'Hot' Weather Looms!

photo: cafe le tamla, bd voltaire

Typical east Paris funky café with a difference - it
has no stress massages.

Metropole Gives You a Week Back On

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 30. July 2001:- The last weather 'report' here was an apt description for the months of November or March, and if you decided to take your visit in Ibiza instead of Paris, I can't say I blame you.

But all of this nonsense changed last Wednesday. The thermometre climbed five degrees and the sun made an appearance, but the air was somewhat muggy. The temperature took another hike on Thursday, and this finished off with a proper tropical storm about 20:00.

Friday saw another rise in heat, and this climaxed off with another proper tropical storm about 20:00. Two in a row caused a prediction for one on Saturday, but the weather sneakily confounded the experts and it just didn't happen.

As of yesterday, the forecast is for blazing heat in Paris and torrid heat elsewhere in France - until next Wednesday at least.

Paris is expected to have temperatures in the area of 32 degrees - about 90 F - and some spots in France may see the mercury going over 40 degrees - or 110 F, if you are not metrically-minded.

Tropical storm activity is not predicted except for some localized areas near mountains, none of which include Montmartre, Belleville, Montparnasse or Montsouris, in Paris.

Do not throw away your umbrellas. These can be transformed into parasols in the wink of anphoto: water jets, balloon, parc andre citroen eye, by merely opening them up as if it were raining. If you are planning any serious walking tours, be sure to carry water or enough cash to get some at any of Paris' thousands of café terraces.

The water jets at the Parc André Citroën - plus the balloon for getting high.

In many city parks sitting or lying on the grass is now permitted. With July's aquatic beginning, much of the grass is very lush and green - 'for this time of year' - and shade from trees is abundant.

The TV-weather news joker said tonight that temperatures are now about 'seven degrees above normal' for this time of year. People in Paris who did not spend their weekend cooking in cars in traffic jams - 600 kilometres worth! - on the way south 'to the sun,' do not seem to be complaining too bitterly.

'Café Life'

Through a route too devious to explain in detail, a German travel magazine named 'Abenteuer und Reisen' requested one photo of a café customer getting a massage in a Paris café, and sent along the names of three establishments where this is supposed to be possible.

Last Wednesday I decided to make a surprise visit to the 'No Stress Café,' mainly because it was featured in Le Parisien's Tuesday edition, so I was pretty sure it would be really real.

The 'No Stress Café' is located in the Rue Balard in the 15th arrondissement, near the métro Javel station, which is about the Paris equivalent of nowhere.

Sure enough, it was 'really real' but a sign on the door said it would be closed until Friday, 17. August - for the purposes of having a de-stressful holiday. Since I was in the area anyhow, I took the opportunity to visit the Parc André Citroën.

For the first time since it was launched in 1999, I actually got to see the tethered balloon there making its flights. Compared to the Tour Eiffel's elevators, the balloon ride is very quiet. Unlike the Tour Eiffel, you don't get to stay up high as long as you want.

Between the park's two big greenhouses there is a layout of water jets that perform random sprinkling. A small green sign says that this nifty park attraction is not for actual physical amusement, but none of the dozens of kids and handful of adults capering around in the water jets seemed to have read it.

In principle, the Balard métro station is closest to the park, but the walk from the Javel stationphoto: no stress cafe, closed seemed shorter to me. On my way back this way, a lady accosted me on the street to ask where she might find 'Canal+.'

Being shut for holidays is the ultimate in no stress at the No Stress Café - which also offers three sizes of oxygen when it's open.

Since I had just passed the TV-cable operator's headquarters, I was able to be helpful - and it provided the reason for the 'No Stress Café's' location. If anybody needs 'no stress' it must be the folks at Canal+.

But no photo of any massage did I get. Back at the office I got on the phone. The second place seemed doubtful about whether its massage services were really real, but the third place on the list was very certain about their's.

Café Expo Restaurant Le Tamla

It is described by 'Le Guide du Routard' as sort of a 50 percent Motown, 50 percent 'Nova' music dive, with decor by Mr. Kitsch degenerating into 'destroy' and finally becoming, at the end of a long hallway, 'underground.' To my keen eye, the Tamla was merely funky.

I got to it after Thursday's club meeting, through a surface climate similar to a bad day in Vera Cruz in the hurricane season. The 'Simon' I'd talked to on the phone wasn't there, but by miracle had left word of my intentions.

The massage area was at the end of the long hallway, in the space known as 'underground.' As further good luck would have it, masseuse Anouk Tessereau agreed to be photographed, as did her customer, Michel, who looked like he was ready to turn into a burnt-out puddle on the floor.

Once the door had been closed on the 'Motown' sound, the 'massage indien de tradition ayurvédique' proceeded very quietly for its 15 minutes, and my east Paris jitters calmed down simply by witnessing it.

The other type of massage, the 'mise en forme énergetisation,' is done by Bertrand Lisbonis. Both versions are conducted for a minimum of 15 minutes, but if you are really jangled you should consider a whole hour session. The short sessions cost 50 francs - and customer Michel said he felt a lot better after his. I did too.

Bertrand told me these types or massages are fairly common in Europe outside France, but it has been a struggle to convince the authorities here that they are beneficial, and should be legal even if they are dispensed in cafés.

The massages are available on Wednesday and Thursday, from 18:00 to 21:00, and on Saturday from 18:00 to 20:00. At the Café Le Tamla, 44. Boulevard Voltaire, Paris 11. Métro: Oberkampf. InfoTel.: 01 43 38 61 05. The café is open until 02:00 except on Sundays when it closes at 23:30.

Afterwards, I reached Denfert at 20:00, to come out of the métro into a tropical downpour, which turned streets into rivers and sidewalks into lakes, but did not freshen up the air at all.

Is It 'True' What They Say About Paris?

The oddest aspect of the international 'Truth About Paris' production is that it seems to have been concocted as much as 50 and no less than 15 years ago. How it is possible that the same old clichés are suitable for endless redistribution?

Remember how it goes - 'Have you heard the one about...?' And then, in the old days, whoever asked it would tellphoto: massage, tamla, a tessereau, m thirbault you a joke you had never heard before. Somewhere in the world, I believed, there was a joke factory, madly cranking out new ones weekly or daily or even by the minute.

As far as I know, the 'joke factory' is no longer in operation. It has been replaced by writers of TV st-coms, who merely copy out stale jokes generated at random by some lame software program.

Of course it is 'true' - you can get a massage in the Le Tamla café's 'underground' back room.
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