Grouchy Weather Week

photo: brasserie en l'ile, ile st louis

On the Ile Saint-Louis; your 'beach' is waiting for you.

Exclusive Art Discovery

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 12. June 2000:- We've had another week of dumpy weather here, which I suppose answers the questions about it impending visitors were posing last month. A glance at 'Metropole a Year Ago or Two Years Ago' shows there isn't much change.

The thermometre is like a yo-yo. Given half a chance it will shoot up a June level of about 25 or more. It stays there for two days and then drops below 20 for the rest of the week.

There is still a lot of occasional rain. This is 'rain' in the sense of pouring-rain, not the usual Paris half-hearted drizzle. 'Occasional' means short, sharp, downpours; but usually at night. The Pyrenees got new snow on Saturday.

I can't make up my mind whether it's better spending the whole weekend inside, freezing - or being sore that it's nice out and I have to stay inside, getting this together.

Lately, weekends have not been blessed with good weather, so I haven't had any choice anyway. Along with the rest of the Parisians I am grouching it out, huddled in winter woolies, until the holidays start.

Then, no doubt, I will have something else to grumble about. I already know I won't be complaining that it's too hot. Thinking about this makes me even grouchier now.

Paris 'Art' Find

By now you may be somewhat bored with Metropole's recent 'arty' trend, so you may think I'm being a bit nervy to shove some more at you. I wouldn't do it if it wasn't any good.

It started in my boulangerie where I saw a poster for an expo. 'Art' posters in my boulangerie are not unusual - this is Paris! - but this one caught my attention for two reasons.

The location of the exhibition was given as La Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe, way downphoto: painting©jean perrin on Paris' outskirts on the Boulevard Jourdan, in the Cité Universitaire. The illustration on the poster features a big cow and two cattle dealers.

Two cattle dealers and a Charolais cow, by 'imagier' Jean Perrin©

'Now he's boosting cow art,' you may think. But it isn't the 'cow,' it is the art part. Done with pastel crayons, with big shapes, dark and light; squint and it's light and shade and colors and composition, with fine but forceful execution. Nothing timid or half-hearted about it.

I dumped what I had already planned to do on Wednesday and went to see it, because the artist would be on hand, for Wednesday and Thursday only.

The Cité Universitaire isn't known for being handy because it is beyond the Parc Montsouris; located a fair walk between the métro at Porte d'Orléans and the RER Cité Universitaire.

The Cité Universitaire isn't known for being a centre of art either. But I found La Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe at number 37 as advertised, and found the small expo in it, and found Jean Perrin, the maker of the cow pastels.

The well lit but small exhibition room was full of them. All cows. Some with cattle dealers or herdsmen, some without.

The director of La Fondation Deutsch de la Meurthe found Jean Perrin where he lives and works, southwest of Dijon. He liked the cows so much that he invited the artist to Paris - for the first time in his life - to show just the cows.

The director said they are Charolais. I've seen these at the Salon de l'Agriculture and they are very big, blond sweeties.

Monsieur Perrin told me he does chickens too - with a big grin - and trees, rocks, gardens. His wife makesphoto: degraffiti rue e cresson tapestries, in the haute-lisse Gobelins' method, but with modern designs. These were fine to see in the sample book he had on hand.

Actually, Jean Perrin doesn't call himself an artist and says he is an 'imagier.' I think he is shy. Sure, he does colors, but these are laid on forms, for an effect of big volumes - and the way he does it is far beyond mere 'coloring.'

High-pressure graffiti clean-up of my building's walls is noisy and wet.

While we were talking about his Gallo-Roman home town of Autun, some people who had also seen the posters in their boulangeries filled up the room and start waving cheques around.

There was no price-list for the framed paintings, because Monsieur Perrin didn't want to appear to be a carpetbagger; coming to Paris to put good stuff on the market, for dumping prices.

All the paintings have one price, and it is Monsieur Perrin's 'Autun' price. If I had had a chequebook with me, it would have been very hard not to come away with one of these works - but I was given a copy of the poster.

The exhibition 'Boeufs à la Croque' continues without Monsieur Perrin until Friday, 30. June. To see it, you'll have to phone for an appointment. The number is 01 40 78 82 02.

The Rue des Artistes

If you are at the Cité Universitaire, the Parc Montsouris is across the boulevard. It is a shame to pass it up while down in this area, so I gave it a quickie once-over.

