The 'Week of the Photo'

photo: cafe au sans souci

For the 'Mois de la Photo,' I should of had 'Sans Souci.'

Where Is France Télécom?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 6. November 2000:- After a week's pause, with only a few downpours for excitement, the high winds from the southwest are back - starting last night.

This would have made the late Sunday grand return from the week-long 'weekend' of Toussaint miserable for driving - and also canceled yesterday's scheduled start of the solo round-the-world sailing race, the 'Vendée Globe,' which was put back two days and this morning the start was rescheduled for Thursday.

But forecasted gusts of up to 140 kph expected for the coasts and lesser winds of up to 100 kph in interior areas failed to match the ferocity of the storm a week earlier. Britain was hit hard again, and there is a lot of flooding there

Even though forecasts are not spot-on accurate, if you are arriving in Paris today you can probably expect it to be a bit breezy. And cool - remember, it's cool in Paris now.

Café Life

Paris Photo Show - What? Where?

With most of the major fall events in Paris already up and running, the number of press announcements arriving at Metropole's mailbox has dribbled into a trickle, which suits me fine.

But Paris, which is so closely tied to photography's history, seems to be a bit reluctant to be forthcoming with information about its 'Mois de la Photo.' It is so obscure that I think I announced it at this time last year only to belatedly learn that it is a biannual event.

This year it is really happening, but this is unknown to my mailbox. The 'no information' about this event started in Metropole in issue 5.41 on Monday 12. October. Since then I have seen scattered posters for it. At mid-month, the city's magazine 'Paris - Le Journal' came out with one page about the 'Mois de la Photo.'

It contained the dates, three photos and a paragraph of text - all meant to sum up more than 40 various exhibitions - and mention of this year's theme, which is 'Paris.'

Since this event officially started a week ago on Sunday, on Friday I decided I should take a stab atphoto: photo cine j muller finding out about it. A call to the city's cultural affairs press service gave me a robot to talk to.

I figured if I waited for a 'call-back,' I might get the program for the coming edition, in 2002. So I bravely set out to pay my telephone bill, and pass by the shop called Photo/CIné J. Muller in the Rue des Plantes on the way.

Even though I live a block from the Rue Daguerre, there are no photography shops in it. An important photo club is three blocks away, but its posted program for November had no mention at all of the 'Mois de la Photo.'

Monsieur Muller did have a version of the 'Mois de la Photo' program and he made a photocopy of it for me. This good deed has saved the cookies, and you will find this year's program in this issue - which I think is about six months late.

Other than Mr. Muller's shop in the Rue des Plantes, there isn't much apparent photo-material activity in the area. The shop was started by Mr. Muller's father at the 'Puces' at Saint-Ouen in 1946, moved to 14. Rue des Plantes in 1957 and moved again to its present location, at 17. Rue des Plantes, in 1972.

The shop survives because of its specialties. It is the exclusive importer for Praktica products in France. The company's name is Pentacon and it is located in Dresden.

Other brand names in the shop are Olympus and Minox. But because of the length of time the shop has been operating, it has many used models, plus their accessories, parts and pieces.

The original Mr. Muller was also a cinema fan, so the shop features rare projectors for sale, such as the Pathé 'Baby.' For these, the shop has projector lamps made to order - which may make it the only place in the world to get them.

For our times, Mr. Muller showed me a brochure for a new Pentacon digital camera, that has just been introduced at this year's Photokina show. Called the Praktica Scan 2000, the camera is a still-photo model, which accepts Nikon or Schneider Kreuznach lenses.

Due to the image-capturing trilinear CCD, scans are effected in three passes, taking about 90 seconds. The result is large image sizes, from 48 MB up to 386 MB. The through-the-lens camera has no memory and has to be connected of a Mac or PC; ones with very big hard disks. The camera is quite tiny and only weighs 510 grams, without lenses.

While I was in the shop a customer picked up his new - but used - Rolleiflex-type 6x6, with a boxfull of accessories - which in itself is a reason for going all the way to near the bottom of the 14th arrondissement to Monsieur J. Muller's neat little photo shop.

For wheeling and dealing with used photo equipment, there will be a 'Foire de la Photo' on Saturday, 11. November, at Fleury-Merogis. InfoTel.: 01 60 15 21 21.

Metropole's 'Mois de la Photo'

In an average issue there are 16 to 25 new photographs of Paris or of subjects in the city. Often the photos have been taken forphoto: rue des orfevres a specific feature, such as the report about Toussaint in this issue.

Most features only contain five photos, so some issues run with some other photos relating to the feature. I didn't know for certain that I'd get a program for the 'Mois de la Photo' until Friday, which means the photos for it and other photos are just what 'happened.'

Rue des Orfevres, Paris 1.

For this reason there are two photos from Thursday's club meeting, and another 'Fiat 500 of the Week' makes an appearance. These may not add up to Metropole's 'Mois de la Photo,' but they are the best there is this week - more or less like any other week.

Some of this week's photos may be without captions. This does not mean they are named 'Untitled.' As photos that 'happened,' I simply don't know what some of them are.

Where is France Télécom?

When the state telephone and postal service was one outfit, it was possible to pay telephone bills in any post office - which was handy for paying with cash. Since the two services have divorced themselves commercially, there are still lots of post offices, but France Télécom is playing downsizing.

This is not strictly accurate, because the telephone operator has opened hundreds of outlets to peddle portable phones, but you cannot pay telephone bills at these even if you can sign a contract for the portable phone promo of the week.

Just about now, France Télécom is having to cede its monopoly for local calls - so it is opening this area for competitive rates, by fiddling with its line charges - some of which are coming down while others go up.

It is an attempt to make fixed telephone rates as confusing as the total jungle of portable rates. In case you want to argue about this in person, France Télécom is making itself hard to find.

This is why I got myself all the way down to the southwest corner of the 14th arrondissement, only to find the phone company's offices abandoned. Fortunately, they had left a note in the window, giving the address of their new location - up in a southern corner of the 5th arrondissement.

Thus I ended up having an interesting if unanticipated walk on Friday; having come out without any métro tickets. Even with a ticket, it would have taken two changes to get close to their new location - with all the métro tunnels to walk through anyway.

It was a dark and pouring-rain night by the time I got to the eastern end of the Boulevard Port Royal, where I joined a line of other wet bill-payers.

One customer, with a particularly complicated long-distance bill was flitting between two payment windows - saying, "Just ask Madame Florentine!" - leaving only two others for the other half-dozen of us.

On the way back on foot - it would have been a nearly as complicated métro ride - I passed the somber Santé prison on the Boulevard Arago.

A lady in the dim and wet street was having a conversation with one of the inmates, who was in a lighted - and I presume, warm cell - high up, above the Santé's very mediaeval wall. It was a harmless, everyday-type of domestic conversation.

Metropole's Services

The three great firms listed below have chosen Metropole Paris for affiliate association. You - also great - have chosen to read Metropole, so you have something in common.

Affiliation permits Metropole to offer you products and services related to Paris. You benefit, these firms benefit and any modest benefits for Metropole will help it to stay online, or permit me to have an occasional hot lunch.

Health Care In Paris

You probably have planned your trip to Paris long in advance. As unlikely as it is to happen, if you bring a mean 'bug' with you, it doesn't have mean that your holiday will be spoiled.

HighwayToHealth provides access to medical care here almost as easily as at home. A 'city health profile' for Paris has been created by HighwayToHealth, to give you information about local health care, including the ability to make appointments with doctors and for medical services.

For peace of mind, take a look at this before you leave home. See 'HighwayToHealth' for its health care and insurance services for travellers.

French Pétanque In America

The French game of pétanque - or boules - can be played anywhere, almost anytime - by just about everybody. Any handy patch of the earth can be used as a playing field - as you probably know if you've seen the game played around Paris.

Regulation French boules are made out ofphoto: fiat 500 of the week metal. These are available in France, but they are a bit heavy for casually hauling around in your luggage.

'Petanque America' imports France's quality Obut boules and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas.

Petanque America's online shop also has books, containing the short list of simple rules for the game. It also has 'junior' boules for children. While you shop around for the less weighty souvenirs of Paris, let Petanque America to do the heavy hauling for you.

Online Paris Hotel Reservations

Don't wait until you get to Paris to book your hotel, only to learn that 35,000 dentists have arrived - for the World Dental Congress, from Wednesday, 29. November to Saturday, 2. December! Reserve your accommodations now through 'Bookings' Paris hotel reservation service.

Doing this will permit you to preview the hotels available in Paris and enable you to choose your lodgings with a minimum of fuss and bother.

Café Metropole Club's News and Fluff

Last Thursday's club meeting was as unorganized as most other meetings which have had members actually present in the well-known central Paris café now known worldwide as La Corona.

The 'report' of the meeting may be worth reading if you are not easily offended by 'plain talk' concerning sidewalk conditions in Paris. However, glossing these things over does no good, just as talking about them does as little good. Otherwise, read about the meeting with its wealth of Paris lore, and with its brand new flood of new and unusual 'firsts.'

Try to remember that the very next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 9. November, at the usual time and in the usual place. Longer-term planners should make a note for the meeting on Thursday, 16. November because it will be Beaujolais Nouveau Day at the club's café La Corona in Paris.

New readers can also take a look at the fairly recent version of 'About the Club' to find out about the 'usual time and place.' This page also contains other mildly useful and reasonably accurate information about this free club in Paris. If you have not been aware that an online magazine can have a 'real' club in Paris - which is free! - now you do.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

photo: sign, je remasseIssue 4.45 - 8. Nov. 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, without any reason, 'Life Stays On the Rails.' The 'Au Bistro' column's title was 'French Losers Win Big Party.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Real Autumn Tracked Down In Belleville Park.' The Café Metropole Club got into its particular routine of nonsense with 'Membership "Cards" Issued' and the Update was a'Quote of the Week' with Heather saying, "Non-Members." The 'Scene' column was headlined 'Events Become Surreal.' Also included was an email feature, 'Metropole Gets Emails.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Lost the match?' As in, rugby, and not necessarily a remotely funny cartoon.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 3.45 - 9. November 1998 - The week's Café Metropole column was show-business crazy with, 'Excusez-moi, Monsieur Brasseur.' The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined, 'Their Waterloo Could Be Our Fontenoy.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Another Golden October; Another Place, Time' The 'Scene' column was headlined 'Everything But the Louvre.' Following 'Scene' there was also 'Metropole's Pre-Christmas Program - Humbug!' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Not early! Just finishing last year!' Which was not a preview of the following:.

Metropole's Exclusive & Solo Countdown to 31. December 2000:

The week before last, I wrote here, 'The 21st Century begins on Monday, 1. January 2001.' Even if you already know this because you are the 'wiser people' who read this the week before lastphoto: sign, jean moulin and the week before that, what is this 'Who cares?' I'm getting as an echo? A reaction like this is not Metropole- reader-like and Thanksgiving is a whole week after Beaujolais Nouveau Day.

Having our own countdown is ganz grosse klasse! I don't understand this big nothing. You do remember New Year '2000' was just a rehearsal? You don't? Is this the first time you are reading this? To explain, last year's countdown was not the 'Really Big One!' It doesn't feel like the 3rd Millennium yet, does it? Let's hear something, even if it isn't whoopee!

This leaves only about 55 ever-shorter days left to go - or less, if you are counting shopping days until Christmas - or more if you are counting waiting days until January's sales start - until we all arrive in the 3rd Millennium. Even if you were on Mars - or offline! - during the last countdown, you probably won't care that now 311 days have dribbled away since New Year's 2000. The 2nd Millennium, which lasted nearly 1000 years, is now more nearly over than ever. It's nearly history, the whole rotten thing.
signature, regards, ric

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