May Day? May Day!

photo: la fountaine de mars, r st dominique

Under all the architecture, there is a pleasant café.

Mystery Royal Death Cleared Up

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 1. May 2000:- Because today is international 'Worker's Day,' I am writing this the night before. I do not want to upset my former union comrades by working on a 'day-off' we have fought for hundreds of years to have for goofing off.

I am very excited about May Day. All week I have been paying extra attention to the TV-weather news. Last Wednesday, it was really gloomy and the evening's long-range prediction was for more of the same.

This continued until the template was changed on Friday - to show glorious sunshine for the whole weekend, plus Monday - which is a holiday on the continent - but not necessarily for the people who do the TV-weather news.

[Insert snooze here.] Now on Monday, after today's parade in glorious weather, I can say withphoto: food stand, republique some authority that the weather prediction has been right on the button.

However, my careful advance planning to make this issue's deadline has become unravelled. I always underestimate how long it will take.

For example, for the following item I used a complete five-page magazine article as a basis - because it was written by a major French historian.

Red-hot goodies, right here!

Like all magazine pieces, I suspected the editors had their way with it. I started out by writing, 'what, who, where, when, why, how' at the top and went through it to see if it contained all the answers.

It did, but I wasn't happy with some of them. Filling in suspected blanks or missing detailsphoto: film festival, cannes required opening two books I have, plus the street map.

One book has an index and even a chart showing where the subject lived in relation to all his - relations. The other book had a lot of text on the subject; some of it out of date and some of it wrong.

Before I started it I knew it would take a long time, and it did. The magazine piece had a modern thrust to it - how awful to treat such a young kid as this one was treated. I agree with it.

The Cannes Film Festival again. Has another year gone by?

The 'why' of it is its weak point. Either there was no 'why' and it was plain evil, or the 'why' has been left out by the historian. If the latter, I would like to know the 'why' has been left out.

The Short, Unhappy Life of Louis XVII

Monseigneur Le Duc Louis-Charles de Normandie was born at Versailles on Sunday, 27. March 1785 at 18:45. He died, with the civil name of Capet fils, on Monday, 8. June 1795.

From Monday, 22. January 1793, about 9:00 - after being acknowledged as King of France by his mother Queen Marie-Antoinette, his sister Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte and Louis XVI's sister Madame Elizabeth et Cléry - Louis-Charles was Louis XVII, until his death 39 months later at the age of 10.

Louis-Charles came into line for the throne in June of 1789 when his older brother died of tuberculosis. On 6. October of the same year, the royal family was taken from their home at Versailles and installed in the Château des Tuileries.

In June of 1791, Louis XVI fled with his family in the direction of Germany, but was turned back at Varennesphoto: rain, visitors, umbrellas and returned to Paris. On 20. June 1793 a mob attacked the Château de Tuileries, and again 10. August. Three days later the royal family arrived at the Temple dungeon - which was a 50-metre high tower, built in the middle ages.

Below the Bir-Hakeim bridge, visitors consults their guides.

At first Louis-Charles shared a room on the second floor with his father, while his mother and the others were lodged on the third floor. On 11. December, Louis-Charles was moved upstairs.

At 22:00 on 3. July 1973, Louis-Charles was separated from his mother and reinstalled on the tower's second floor; guarded by a couple named Simon. They did not treat him badly and his sister remembered hearing him sing the 'Marseillaise.'

On 19. January 1794, Simon quit the job and he and his wife left the Temple prison. From then on, Louis-Charles was alone - without heat, without anything; in total isolation. Every night at 10, a municipal watchman came by and yelled at Louis-Charles to wake up.

Nobody came to see him until a month after Robespierre fell under the blade on 27. July 1794. Then, although better treated, Louis-Charles had been neglected too long to recover.

On 9. June 1795, four eminent doctors performed the autopsy on the body of the young king. Like his older brother, Louis-Charles died from tuberculosis.

The doctors looked and then they wrapped up. One, Dr. Pelletan, wrapped up Louis-Charles' heart and put it in his pocket. After many dreary adventures, Louis-Charles' heart ended up in the royal crypt at Saint-Denis.

For 205 years half the people who believe in certain things have been convinced that the Simons smuggled Louis-Charles out of the Temple tower and left a ringer in his place; and the other half think Louis XVII died in the dungeon.

Over time there have been no less than 101 pretenders to the name. Naundorff, the most famous, liesphoto: pont bir hakeim under a tombstone which carries the inscription, "Ici repose Louis XVII, Charles-Louis, duc de Normandie, roi de France et de Navarre, né à Versailles le 27 mars 1785, décédé à Delft le 10 aoüt 1845."

Ten days ago, two separate labs in Belgium and in Germany published identical conclusions after four months of DNA studies.

The Bir-Hakeim bridge; under the elevated métro line 6.

The mother of Monseigneur Le Duc Louis-Charles de Normandie - civil name, Capet fils - was indeed Marie-Antoinette, and she was therefore the mother of Louis XVII. And this was the same lad who was abandoned to die of neglect and disease in the Temple dungeon.

Now, at least, he has got his proper name again; for once and for all. Louis XVII - RIP.

Café Metropole Club's 29th Session

The 29th weekly meeting - the before the 30th-week mark! - of the 'Café Metropole Club' marked another unexpected minor upsurge in 'real' membership last Thursday, and included geography tips and obscure slogans. 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 4.18 - 3. May 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was headlined: - 'A Week Asleep; Train Strike.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Hunters Lose Free Range 'Rights'.' This issue had two whole features, titled 'The World's First Land-Speed Capital' and 'Foire de Paris Spotlights Artisans andphoto: promenade d'australie Creators.' The 'Scene' column returned with 'Less Than ALL of the Events.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Not for Us' - but then, for whom?

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.18 - 4. May 1998 - The Café Metropole column posed the question: 'Where Were You in May of 1968?' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Bonjour 'Euro!' This issue had three fantastic features, titled 'May Day '98 at République,' 'Eyewitness to Paris in May '68,' by Jim Auman and '30 Years Later - A Chronology of 'May '68.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' as usual and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Only One Euro.'

The Metropole Paris Countdown to 31. December 2000:

This is the 18th issue of the year. This is what the '18' after the '5' means. Since I still haven't received any complaints about Metropole's somewhat glamorous and black-on-peachy background, stupendously fabulous, somewhat glittering count-down, I am going to forget whining about it here week after every darn week, and concentrate on thinking up terribly difficult, but jolly, contests.

The recent contest was a huge success even if it set new records for financial extravagance. Rest assured that I am chipping in with all the stray centimes I find, putting them into the unopenable Deutschebundespost piggybank - plus! - clipping all the coupons I find on what few packaged goods I buy. It all adds up, given time.

This new countdown will last only 366 days, minus the 122 days already gone. Does anybody ever check these numbers? Anyhow, the official reason for doing this is to give the Tour Eiffel a new chance to 'get it right' another time. This is a re-run for many count-down fans who missed shouting 'Zéro' on Friday, 31. December 1999 when Paris' countdown clock conked out. The 'unofficial' reason for this has been suspended until it's time for another contest.

There are only about 244 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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