Between Waves

photo: wine resto, jacques melac

This is how Jacques Melac's vinyard looked last Friday.

With a Vendange Party Invitation

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 13. September 1999:- This is not a giant issue like the last one. The past week had Paris bathed in perfect weather - for July - with super sunny days and way 'above normal' temperatures. Not only 'above normal' for September, but for July too.

So I was out marching around here and there and going places accidently, with the result that this issue has a couple of features that neatly fill a little hole in the stream of events.

This coming Wednesday, Paris picks up its 'rentrée' steam again with a shoppingbag full of new exhibitions and events. I am not sure what I will do with them all, but something may occur to me by Wednesday morning.

The weather returned to 'normal' last night and the forecast for the coming week is for the usual Septemberphoto: patisserie muck. I wouldn't mind because Paris has been having a bonus mini-season, but some of the coming events will be taking place outside.

One of them will be next Saturday's vendange at Jacques Melac's wine restaurant. As you can see above, the facade of the restaurant has some grape vines. These will be picked on Saturday - for converting into wine! - and the neighborhood will have a local festival to celebrate this occasion.

As far as I know everybody is welcome to lend a hand. The festival licks off at 13:00, Saturday, 18. September. At Jacques Melac's Bistrot à Vin, 42. Rue Léon Frot, Paris 11. Métro: Charonne. Don't bother phoning, just show up if you can make it.

Thinking About House-Cleaning

As part of my dentist's temporary program of me having no teeth, last Tuesday seemed like a good time to buy a broom. I had gone the rounds of the local drogeries - these are like mini combination hardware and five-and-dime shops - but none of them had brooms.

If I am to wash floors too, I think I will need a bucket. The drogeries had no buckets. Maybe nobody else washes floors anymore. For windows, I need a high stepladder, but this is too ambitious this week. I have to measure the windows' heights to figure out how many steps the ladder needs to have.

In Montparnasse there is a huge supermarket called 'Inno' and its entry on the Rue de Départ looks the freight delivery. 'Inno' is known, or used to be, for having a good wine selection. Inside it is not as dumpy as its entrance.

What I was looking for in its vast downstairs space, was the ménage - house cleaning - section. I could have asked where to find it, butphoto: deli's cafe without teeth I might be mistaken for a clochard, and everybody would have a big laugh at the idea of a clochard wanting to clean floors. So I hunted around, security cameras following my every move.

I found buckets on an end-display. I found mops. I found the thingee for squeezing the mop, that fits on the rim of the bucket. The ensemble was the Spanish model; the one that works well when used on tile floors three times a day. There were five different price tags for the three items.

On the shelves on the left side, there were various kinds of sponges - all synthetic and all for jobs the size of a small jam spill. Around on the right side, there were mop handles, and lots of other house-cleaning odds and ends, including real brooms.

I guess it is over 30 years since I have seen a real broom. No, I have seen rare remanents of them, but I don't remember where. I almost decide to get one for old times' sake.

At the end of June, there were TV commercials for a new type of dust mop. The fabric part of the mop was shown picking up dust from an entire apartment's floor, just by giving the floor a peek at it. It did windows too.

It was a convincing advertisement but I have not seen the product anywhere in all the drogeries and ménage sections I've scouted during the past six weeks. Perfect advertising for a non-existent product.

I tried to be rational in front of the choice of tools that faced me. I needed to thoroughly clean the floor, I needed to wax it and I needed something to keep it clean. For the tiles in the kitchen and bath, the bucket and a heavy-duty sponge would do - but there were no such sponges.

There were these floor things, with exchangeable wiper-mop parts - like the one in the TV ad. When I could find any price tag at all, there were about five models with one brand name and five different prices. There were also a wide choice of broom-heads, and a small choice of handles.

Dust-pans came with little hand brushes. These are handy when the kids spill their cereal, so long as they do itphoto: tuileries basin before they put milk in the bowl. If they do it after, then you need a mop and you do not need the little hand brush at all.

I decided to get a bucket first despite them seeming to have a combination price. A young lady - students are looking for this sort of stuff these days too - was looking at the bucket-mop-squeegee combo and having trouble with the prices. I tried to explain. I forgot I had no teeth. I said, 'Teeee-zthhh.'

She got nervous and somebody else's help; another lady customer, because the store's personal had better things to do than show customers the ways around the mops and brooms.

I put some floor cleaner-wax and some industrial washing-cloths into my yellow plastic bucket. I found a dustpan without a brush and put it in too. I selected a broom-head and a handle and a toilet brush. Finally I picked one of the cloth-mop combos and hoped its handle won't break off on the third use - like most of them do.

On the way out, I picked up a cheapo bathmat, telling myself to clean the bath floor without fail before using it. I put it all through the cash checkout upstairs and had to ask for a bag so I could carry it all.

The one I was given had 'Monoprix' on it. The poles didn't fit it in, but nobody even looked like they were store security when I walked out the Edgar Quinet exit with the load.

I toted my stuff worth about $50 up past the cemetery instead of going through it, wondering whether it would be worth it to go all the way back there to get a $50 stepladder. Housewives' decisions aren't as easy as you may think.

I decided to put off thinking about it for another week. I might get the toaster instead, if I have teeth by then. Having toast will be better than having clean windows for a week or two.

Metropole's New Web Address Bungle

photo: velosolexA couple of weeks ago, 'Metropole Paris' moved from a sub-basement of the Internet to its own new home, in its brand-new Dot-.Com domain. The move itself went okay, but there has been an untraceable problem with the 're-direct.'

The old URL continues to work with your old Metropole bookmark and for backissues. But if you try to click-through from a backissue to the latest issue, you are going to have a problem. As readers have explained to me, you won't get the latest issue.

Here then, is the new URL for 'Metropole Paris:' Please 'bookmark' this new URL.

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.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 3.37 - 14. September 1998 - The Café Metropole's subtitle was - 'Blowin' In the Cold Wind.' 'Au Bistro' had 'Is Johnny Really 'Live?'' This issue had two features, entitled 'Who's Afraid of the Institut de France?' count down Eiffel Tower and 'Higher, Further, Faster - The Balloon Race That Wasn't.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'We Can See the Tower!'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 2.37 - 15. September 1997 - The Café Metropole column was called - 'Bienvenue to Metropole, Again.' The Au Bistro column was entitled 'Brit Tabs Savage French Flics.' This issue had two features, entitled 'A Little Stroll on the Boulevard Saint-Michel' and 'A Fizzy Neighborhood Street-Party.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Back in School Again. Yes!'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 110 more mostly cloudy, cool and occasionally stormy 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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