'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 sit-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.

Since none of these programs have a new Paris database, all we have are these tired old clunkers. I could type my fingers to the bone sending these up, but why bother? You have probably heard them all before.

What is required is a shift in emphasis - but to what, I don't yet know. Please stay on the lookout for 'Is It 'True' What They Say About Paris?' items, while I look around for a new angle on how to treat them.

For sending in 'finds,' 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?'

No New Metropole Photos for Either of Us

The offer of new Metropole's large-size photos stopped on the spot where it was some weeks ago, with this link to the photos on the last photo / image page, which is way back in issue 6.26.

Due to current nice weather conditions in Paris, I am disinclined to prowl the streets looking for 'great photo opportunities.' Instead I am inclined to sit down on a comfortable café terrace with a breeze and say 'to hell with it.'

I will be the first to let you know when this attitude changes.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Last Thursday featured new members joining at the beginning of the club's meeting and established members wandering in at random about a half hour before it was over. This could have been on account of the day's steamy weather, or plain dizziness.

Even if you are mowing your lawn or watching re-runs of the 1948 Tour de France on your campsite TV, you can stil read this exciting meeting's 'report' while taking a breather from summer's heavy duties.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 2. August 2001. This day will be remarkablephoto: cafe le dome, montparnasse because it will be the first club day in August 2001 on which Saint-Julien's Day will be celebrated in Paris this year.

Once the 'centre of the world,' here is the Vavin intersection's 'true' Sunday in summer outlook.

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

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

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. Or, if all the other hotel booking services are 'sold out,' try this one. Other Metropole readers have.

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This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 5.31 - 31. July 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Roller 'Rando' Resumes' and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'Concorde Disaster Due To Multiple Causes.' This issue had one feature, 'Blue Skies Over Tango - Sunday Reggae at La Villette.' The Café Metropole Club's weekly blurb was 'Still Unanswered 'Why?' Is Boring.' This issue's update for the club meeting on 3. August was, "Watching Rich People Shop In the Place Vendôme." The week's 'Scene' column was titled 'Snoozy August Program.' Therephoto: sign, martyrium st denys, crypte were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'You Can Hitchhike!'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 4.31 - 2. Aug. 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Dog Days To Come?' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled, 'France Is Nearly Full Up.' This issue seemed to have three features, titled, 'The 10 Closest Boulangeries,' 'La Villette - A Multi-Theme Park' and 'The Friday Night Roller 'Rando.' The 'Scene' column was titled, 'I Thought Paris Was Closed In August.' There were also the usual four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the biting caption of 'Pass the Teeth.'

The 'Count-Up/Down' - Version 31.b4

If you can't remember what this was about, then I hardly can be expected to either. However, the server-lady Linda Thalman is alert - probably because of the stimulating wheat field next to the Cadillac Ranch.

Linda has written, "Sunday, 24. Juillet 1701: Fondation, par les Français, de la ville de Detroit."

"Are there any club members from Detroit? "

"We could count up/down from 1701..."

Why bother? The 24th of July 2001 was six or seven days ago, so it makes Detroit's founding by some French dude - name of La Salle or something? Maybe Le Cadillac? - nearly exactly 300 years ago, not counting leap-years.

Not only this, it is absolutely pure coincidence that Tamla-Motown is mentioned on this very same page as well as Voltaire, who was exactly seven years old when Detroit was found. 'Founded,' I mean.

The Count-Down to the Euro

[Huge yawn.] The number of days remaining this year is 154, which is the number of days until the 'euro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01. After this day, the euro will replace most European currencies, becoming the unique currency unit.

If you don't live in a euro-zone country - like Britain - all you need to do is exchange whatever currency you have for continental euros.

If you do live in a euro-zone country, youphoto: sign, rue piet mondrian don't need to do anything except bring lots of your own euros to spend in Paris.

Although Brusselocrats would like you to waste your time now figuring out the euro equivalent of current national currency prices, this is a waste of time.

Unless, of course, you intend to waste a lot of your time after Tuesday, 1. January 2002 trying to figure out what things used to cost in francs, DMs, pesetas, florins, lira and so on - as some sort of futile trivia game.

For those curious about the new European-style cash, you can take a look at the French government's 'Euro' Web site for whatever it has to say about the looming shortage of current currency coins.
signature, regards, ric

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