...Continued from page 1

Some 'clever' visitors carry their own drink, warm and heavy. These know the 'Bonaprix' sells the 1.5-litre bottles of water for about 3.50 francs - gosh! - compared to a cool half-litre bottle for 10 francs from the hawkers. What a rip-off!

These hawkers do not ply their wares in the Place du Tertre. It is surrounded by café terraces - where I bet a 0.33-litre glass of water will probably set you back 12 francs - at least - but you have to expect to pay to sit down under an awning.

So the middle way is carry nothing, pay the hawker the 10 francs and sit on a free bench in the Square Nadar; under its trees, and have a less hectic view than the one of the 'tourist hell' in the Place du Tertre. Tipping the water guy wouldn't be out of line either; this is Paris after all.

The French Are Normal

Depending on what you already think, this assertion may either be news to you; or you might be disappointed because you prefer your French to be, well, 'French.'

In last week's Metropole I mentioned that the nearby Rue Boulard was treated to a repaving job. The asphalt was put down, smooth and very black, and during the past week a crew has been carefully adding white dottedphoto: new hole, rue boulard lines and huge yellow loading zones to it.

These are not painted on - they are elaborately 'scotched' on, like heavy-duty decals. It is a time-consuming business, but I guess the result will last longer than mere paint.

French version of brand-new hole in brand-new road surface.

Now comes the 'normal' part. Exactly eight days after the gutters were rebuilt, some of the sidewalk was patched up, and the asphalt was laid, another city works crew has come along and dug a hole in it.

This hole includes the sidewalk, a solid stone piece of curb, some brand-new gutter and some of the virgin road surface. It looks like somebody forgot to include a thick red-plastic tube that was supposed to be under the gutter.

If eight days is extra speedy for reducing a brand-new resurfaced road to its former lumpy pockmarked state, then the French are hyper-normal. If this is, in fact, an average time period, then the French are merely ordinarily 'normal.'

Hotel Reservations In Paris

Metropole Paris' now has a link to the 'Bookings' Paris hotel reservation service.

I hope this service will be useful to you. I also hope it will provide some revenue for Metropole. All reservations you make through it will earn small commissions for this magazine.

Other commercial newcomers will be handled in the same fashion as this unobtrusive 'Bookings' link, so none of us need worry about annoying banner-ads or any not-quite-ready jittering animations. Metropole has been around too long to start looking extra splashy now.

The Café Metropole Club's 46th Meeting

Last Thursday's club meeting was attended by two long-time, already signed-up members and by three new members. If you skipped Thursday's update, you can read the meeting's 'report' now. If you are busy doing something else, don't bother; unless you are interested in meetings that are a bit unusual.

The former 'Club News' in Monday's edition has been transformed into being a plain blah-blah page now known as 'About the Café Metropole Club.' This contains everything that regular readers and club members already know. New readers can look at the new 'About the Club' page, if they are interested in a certain amount of confusion.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 4.34 - 23. Aug. 1999 - The week's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'The Waiting Game.' The 'Au Bistro' column had no title because no column appeared. This issue had two features, titled 'Gobelins - A Tapestry Factory' and 'A Sunday 'Sense of Silence.' The 'Scene' columnphoto: cemetery water pump was headlined '2000 Too Many.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Sense of Silence' - Again.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.34/35 - 31. August 1998 - This issue was done to cover the second two-week period of my annual holiday in Spain, which I sorely miss these days. The Café Metropole column hinted at even more doziness with the title of: 'Life In the Tame Lane.' There was no 'Au Bistro' column at all. This issue had two features, titled 'The Truth About Spain' and 'One 6000 Km Round Trip.' There were only two new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Siesta's End.' August is almost over again, again..

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

This countdown - has been suspended for the duration of August. If you are reading this, you will cheer this energy-saving move. If you aren't, you won't notice the difference.

For those still with this, there really are only about 132 days left to go until the 3rd Millennium. For really fussy readers, this figure is correct. On account of this section being kind of turned off on account of August, you probably won't care that 234 days have gone since New Year's 2000.
signature, regards, ric

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