Au Bistro' had 'Johnny Gets Rained Out On Friday.' This issue had two features, entitled 'The Aéro Club's 100th Birthday Party Idea' count down Eiffel Tower and 'Photos: This Year's Last Tango in Spain.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Nice Tan!'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 2.36 - 8. September 1997 - The Café Metropole coumn was called - 'Who Demands 'Tabloid' Garbage?' The Au Bistro column was entitled 'Diana and Dodi's Fatal Ride - Lots of News But Few Facts.' This issue had two features, entitled 'At the Place de l'Alma Crash Site' and 'Surviving Back-to-School Chaos by 95 Percent.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Our Respects.'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 117 more mostly sunny, almost hot, or occasionally unsettled Paris and Ile-de-France autumn days to go until the really big year-end party is in full swing.
signature, regards, ric

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