...Continued from page 1

The Théâtre de l'Hôtel de Bourgogne was on the south side of the Rue Etienne-Marcel, towards Montorgueil. Built in 1548 it didn't have great success with its court-approved shows until it was rented in 1588 to professionals.

These included Corneille and Racine. This theatre was also the first to have posters printed for performances, starting in 1617. Shows were held between 14:00 and 16:30 because of dangerous Paris nights - and the word 'matinée' comes from this.

This theatre also became the birthplace of the Comedie Française via a decree by Louis XIV. After the troupe moved to the Théâtre Guénégard, Italians took over the old theatre until they moved in their turn to the Opéra-Comique.

The Rue Montorgueil is very lively with its marché and many cafés. The streets branching off it are a lot quieter and in these there are a number of small, attractive-looking restaurants.

This area also includes the well-preserved Passage du Grand Cerf, which has some interesting shops. In general, the whole area has few souvenirs or postcards, although there are a number of tatoo salons and body-piercing shops.

Unlike the pedestrian zones around Les Halles, Beaubourg and small zones on the Left Bank, practically the whole area - west of the Rue Saint-Denis, to the Rue Montmartre; and from the Rue Etienne-Marcel upphoto: tables, r montorgueil to the Rue Réaumur - is free of through traffic.

There is a Montorgueil pedestrian-area association that looks a bit glum. This is probably because all sorts of trendy name-brand thread shops have not opened edge-to-edge boutiques. The Paris garment district lies just to the north of this area and even spills into it a bit.

Almost every café has its bit of terrace.

While it lasts, this Montorgueil area is pleasant to explore. The streets are quiet. Figures move along the centres of the roads - free from horses, stagecoaches, cars and trucks. There is not too much to see, so it is easier to see what there is.

And if you get lonely, the hustle-bustle of Montorgueil is never more than two blocks away. I liked it so much, that after visiting Jean Sans Peur's tower on Wednesday, I went back again on Friday.

Café Metropole Club's 16th Session

The 16th weekly meeting of the 'Café Metropole Club' came off as a surprise party last Thursday. Two new members signed up, one of them a long-time Metropole reader who may be intending to come to the next three meetings. Read all about it on last week's 'Club 'Report'' page.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.06 - 8. February 1999 - The Café Metropole column was headlined: - 'Where the Money Is.' 'Au Bistro' had 'Firemen Take Silent Action.' This issue had two features, entitled 'The Seine's Lonesome Quays' and 'The Secret 'Euro' Bug.' This issue also had 'Paris' Scene' - '1999's Big Expos Have Begun' which was nearly identical to the previous week's headline. photo: sign, etienne marcel There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Geodynamics of Picnics'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.06 - 9. February 1998 - The Café Metropole column invited 'Welcome to Dreamland Paris.' The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined 'There Are a Large Number of French in France.' This issue had two features, entitled 'Retromobile: Dreams on Wheels' and 'True Dreams In Montmartre.' There were four'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'The 2CV - for Some a Collector's Item.'

The Metropole Paris Countdown to 31. December 2000:

This silly countdown continues with the sixth issue of 2000, even though no readers have asked for any countdown to the probable beginning of the next century and even more importantly, to the next millennium. This new countdown will last only 366 days, minus the days already gone. The reason for doing this is to give the Tour Eiffel a new chance to 'get it right' - because so many count-down fans missed shouting 'Zéro' on Friday, 31. December 1999.

There are about 329 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium.
signature, regards, ric

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