A Little Wine for Breakfast?

photo:l->r, ken, p j, susanne, john

From left - Ken, PJ, Susanne and John begin
the 'cheese' session.

Napoléon III Is Closed On Club Days

Paris:- Thursday, 15. June 2000:- Coming out of the métro's hole at Châtelet, I do not find this week's métro paper and when I see the Rue de Rivoli, it is not bathed in bright sunlight.

This is fine light for photographing posters, but I don't see any good ones. I don't see any 'Fiat 500's of the Week' so you are spared this thrill too.

In the Mairie of the 1st arrondissement, I do see that it seems to have Internet access for anyone who comes in. You need some sort of 'card' to work the iMac just inside the door.

At La Corona, both the terraces are nearly deserted. The sky is a little gloomy, so I guess nobody is thirsty yet. Inside the big 'salle' there are no people, no pets, no food, no drinks. To liven upphoto: formidable leffe beer the club's corner, I put one of the little plastic menus on one of the club's tables.

After fifty minutes, a lady says something like, "If this is the club, it should be outside!" She is with three other people and they all seem to be wary about approaching the club's unofficial area.

The first hint of what will be the 'Drink of the Week.'

I coax them over; pooh-pooh the outside, with its noise and lack of bright sky. The four do sit down after thinking it over; each one leaving a empty chair between - so they take up the space of ten people, all facing me.

The nominal leader of this small mob is Susanne Charney from Fairfax, California. The other three are members of her 'four-pack' and they include her husband John, and PJ and Ken Martin who are from Birmingham, Alabama.

Susanne and PJ work for a government agency and they accidently got to know each other because of an email message that went wrong. Since then, they have become a 'four pack' and now they are in Paris together; because Susanne loved her adventures in 1968 here. It is the Martins' first visit.

On account of this, I declare Birmingham to be 'City of the Week.' Thisphoto: same group 2 makes the Martins lifelong Café Metropole Club fans, even if they've never read Metropole - which I'm not sure they have.

Not quite there, but getting close to the 12th 'cheese' in unison.

I notice Ken has a watch like mine. Unlike mine he is wearing his because its battery works. He suggests I 'pull the stem' when not wearing mine, so the battery won't run down. I wish somebody had told me this before it went dead while I was not wearing it

They have been in the Louvre next door. Susanne is annoyed because the shops in it were 'closed for lack of employees.' John says, "Napoléon III is closed every Thursday."

They all had a fine dinner last night and the best part was having the chef say hello to them this morning. "I survived French cheeses," John says.

"As a student, I had 'lost' years in Paris," Susanne says, after everybody has each ordered a different beer in different-sized glasses.

"At the Grizzly, a four-year old cleared our table," Susanne says. I make a boring speech about the French constitution and child labor laws and add all I know about the 35-hour work week.

John says, "You could easily get lost in the Louvre. Never see anything twice." Unlike their hotel room. He says,"If it was bigger it would still be small."

They tell me about some amusing adventures they've had with pickpockets in London. This has left them in the position of not worrying about their colleagues in Paris because there's nothingphoto: food of the week left to pick. Ken adds that pickpockets in the 'French Quarter' - I assume he means New Orleans - are pretty crafty too.

I am pretty sure this can't be so, because club members have not only learned to pronounce it, but it has been the club's 'City of the Week' too.

'Food of the Week' turns out to be good old French-style meringue.

"I'm looking for the perfect breakfast wine," PJ says, and this is what becomes the 'Quote of the Week,' even though John insists that, "It doesn't go with orange juice."

I may have forgotten to mention that beer is the club's 'Drink of the Week,' now that most glasses are empty. This also seems as good as time as any to mention that brittle French meringue is the 'Food of the Week,' especially after Susanne takes a bite of some that she has brought, to show me it is edible if one is determined.

There are other stories about Paris-style 'artistic' parking, seen from a hotel window, and this reminds Ken to tell me why Birmingham was called 'Magic City' in olden times; having something to do with Birmingham, UK, and iron, and the stuff used to make it.

A good tip is offered for those who stay more than five days in Paris, and it involves mailing all purchases home, if the workers in the Louvre's shops ever return to sell anything, and if you can do this before getting your pockets picked.

At some point I interrupt the 'four-pack' for the group photo. The Charneys and the Martins get together on what seems like two chairs instead of ten, and say 'cheese' in unison about 28 times.

Doing this allows me to get two clear shots out of 14 blurred ones. Thisphoto: same group 3 is many more than I usually get to take, so I include one of the blurred ones here too. I tell myself to remember the 'cheese' trick.

Almost not blurred, after 'cheese' number 23.

Shortly after club time is up for the week - it could be called 'Time of the Week' - but no, I can't do this without members being present - I see the 'four-pack' on the Quai du Louvre, all pointing in different directions.

Pointing towards the 'Chef of the Week,' the 'Four-year Old Waiter of the Week' or the 'Breakfast Wine of the Week?' I don't know; all of them or some I haven't even heard of yet.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The date for the club's next meeting is Thursday, 22. June. This will be Saint-Alban's Day in Paris. If you sense it is Thursday and you seem to be at loose ends, come to the meeting.

If you do have the good luck - 'bon chance!' in French - to be in some other paradise, but you do remember it is the day for your club's meeting - whereverphoto: formidable french beer you are you can say "It is Café Metropole Club day in Paris again!"

The café La Corona meeting place will again be open on both outside terraces like today - plus all of its inside places - so the time for your club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00 - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm, depending on what sort of chronometre you may have - and, provided its battery is functioning.

This is one of the originals; not a re-fill.

Come as you are - even in jeans especially if you can. If you do not expect to be present you can read the regular - this week's - Monday page for this week's general club's news. In particular, I don't remember what in particular I wrote, but it was something.

Monday's 'club news' will be available next week in Metropole's regular edition, pretty much as usual unless something unusual happens which hasn't been often lately.

The café's location is still:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

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