Farmers On 'Rampage' Arrive

photo: corona terrace table

It was not quite warm enough for biére de Mars
al fresco on Thursday.

News About the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Saturday, 4. March 2000:- Last Thursday's meeting started off very quietly with just Allan Pangborn and myself holding down the club's extensive area in the Café La Corona.

Fresh from the Salon de l'Agriculture the day before, we had a lot to think about, especially while discussing Metropole's possible Champagne label. To be accurate, it won't be Champagne - it will be sparkling wine, made in the style of 'champagne.'

I don't think it can be called 'Château Metropole.' Allan says he is going to build a shed to make it in, but we don't want to call it 'Lean-To Metropole' either. How does 'Café Metropole Club Sparkling Wine Plonk' sound?

Last Thursday's Meeting

The other day, while eating breakfast and not listening to radio France-Info's report about the 'life of plants' - which is reported like the crucial stage of a horse race - I got a brilliant idea for a new feature to add to Metropole.

That was the other day. Today I remember I've forgottenphoto: chantal it when is too late to do it. Darn! I am preoccupied with Paris' current beautiful cow and good food show.

Your club has a relationship to this because some 'virtual' members are farmers, and they are likely to turn up at the club meeting today. Paris is full of farmers and good food fans and their groupies.

Chantal Leygonie demonstrates how to become a 'real' member of the club.

A 'real' charter club member has suggested I think up an agenda - of about 10 Paris topics - before each meeting. But just getting to the weekly meeting and being the club's half-baked secretary has already boosted me beyond my level of competence.

All the same, I have three topics for the farmers - because 'good food' is on everybody's minds these days. This is how I forget the other idea.

Allan has arrived before me. He tells me about how to be a club member - of other clubs - without actually attending any meetings. He makes it sound positive.

At 59 minutes into today's meeting the situation changes radically with the arrival of Kathleen and Chantal Leygonie. This is also when Patrick the club's waiter remembers he's forgotten to bring Allan a Bière de Mars - which is another grand feature of Paris that pops up around the time of the Salon de l'Agriculture.

Chantal is a Parisian. She was mentioned in Metropole before the club started - on the night when the statue of Liberty was re-illuminated after returning to Paris following a long holiday in Tokyo Bay. Chantal's husband did the laser light work on that job, and Kathleen is a laser-lady too.

We are getting cozy with all the drinks in place when there is a bit of an uproar in the café, caused by the arrival of the 'rampaging' farmers.

They have been by the café before today, so the patron is pretty excited that these guys - these farmers from Canada! - have come back - to the Café Metropole Club, which is having its meeting in the rear of his café. They must have made a big impression the first time they came through.

Actually, Edgar Ladouceur, is a long-time Metropole reader and frequent correspondent,photo: farmers, ed, robert, bill who lives in Spencerville, Ontario - and he's been warning me about becoming a 'real' charter member for some time.

Left to right: Edgar, Robert and Bill - taking a rampage break at the club.

With him are Robert Passmore, a real 'bio' farmer from St. Marys, also in Ontario; and Edgar's brother-in-law, Guillaume 'Bill' Richardson, who is also a farmer, from someplace in Miami, Florida, instead of Canada.

They had pâté for lunch, which went into overtime, and before that, they had cassoulet. For the uninitiated, cassoulet is a dish from the south of France, of which Heinz' 57 varieties of wieners and beans is a wisp of a replica.

Cassoulet is often distributed in large cans or sealed glass pots, but since it contains mutton, pork, goose and other heavy-duty ingredients, it makes the Heinz' version seem like tasteless diet wafers.

Why, I want to know, do farmers fly across the Atlantic to Paris for the Salon de l'Agriculture?

"For good food" they say in unison, adding, "Extremely top-quality products."

Oddly, none of the trio have heard of José 'Good Food' Bové and the Peasant's Confederation. But they are surfing on the same wave-length. They mention the oyster competition. They mention the five-year-old Calvados they discovered in Normandy. 'Arrgggh!' they say about this Calvados.

They also mention some five-minute-old distilled prune soup straight out of a travelling still that rattled their socks. 'Phweehough!' they say. "Armangnac is better because its grapes grow closer to the ground!"

They mention thin pizza, they mention wine bars; they want more restaurant information from Metropole - they want me to test-drive every eating hole in Paris.

Gradually it begins to occur to me that the Salon de l'Agriculture is only held once a year, because thousands of 747s are flying farmers into France and they are pouncing on its foodstuffs like locusts and eating everything in sight.

The way we are set up, without an agenda or seating plan, we are spread out too much for a group photo - and too much so for Allan to say anything about his adventures in the Champagne line of things, or for Chantal and Kathleen to tell any tales of the Paris markets.

