...Continued from page 1

Both the manager and today's waiter Patrick express no surprise at the lack of members this afternoon. As far as the café's business goes they would just as soon close the doors and leave the key under the doormat.

photo: quai du louvreBusiness for cafés in Paris will pick up again just before Saint-Valentin, on Monday,14. February. However, both the café and the club will remain open during these doldrums.

Outside, on the Quai du Louvre, there are few doldrums.

During this lull, Kathleen decides to try out a new drink, called Suze. This is made of gentian - back to the dictionary - "Any of numerous plants of the genus Gentiana, characteristically having showy blue flowers" - wrong one - "The dried rhizome and roots of a yellow-flowered European gentian G. lutea, sometimes used as a tonic". A 16 % fortified bingo!

While Kathleen intends to have this elixir straight with cubes, Patrick suggests she try it with a dash of Cassis. This changes its color from yellow to something like iced tea, and Kathleen pronounces it fine; wanting to know its name.

"Suze avec Cassis" Patrick says, and thus it becomes the club's 'Drink of the Week.' I sniff it but I think my nose isn't working.

This is not a hyper-popular drink for Parisians, but is appreciated by migrants from the Auvergne and other provinces. So much so, that there are two other brand names for it: Salers and Aveze. The club's café carries all three brands, which shows what a classy place it is.

If you see 75 year-old ads for any of these painted on building walls throughout France, at last you will know what they are for.

Kathleen does not leave the club early as she thought she might have to. It is after five when she drifts out to the silky night on the Quai du Louvre.

A Metropole reader has requested a lot-price for souvenir Eiffel Towers, so I go to the bar to try and determine what this may amount to. It is not the place to do it - but La Corona does have a lot of them in different sizes, so it's a place to start.

I feel like a fast ride back to the office on the métro, so I take it from the closest spot. The loudspeakers are blaring something really loud.

When I get to the Châtelet quay for the direction to Orléans, the message blares out again. 'Garbel, kphifft, garble, strike,photo: suze & cassis kphifft, both directions, garble, find some other way home, garble, kphifft, merci et bon voyage!'

The other few people - at this time it should be a huge crowd - waiting for the next train all look like out-of-towners. Back I go the way I came, to find a big crowd on the direction La Défense platform. The trains are running very slowly. Not on strike, just very slowly.

With Cassis, Suze looks just like any other café drink.

Change at Concorde for Issy, change at Pasteur for Nation - big crowds all the way with all the north-south travellers doing the same round-about.

The 'line four' that radio France-Info was blathering on about this morning, is my line. Next time, if I come to the club on bus 38 then I will return from it on bus 38.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

Reminder: there will be no regular Monday issue of Metropole on 24. January. But next week's club meeting will be reported as an update like this one; on the:

Thursday, 27. January 2000, rain or shine, members or no, is the date for the club's next meeting. If you cannot make it, please take the time to induct yourselves as 'virtual' members in your exclusive Paris club.

The café La Corona meeting place will be as open as usual, so the time for your club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00, undepending on whether anybody besides its staff and your club's secretary are present.

Come any time you feel like as long as it is not much later than 15:00 and you are in Paris. If you are not present and do not know the ritual for becoming a 'virtual' member, you should read the regular Monday PR page for your club instead. The place is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

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