Say 'Hello' To Summer

photo: cafe la tartine, rue de rivoli

While you are at it, say 'hello' to a nice wine café too.

"Hello Summer!"

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 25. June 2001:- As I write this, in the mid-afternoon, the sky is blue, there is nearly no wind, and the temperature reading has probably gone over 30 degrees. I went out for an café an hour ago and I can honestly say that it seemed to be warm outside.

Actually it is a bit better than merely 'warm.' It would be perfect for a seaside resort. If I wasn't writing this I could probably see a lot of people around Paris trying to pretend it is one - along the Seine's banks, by the canals, on terraces and in the hundreds of parks. It's taken its time, but it's here!

Going over 30 C is predicted, as is a summer storm for Wednesday - now probably moved forward to tomorrow - and this should be followed by more clear skies, with temperatures in the 25 to 30 range.

All in all, this is a very decent start to summer. For it, my thanks are offered to the hard-working folks on all of the TV-weather news shows and their colleagues at France-Météo who have made it all possible.

I take off my sleeves to you!

Café Life

Fête de la Musique

The program for Thursday's 'Fête de la Musique' appeared in Thursday morning's press, along with a definitelyphoto: shadows, rue daguerre sunny day for the annual affair. Where to take it in was discussed in the café a couple of days in advance, but in the end I decided to stay in the neighborhood.

When I got to the Bouquet chairs and tables were being pushed aside to make room for dancing. Until the accordionist got going, the three or four guitarists on the terrace of the Café d'Enfer in the Rue Daguerre provided a loud rock ambiance to the whole corner.

In the Rue Daguerre, the setting sun puts on its 'longest day' show of shadows.

The city had blocked off the Place Denfert-Rochereau and a regular rock-concert type bandstand was set up there. This was duplicated at various other important places around town - probably very much to the annoyance of motorists who hadn't read the program.

Really big shows were put on in the really big places - in front of the Assembly Nationale, at the Place de la Hôtel de Ville with 60,000 watts of Techno, at the Invalides, at the Necker hospital for children, at République and at the Tour Eiffel - which was boogied by a military band.

The Pont de la Concorde held 15,000, another 7-10,000 were at the city hall, and 20,000 showed up at République to hear Yannick Noah doing credible reggae for 90 minutes, followed by the Scorpions from Germany, with their acoustic guitars.

Because of the weather whole families were on the streets. They either gathered at the bigger spaces in the larger places, or ambled around their neighborhoods, where many cafés, bars and restaurants featured live music.

Note - Jazz à Montmartre began last Friday, and continues until next Saturday. Except for the concert by Didier Lockwood, all the rest of the music is free. Where? All over Montmartre. InfoTel.: 01 42 54 45 21.

Phenomena In the Rue Daguerre

Dimitri told me about this, probably last year. Probably last year, the sky was overcast. Just before the sun sets, on the longest days and shortest nights of the year, it lines straight up with the Rue Daguerre, splashing it with gold and half-block-long shadows.

Not one to trust the weather, I went out a day early on Wednesday, but made the mistake ofphoto: gaypride music float, bastille going after the sun had set. But on the evening of Thursday, 21. June, I was there for the Fête de la Musique too.

One of the floats in the Gay Pride parade glides past the Opéra at Bastille.

Sitting in the Bouquet around 19:30, Dimitri said I should check it out. But it was too early, so I drifted over to the Place Denfert-Rochereau to see how the young lions of very loud rock and roll were doing.

After a tour, after waiting in vain for the effect, I would go back to the café. No sooner would I be off my feet when Dimitri would urge me to 'not miss it.'

In the end I didn't, but I forgot to note the time. It was like a particularly good sunset over the Pacific, except it was funnelled into one narrow street in Paris, like a spotlight of white-gold.

The Gay Pride Parade

The Fête de la Musique on Thursday set the stage for Saturday's Gay Pride parade and techno-boogie from the Porte Dorée to the Place de la République on Saturday afternoon.

I miscalculated the time and arrived at Bastille when the head of the parade had already reached République. A sea of people was all I could see by looking up the Boulevard Beaumarchais. This was totally unlike last year's thin crowd in dim weather.

The Place de la Bastille was about half-full, on the side where the parade passed through it, but Beaumarchais was packed solid. Estimates put the paraders at a quarter million and the spectators at another quarter million, which outnumbered the 1997 edition.

Paris' new mayor Bertrand Delanoë and the Communist Party chief Robert Hue were in front, along with Vincent Peillon, the Socialist Party's spokesman and 'Les Verts' presidential candidate, Alain Lipietz.

Président François Mitterrand promised to depenalize homosexuality in Francephoto: parade, view towards republique after a demonstration by 10,000 in 1981, and this was done a year later. The first Gay Pride parade took place in June 1982, which drew only 5000.

From Bastille to République, maybe 100,000 Gay Pride paraders and spectators.

While members of leftist parties were much in evidence, members of other parties were few. In any case, behind the suits, there were the leathers, the plumes and the whole mode show with its amplifiers and huge speakers booming away from the flatdecks.

The parade probably ground to a halt at République about 18:00. It was followed, as is the custom in Paris, by a long 'after' which likely lasted until dawn, if it didn't continue all day Sunday.

All the streets around the parade route were closed and this probably caused a day of chaos for drivers in east Paris. All the same, as I came away from Bastille it was really pleasant to walk down the middle of the Rue Saint-Antoine, nearly all the way to the métro at Saint-Paul.

Is It True What They Say About Paris?

I have heard a rumor that there is a surprisingly active industry busily producing misinformation about Paris. This has been brought to my attention by eagle-eyed readers, who have taken a certain delight in sending me incredible stories - because they know better and they think I'll enjoy the nonsense.

Instead of cutting down the nonsense, I want you to send me all of the dubious stories and plain misinformation you come across. Under a heading of 'Is It True?' I will put this into a question-and-answer format, and if there are enough submissions a whole page will be regularly devoted to it.

As with the occasional Email features, you will be given credit for your eagle-eyes. The only 'fact' I will require is the name of the source, if you have it. If you don't have one, then the item will go into a subsection with the title of 'Is It a True Rumor?'

You have more eyes that I do, and yours are more eagle-like. Sharpen them up and send in your treasures for 'Is It True?' today, or in the reasonably nearfuture.

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