And I, of course, can not say anything about Dr. Leslie's Glasgow specialty, deep-fried Mars bars. But so what?

The club has picked up four new members today, three of whom are going to have to declare themselves as overweight luggage when they fly back to start crossing off calendar-days until next year's salon.

In La Corona, there is no 'Food of thephoto: corona food, eggs Week' consumed and the only special 'Drink of the Week' would be the bière de Mars, except that Allan doesn't put it up for this distinction. I've had 'Mars beer' in Munich and didn't care much for it.

La Corona's bar food is for dire emergencies only.

To me it seems too soon, but to Edgar, Bill and Robert it must seem that they have paused long enough to be hungry again, so they barge out.

They leave La Corona by the door closest to the wine bar, the Henri IV, on the Pont Neuf - no doubt to try some more of its white sancerre, fully convinced that as good as the red version is, the white is absolute tops.

Somehow the farmers have impressed La Corona's patron of the success of the Internet in drawing members to the little club that holds its weekly meetings in his café.

The other members who walked into the 20 previous meetings have been no less impressive to me.

When you plan to come to a future meeting, be sure to come by a few days early and ask for the club at the bar. Remember? It is pronounced 'cloob.' Do not whisper it.

The Original 'Report' of the Last Meeting

If you want to see last Thursday's original report, you can read the unofficial account of the weekly Club meeting - which is the same as above, but may have different photos. The easiest way to do it, is read it on Thursday - then read it again here. If you could do both at once, it would be stereo-reading.

The Café Metropole Club Is Free

The sole purpose of the Café Metropole Club is to offer an opportunity for readers of the online magazine 'Metropole Paris' who are in Paris to meet its 'Ed,' and each other, at its weekly meetings in a Paris café.

You will find that your 'Club' is more value than it costs - which is nothing - even though it has no actual real, pretended or 'virtual' benefits, except for being absolutely free.

Rising membership seems to show that some members think membership itself is a benefit. I suspect the 'free' part is at least an equal value.

The Café Metropole Club Membership Card

Just like any other club, the Café Metropole Club has a membership card. Unlike other clubs, thisphoto: virtual membership card card is a bit 'virtual' as you can see here. However it is possible to print it - if you feel it is absolutely necessary - which it is not.

The club's do-it-youself membership card, in color.

Readers who have not attended a weekly meeting in Paris in person can become 'virtual' members by using any handy method that's around. Any readers who do show up for meetings in Paris, automatically become exclusive* and 'real' Charter Club Members.

I don't know how the 'automatically' works or how to turn it off. It just happens, regardless of the membership cards.

Having a membership card is recommended because I've taken the time to include it here - even though it is free - and not every Betty, Bertie or Bob who have been to Paris has one.

*'Exclusive' means that it is the only Café Metropole Club in Paris that accepts any sort of human beings as members. All other virtual Café Metropole Clubs in Paris that claim to be real are virtual and should not be confused by the sole 'virtual' and authorized 'real' one.

Charter Club Member List

As 'virtual' members present themselves at the weekly club meetings in Paris, they become 'real' members of the club. All new arrivals are asked to sign the semi-official members' booklet.

After becoming 'real,' members will be asked if they wish to have their email addresses passed on to other 'real' members. If in agreement, this will be done. If not, the member's name will be on the distributed list, but without their email address.

The Whole History of the Café Metropole Club

The first meeting of your club took place on Thursday, 7. October 1999. The meeting next Thursday will be the club's 22nd.

Vital 'Update' Information

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 9. March, in Paris. This is not any particular day - in fact it is named after Sainte-Françoise, who is not well-known to me.

The club's 'report' for this meeting will be put online as usual at its regular time, which may still be Thursday in your time zone, if it is in the GMT scheme of things and far to the west of Paris.

photo: location map, la coronaWhat, Where, When, How?

Here are the day, time and location details for you to note:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf
Every Thursday at 15:00, until 17:00, GMT +01:00
In non-metric terms, even in Paris, the times are from 3 pm to 5 pm.

The club's meetings are held at the far end of the La Corona's big 'salle' where there is lots of room for members to spread out, park their coats and cases of wine, and sprawl around. The club has a waiter - usually it is Patrick - assigned to it and you can order anything you want from him. He will keep a tab on this for you to pay when you leave.

La Corona has other areas, including its bar, a small 'salle,' another terrace, and a downstairs part, but these are not where the club's meetings are held - so pay no attention to them - except, maybe, the vital downstairs part.

If you are uncertain about where to find the, simply ask anybody standing behind the bar - in any language that suits you - 'Où est le club, s'il vous plaît?' ['Club' continues to be pronounced 'cloob.']

See you soon - A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini