...Continued from page 1

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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