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.

Coming 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.

In one book, olives, olive oil or olive orchards are cited in the index 13 times. But, although olives and oil are as common in Mediterranean cooking as onions, nonephoto: accordion 2000, salon music of the books contained any history or fascinating lore.

About three hours after the marché had packed up for the day, I realized that I had missed a chance to take a lot of photos of a lot of different kinds of olives, and some truly exotic oils too.

The 'Accordéon 2000' will get a tryout at the Salon de la Musique. See the 'Scene' page.

My neighborhood has French, Italian and Greek delicatessens. In the French shop it was suggested I try a bookshop in the 5th, but I didn't want to buy a whole book to add a mere paragraph of 'lore.'

When the Italian operator found out I didn't want to buy a 160 franc bottle of Tuscan high-class extra-virgin olive oil, he was suddenly too busy to let me borrow it for 60 seconds to take a photo of it.

All the same, even if he doesn't get a mention here, he'll probably see me again. He has one of these shops where you have to keep stepping outside, to avoid drooling on the shop's floor.

But this makes me remember that my marché also has an Italian specialty operator. I have drooled my way past this stand often; one day I'm going to stop.

Contest Winners' Prize

One of Metropole's recent contest winners has written to say he is thrilled to have a sardine tin full of 'Air de Paris,' and if Metropole ever has another contest he will enter it in a flash.

Paris air, even though we have a lot of it around here, is rare in other parts of the world. Having a sardinephoto: prize, air de paris tin full of it is a great subject for lagging conversations.

In complying with EC labeling guidelines, the contents were described as a lot of nitrogen, some tiny amount of oxygen, and a very great deal of pollution.

Not only 'winnable,' but 'Air de Paris' is exportable.

Depending on where the tin was sealed, the so-called 'pollution' may not be this at all. It might be the smell of a bakery in the morning, or the combined smells of a street marché after it has warmed up a bit.

I do not think the manufacturers of 'Air de Paris' would have sealed the tin during the rush hour on the Perifreak! or any other such similar place.

Café Metropole Club's 28th Session

The 28th weekly meeting - the after-the-six-month mark! - of the 'Café Metropole Club' marked another sudden upsurge in 'real' membership last Thursday and included the induction of member who were not 'virtual' who did become 'real.' You can read about it on last week's 'Club 'Report'' page even if you have already read it once.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.17 - 26. April 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was headlined: - 'Sunday Strolling, Biking, Rollering, Jogging and Plain Walking.' The rest of the issue was titled 'The issue thatphoto: secours, en case de noyade wasn't, was a small one.' There were Posters of the Week, but I don't know how many.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.17 - 27. April 1998 - The Café Metropole column had the exciting headline: 'This Strike Won't Affect You.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled '20 Million Wrong Numbers.' This issue had three whole features, titled 'Flower-Gazing in the Parc Bagatelle,' 'Camping in Paris' Bois de Boulogne' and 'Where All Lanes are Fast: the Perifreak!' There were four 'Posters of the Week' as usual and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Train Driver Dream.'

The Metropole Paris Countdown to 31. December 2000:

Here is the 17th issue of the year already and I still haven't received any complaints about Metropole's somewhat shopworn but still white-on-peachy background, stupendously fabulous, somewhat tattered count-down. Two weeks ago I did something about this situation, but it has changed nothing. Nobody is still complaining about the count-down.

Despite the recent contest - see above - and the claim that one contestant made; he reads not only every word here, but the punctuation as well - the result is still: 'Nobody is still complaining about the count-down.'

I give up. If you aren't going to complain about this useless count-down, I will just have to continue it without further comment until its time is up.

This new countdown will last only 366 days, minus the 115 days already gone. The official reason for doing this is to give the Tour Eiffel a new chance to 'get it right.' This is a re-run for many count-down fans who missed shouting 'Zéro' on Friday, 31. December 1999 when Paris' countdown clock gave up. The 'unofficial' reason for this has been suspended until it's time for another contest.

There are only about 251 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium. For really picky readers, this figure may now be incorrect again. The thing I like least about the count-down is looking up the days gone and the days-to-go each week.
signature, regards, ric

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