Easter's Surprising Weather

photo: cafe de la nouvelle mairie

Paris' weather had its good spells - before Easter.

Australia Gets New Promenade In Paris

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Tuesday, 26. April 2000:- A tiny item buried in Le Parisien's 19. April edition alerted me to the inauguration of the 'Promenade d'Australie' in Paris this coming Thursday.

Paris has a bit of unnamed quay, between the Bir-Hakeim and Iéna bridges, and the new 536 metre-long promenade will be located on the banks of the Seine near the Australian embassy. Australia's Prime Minister Mr. John Howard will be on hand at 16:00 on Thursday for the new name ceremony, assisted by Paris' mayor, Jean Tiberi.

The Promenade d'Australie is to honor Australian soldiers who helped defend Paris in WWI and returned in WWII to help liberate it. Australian troops played a major role in North African battles, joining up with Free French forces whose actions are commemorated on the Bir-Hakeim Bridge.

The future 'Promenade d'Australie' is already the site of a statue of La Pérouse, who explored large stretches of Australian coastline. The Australian Embassy is at 4. Rue Jean Rey, Paris 15. Métro: Bir Hakeim. If you wish to attend, rendez-vous here ahead of time, because I am not exactly sure where the ceremony will take place.

Unmentionably Damp Easter Weather

A quick run around central Paris yesterday revealed hordes of Easter visitors, but since it was not snowing or pelting down hail, I heard no Italian.

With the late Easter, the weather - which I am not mentioning any more in principle - was, after a certain decency on Friday, thoroughly and uncharacteristically - for Paris - wet.

It rained. When it wasn't raining, it was about too. It rained steadily, so it wasn't not raining often. Somehow I think the Italians found out about this in advance and decided to spend Easter someplace cold.

A place that has been cold lately is Madrid. According to the TV-weather news, temperatures in Madridphoto: renovated fountain, concorde have often been lower than in Paris. I think this is the reason I heard a lot of Spanish yesterday. In contrast, Moscow had quite a nice day recently.

A lot of people were wandering around the Place de la Concorde and I took the opportunity to take a look at the renovated fountain. It is very clean, very shiny, and has a lot of gold leaf on it. Its waterworks are a real gusher too.

The sky behind adds drama to the renovated fountain's lush new decor.

In contrast, the unrenovated sister-fountain looks like something dragged up from the sea's bottom, from where it has been resting on the ocean's floor for a couple of centuries. The contrast between the two - is stark.

The redecorated fountain, before its renovation, was the model for the replica at Paris, Las Vegas. I hope its designers had access to old drawings or photos of it, because in its new incarnation, it doesn't look anything like its unrenovated former self.

Meet Badger

I met Badger about 30 years ago, but I don't think I've seen him for about 16. In conversation Badger speaks ill of everybody, including his own countrymen. But I don't think he runs down anybody he doesn't know. For example, I don't recall him ever saying anything about Greenlanders.

As you know, I am Mr. Nice in these pages. All artists are great, all museums are wonderful; all Paris is some sort of earthly paradise. This is the way I am even if I find it sickeningly boring.

A while ago Badger sent me a particularly typical - for him - rant, and I thought, em, that I should try and institutionalize him a bit, to add a bitphoto: easter hats of 'true life' to these pages. A little bit of 'yang' to offset my 'yin.'

Badger being Badger, declined. He knows all the tediously boring things his countrymen say about the French, but does not know the French well enough to think up really offensive new things to say about people here.

A selection of Easter hats; much fancier than Easter umbrellas.

But while I was sending him an explanation about how nobody in France reads Metropole - because they are here - so he needn't think up any insults about the French; he was busily sending me this issue's ''Quercs' of The French.'

This first essay is not really 'true' Badger. This is Badger trying out something he has never done before; setting rants into words. This is not as easy as it may seem, but I am confident that Badger will get the hang of it soon and supply us with something truly offensive.

My thanks go to Metropole's wine expert and 'Charter' Café Metropole Club member, Allan Pangborn, for supplying the facts about the life of cork, to 'top up' Badger's piece.

Looking For Olive

I thought this week's piece about olives and why they are better for you than deep-fried Mars bars by Catherine Thevenin would be easy to 'top up' with facts, lore and photos.

Such was my enthusiasm that I even bought some olives for inspiration at my local street marché on Friday. My good 'Mediterranean-food' dealer has a variety of olives, prepared in a variety of ways.

Comin away, I patted myself on the back for being so clever as to actually get some real olives. Then I hit my books on Mediterranean cooking.

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