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 near future.

Now, the first item for 'Is It True?' is my own slipshod research resulting in the reported start-date for this year's 'Soldes d'Eté in Paris. As quite often happens, I have omelette on my face. If it wasn't weeks old and moldy I'd eat it.

Summer Sales In Paris

Last week I wrote here, "An informal poll done three weeks ago had two out of three local shops predicting that this year's 'Soldes d'Eté' will begin on Tuesday, 26. June and they will continue for six weeks."

But last week the eagle-eyed server-lady Linda Thalman said, "Saturday, 30. June is the date." However, as 'eagle-eyed' as she is, she also told me the source was another Web site.

Even so, it might have been true. But, three days later - ever eagle-eyed! - the server-lady wrote again, to say, "TV news says tomorrow, 26 June for Paris. Jeez, nobody seems to know. I guess you have to camp out in front of your favorite shop and wait for the event to happen!"

'Is It True?'

Metropole's Photos for You

The recent beautiful weather current in Paris has encouraged me to resume making my 'tours' and this has increased the chances of accidently capturing the sort of photos I think may be suitable for this, for you.

The offer of Metropole's large-size photos restarts this week with this link to this week's photo / image page.

In theory, each week one or two 'best' photos - or a cartoon - will be shown on this page. The large versions of these images are for sale. If you see another one you like in the issue, ask for it instead.

More details are on the most recent 'Photo' page to appear in Metropole. Check it out. Any suggestions, advice and comments, will be welcome.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Your club's latest meeting on Thursday had few if any odd incidents but did have a 'Quote of the Week' that was too long to remember, other than it seemed to be a recipe. The new thing turned out to be the 'Feet of the Week.' When I think of it, it is amazing this is the first time for feet.

Even if you have anything else to do, you can still read the 'report' about the club's meeting anyway and still get in a short round of mini-golf before dark.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 28. June 2001. This day willphoto: carless rue st antoine be important because it will be the first official day in 2001 on which the double Saints-Pierre-and-Paul Day will be celebrated.

On the sides of the parade route, streets were closed to everything except pedestrians.

Metropole readers and all to-be club members are urged take a look at the current version of 'About the Club,' which is handy for finding out about the club's raison d'être, its meeting time and location and so on, and other lesser facts such as being free - except for your own drinks' tab - which actually only applies if you attend a club meeting in person.

This page also contains expired rules about this club in Paris - and includes its still valid location map - for you, who are either 'Metropole Paris' readers, Café Metropole Club members - or are in Paris for any reason or no particular reason at all.

If you do fall into even one of these categories, but are doubtful about Paris geography, tear the map off your computer screen gently and glue it into your passport - right beside your glued-in membership card.

Metropole's Affiliates

The following product or service providers have chosen Metropole because their offers may be of value to you and I agree with them.

'Bookings' has a reservation service for a wide selection of Paris hotels. Check out their offers and make your choice long before your arrival in France.

'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' as well as travel insurance for potential Paris visitors. If you've signed up for these services before you need them suddenly you will benefit from them. I hope won't be the case but you can never tell.

'Petanque America' imports quality Obut boules from France and will ship them to you anywhere in the Americas - which will save you the effort of carrying them all the way from Paris. Be the first on your block to introduce the game of pétanque - or boules. Nearly everybody can play this game, nearly anywhere.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 5.26 - 26. June 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'What's Normal Anyway?' The 'Au Bistro' column took a week off. This issue had one feature, titled 'A Little Night Music - With Amplification.' The Café Metropole Club's weekly update on 29. June featured nothing because 'Ed' was on holidays, but a club feature was called 'Phone Call of the Week.' The 'Scene' column's title was 'Paris Wakes Up While Parisians Take Off.' There were four new 'Postersphoto: sign, marquise de sevigne born here 1626 as marie de rabutin chantal of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Triple Rouge.' I've forgotten whether this was about roulette or soccer.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 4.26 - 28. June1999 - The week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'How-To Do Bastille Day.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled, 'Music Day in France - Still No Strikes.' This issue had one feature, 'Another Wild-Goose Chase.' The 'Scene' column was titled, 'Under the Sky, Under the Stars.' This was about outside movies at La Villette. There were also the usual four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Enough for Tweetie.' Because Tweetie isn't hard to satisfy.

The 'Count-Up/Down' - Version 26.e

Readers may have forgotten what this is about. On account of having no mega-length writers such as Proust or Joyce in this issue, this count 'up/down' sub-feature remains suspended for another week anyway, by popular request.

Since nobody reads this anyway, I may as well include the RATP's exciting news that a métro ticket's price will rise from eight francs to 8.50 next Sunday on 1. July. The price of a 'carnet' will jump from 58 to 61 francs, which is also 9.30 euros, in case anybody cares.

A monthly Carte Orange ticket willphoto: sign, la roman de la rose become 291 francs for zones 1 and 2, and the weekly ticket will rise by 1.2 to 3.8 percent, which doesn't quite tell us the new street price, but might amuse 'percent' fans.

As a reminder though - the 'euro' currency introduction day will be on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01 and not two minutes before - so you can forget about buying a Carte Orange with euros for another six months.

The number of days remaining this year is 189. This means you still have about 218 days left before you should trade in your steamer trunks full of crumbling old FF's for a lesser-sized handbag's worth of brand-new colorful 'euros.'

For those uncomfortable with nearly everything in kilos, continental-style European or plain newfangled, you should look at the French government's 'Euro' Web site for crystal clear and succinct information.

Almost everything for sale here already carries 'euro' and franc amounts on the price stickers. You may ignore the 'euro' amount and simply pay in francs until the end of this year. After then, the prices go up while numbers come down, except the RATP says it will round its fares 'down' instead of up.
signature, regards, ric

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