When In Paris

photo: l->r, neil, edna, bob, priscilla

From left to right - Neil, Edna, Bob and Priscilla
fill up today's group photo.

You are Supposed To Have a Good Time

Paris:- Thursday, 14. June 2001:- For those who have been anxiously waiting for a true weather update from Paris, all I can say is, what is actually happening has no relationship to local forecasts.

This isn't the 'plus or minus' 500 kilometres thing - it is totally wrong weather. However it is working out well for us because all of the predictions for gloomy dark grey clouds with high chances of rain that we've been getting, have been wrong - except for a short, sharp downpour about 19:00 yesterday.

The predictions for temperatures have been widely off too - with balmy highs around 24 or 25, instead of 18 or 19. But these strange predictions persist, with gloom and highs of 19 forecast for the coming weekend. Again.

With this out of the way, I take off my 'weather-hat' and make my way to the club in the Café La Corona much as usual - without an umbrella and without getting any stray gushers of rain sliding down the back my neck inside my collar.

For the first time in several weeks none of the 'Waiters of the Week' tell me 'il y a du monde' waiting for the meeting to start, and they are right because no one is. The tables are more or less linedphoto: club drink, football up, with less or more grains of salt or sugar still on them. Nothing is perfect, especially not at this club.

Club members show up like clockwork at 15:00, slightly before I can write the date in the 'reports' booklet. New member Neil Trembley, from Minneapolis, Minnesota arrives slightly after Priscilla Garcia, and Edna and Bob Bradley. Add all the 'slightlys' together and they aren't more than about three minutes' worth.

One of the club's 'Drinks of the Week.'

I don't give Neil much of the usual blather about the members' booklet formalities, so he tells me he 'collapsed' today after running around Paris for the past three or four days. He says the Place des Vosges is good for collapsing or for 'cooling out,' which reminds him to tell me the winter in Minnesota was more severe or longer this year, or both.

Edna has a 'Question of the Week' and it is this - "Did Bill Clinton, accompanied by 'eight gorillas,' have dinner at the 'Paris' restaurant at the Hôtel Lutétia?"

Apparently Mr. Clinton was in Paris especially to see Andre Agassi lose to France's Sébastien Grosjean in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros eight days ago.

A day earlier the former President of the United States played a round of golf at Reuil-Malmaison before spending the evening with 400 dinner guests who forked over a million francs - according to Le Parisien - to hear his thoughts about the geo-political situation in the Middle East. The following evening Mr. Clinton shared these thoughts with Président Jacques Chirac, in return for a free dinner at the Elysée Palace.

It is possible that he also found time to dine at the Lutétia, but I do not know this for certain.

Priscilla has a question almost as good as the 'Question of the Week.' "Are there clean-air places in Paris?" she wants to know.

When I point out that the club does not hold meetings out on La Corona's terraces unless car drivers go on strike, she says that 'people should sit outside if they are only here for two weeks.'

Everybody thinks about this for about seven seconds, agrees, and then Edna says, "We were thinking of changing our apartment-hotel for the Napoléon III apartment in the Louvre."

This launches a general round of favorite 'Louvre' stories. Some of these involve jumping the drearyphoto: terrace tables, lines of visitors by having a museum-pass and others are about the sheer size of the place, and the advantage of making visits in the evenings.

Some of La Corona's terrace tables and chairs, with a ringside seat on the Quai du Louvre.

'You can get lost in there,' the members agree. The only thing I am sure about is that motion-detectors will lead search parties to people who really get lost in it and can't find their way out before closing time.

"The view from the Pompidou centre is better than its contents," Neil says, adding that he hasn't seen the current exhibition featuring 'Pop Art' along with the '50's and '60's that spawned it. I have heard from other quarters that 'hippiedom' itself was a true form of 'Pop Art,' according to the exhibition.

I guess that because there are so few of us today that the members have a lot of questions. Just because I actually hear these doesn't mean my 'answer' rate is high. I don't know if the Tuileries gardens' closing time is 21:00 for example - thus making the park a lousy shortcut to get to the big wheel at Concorde.

I also don't know how to predict strikes or forecast the weather. I do learn though, from Bob, that one can get Hédiard to roast coffee beans for you while you wait, if you feel like waiting about 30 minutes.

Edna, who uses the TV in her apartment-hotel in order to listen to French, says she sometimes forgets to turn the sound volume down when she turns it off. This means it can be a bit loud when she turns it on in the morning to catch the news and weather.

A neighbor of hers phoned up to complain about the racket, and when Edna tried to explain in Frenchphoto: club drink, champignelles about how she forgot about the volume, the caller told her, "When you are in France you should speak French."

This should be the 'Quote of the Week' even if it is second-hand. Millions of people all over the world make the effort to learn a few handy and everyday phrases in French for their Paris visits. But it is also true that there are a few people in France who never bother learning to listen to it.

This is the 'Drink of the Week' too - only more of it and in a different glass.

The real 'Quote of the Week' is quite a long one, and Neil makes it. "Either you are having a good time, but you don't know it, or you expect to have a good time but don't. In Paris you always know you are having a good time," he says.

Of all of today's truths this is probably the truest. I suppose you would expect me to say this, so I will.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Even if all the expired 'rules' and other so-called 'information' is complete nonsense, you can count on the 'About the Café Metropole Club' page to tell you where to find the club in Paris at least - and the day and time of the meetings.

If you think you know none of this already, it might a good idea to look at this page. Of course, if you are not coming to a club meeting, looking at this page is not totally useless because it contains a virtual replica of the club's membership card.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The next Café Metropole Club meeting will be held on Thursday, 21. June, which is the day - and night! - of the annual Fête de la Musique in France. This is known as Saint-Rudolphe's Day, but also known as 'Eté' or summer. It will not interfere with the club's regular meeting even if you've never experienced either of them in Paris before.

The day after will be just another ordinary Saint-Alban's Day, or Sacré-Coeur Day, depending on which year's calendar I'm looking at. Odd, because both calendars were 'made in France.'

The café La Corona meeting place will be open as it is all the time as well as every Thursday. Yourphoto: terrace, people club's meeting time will again be from 15:00 to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - 'CET' for short and not 'PBOD' - and otherwise known as 3 pm to 5 pm elsewhere.

This terrace photo shows the working principle of the 'ringside seats.'

The club's secretary, also known as 'Ed,' will be making some 'report' notes during the coming meeting but there's no need to pay this much attention because 'Ed' writes many fewer notes than members say words, and none at all if both of the club's two official pens are out of ink.

Have your new 'Quote of the Week' ready or propose your own new 'City of the Week' or even create any other 'Things of the Week,' especially if you want to become partly famous for two years on account of maybe having these things mentioned in a meeting's club 'report' like this one.

Share your choice words with other members - and all readers of this online magazine with the free Paris club for readers who insist on being members - even if it is nearly free except for La Corona's 'l'addition' - and if they are in Paris.

The café's location is:

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

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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Waldo Bini