On Wednesday I felt more like looking over the streets to the west, off the Rue Nansouty where there are a couple of dead-ends filled with older houses, all covered with ivy.

A bit further on, on the left, are the big reservoirs. A sidewalk angles up the Rue Saint-Yves to a sort of plateau above the Avenue René Coty.

On this plateau there are some interesting streets for the eyes, if you want to see an older and quiet part of Paris. These include the Rue des Artistes and the Rue de l'Aude. These are so quiet that grass grows between the paving stones.

Heading a bit further west on the Rue Saint-Yves brought me to a cluster of streets of different angles, past the red-brick Saint-François church.

I had to walk back a bit to get across the Rue d'Alésia, into another cluster of streets, which have angles too and curves as well - the Rue du Commandeur.

Doing this isn't for big thrills, but for looking at curved buildings, photo: building, cite universitaire little shops, quiet odd-shaped intersections, odd roofs and dormer windows, strange garages, window reflections and neighborhood cats if there are any around.

One of the Cité Universitaire's architectual examples of 'international' buildings.

This is all within a long corridor between the Avenue Général Leclerc and the Rue de la Tombe Issoire, that starts at the Boulevard Jourdan in the south and goes up to the hospital La Rochefoucauld in the north.

A straightforward job of going to the Cité Universitaire and coming back is one of the most boring round-trips I can think of, but adding this 90-minute street stroll on to it puts a positive value to the return.

There are other parts of Paris that are as backwater and calm but probably none are quite so extensive. Quartiers in Paris change pretty quickly from one to another - sometimes with stretches of 'desert' between them; ones filled with RER lines and maybe big hospitals.

Most of the time I am 'where the action is' - like on Friday. What has made the week whole, was being where there wasn't any - last Wednesday.

Café Metropole Club's 35th Session

The high point of the 35th weekly meeting of the 'Café Metropole Club' happened when new member and non-reader Cauleen Viscoff unveiled her 'unmentionable' goodies, after not 'spending more than 10 minutes' in Samaritaine.

The 'goodies' themselves weren't the high point, but the Aubade box they came in was. Vigilant readers will rememberphoto: sign, rue georges braque that a poster for Aubade's flimsy wares blew the doors off Paris' recent 'bikini wars' poster battle - which Cauleen, as a non-reader, knew nothing about.

Thursday's club meeting produced many other surprises too, including an all-time record for the 'Youngest Member of the Week.' You can read about it on last Thursday's 'Club 'Report'' page.

If you think you might just skip it, you will be making a mistake. The club's next meeting will be on Thursday, 15. June. And if you are in the mood, be sure to see this week's 'Club News' page too.

Photographsin this issue reflect where I was during the week, but do not necessarily match the text where they are placed. If you have any questions about them, drop me a note via email.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.24 - 14. June1999 - The week's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'My Euro Vote.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Good News Week: No Strikes.' This issue had one feature, titled 'The Palms of Paris.' The 'Scene' column had 'Flying High With 'Lylo.' A pre-launch version of the Café Metropole Club popped up again with, 'The Flat Hunt.' There were four 'Posters of the Week' with an extra page of European election posters. Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'One Palm Tea, Please.' Why not?

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.24 - 15. June 1998 - The Café Metropole column had the seasonal title of: 'Putting the Sweaters Back On.' The 'Au Bistro' columnphoto: sign, crue janvier 1910 was titled, 'Eric Tabarly Lost At Sea.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Day One of the World Cup at Trocadéro.' This means that the World Cup must have been two whole years ago after all. For footballing sportsfans there was 'Links For World Cup: Ready, Set - Change Shirts!' Only Mike Harmon seemed to notice the 'World Cup' enough to write an email about it. Several other readers contributed emails about 'Picnic Knives Get Another Once-Over.' There were the usual four 'Posters of the Week' too. Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Big Screen Under a Bridge.'

Metropole Paris' Nearly Solo Countdown to 31. December 2000:

Due to the indifference to this countdown, it is hereby suspended. No protest against this suppression has called for its reinstatement. If this goes on and Metropole has a contest here, you will not know about it and have no chance of winning a real Paris prize. Contests are certainly rare, but you never know when one might suddenly appear.

There are only about 202 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium. For really nit-picky readers, this figure is correct. On account of this section being suspended due to lack of care, the number of days gone since New Year's is unknown.
signature, regards, ric

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