33.7º C In Town

photo: cafe le petit duc, grands boulevards

A mid-town café on the 'Grands Boulevards' takes on
a look of the country with the weather.

'Café Life' Droops

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 27. August 2001:- Breaking with a long tradition of a least a week, I feel that Paris' weather is worth mentioning as this week's first item. Referring to Saturday, the respectable Paris daily 'Le Parisien' called it an 'Afternoon of Hell.'

The temperature in the shade was officially recorded as 33.7º C - about 99 or 100º F - which made it the hottest 25. August on record. This unmatched the 37 C set on 4. August 1990, or the 40.4 C set on 28. July 1947.

I will say the humidity was not overwhelming, but the air did feel a bit like warm soup, sometimes movedphoto: guimard metro entry chatelet about listlessly by small breezes. This followed a very warm Friday and a generally warm week.

Coming back to reality, with August's yoyoing ups and downs, its average temperature has only managed to be one degree above 'normal for this time of year.'

Châtelet at midday last Wednsday.

For various reasons some readers consult past issues of Metropole and this 'Café' column. If you are reading this five years from now to find out about Paris' weather in August, just remember it is always 'about normal for this time of year,' plus or minus a couple of degrees.

Forecast for the week to come - highs of about 25 degrees with a mixture of sunny and cloudy periods. The promised summer storms seemed to have receded from the horizon.

'Café Life'

What Was It?

For one reason or another, I probably passed more time in cafés last week than I average in a month, but I remember very little about it in the way that usually turns up here.

Last Monday I was in the Bouquet and everybody came in, including visitors met just the evening before, plus some more that hadn't been. This happened just as I finished my 'editorial-end-sprint' café and had to return here to think of whatever it was I wrote last week.

Then, on my Tuesday 'weekend,' nobody bothered coming to that café. That was okay because the day's 'Café Life' had started at 13:00 and adjourned to the park in front of the Mairie for a conversation lasting a couple of hours.

On Wednesday, I 'assisted' Dimitri in getting a tent and after the visit to Les Halles' underground shopping centre, we had to refresh ourselves in a quiet café I pass nearly every week on the way to the club meetings.

Thursday's club meeting required me to be in the club's café, and that whiled away a couple of hours - but that has already been reported.

After a partial day of avoiding Paris' heat on Friday - no, this is not right. I started out looking for 'events' near Saint-Lazare, wandered past Haussmann's 'grands magazins' and kept on going east on the 'Grands Boulevards' to Sébasto.

It appeared, as I recall, to be warm, calm and quiet - all the way, until it got a bit lively around the Porte Saint-Denis. Traffic was light so the noise level was lower than usual, but the real oddity was the lack of masses of people.

The métro ride back from Sébasto was accompanied by its accumulated heat, so I was glad to reach my naturally semi-air conditioned apartment. After a cool siesta, Friday evening 'Café Life' consisted of me and my café - solo in other words.

Then, on Saturday evening, Tuesday's conversation resumed in the nearby café Rendez-Vous. After a couple of hours this was interrupted by sleep, only to pick up again early on Sunday morning - for the purpose of borrowing a book titled 'Paris - true tales of life on the road,' one in a series of the 'Traveler's Tales Guides.'

The 'band of three' I met for this occasion were heading for the flea market - one of them, any one, somewhere - and I intended to wander around, searching through a week's poor selection of available posters.

The most memorable thing said, was Dennis describing a plant he has in his minuscule balcony garden. "A Stalinist sunflower," he called it - big, and grown from original 'Believe It Or Not' seeds.

Last week's 'Café Life' was more ho-hum than 'Believe It Or Not.' So ho-hum in fact that I had no desire to read the papers. No 'Au Bistro' column this week is the result.

Second Hit

For those who may be worried about the safety of Metropole's only camera, I have disturbing news. It took its fall last November on the Quai du Louvre without a hiccup and has been working steadily in its sometimes whimsical way.

On Wednesday it got its second whack when it was hit by a passing car in a narrow street. I was on the half-metrephoto: bistro saturday night wide sidewalk when the small rental van's right outside mirror hit the camera's bag - and the watch on my arm that was guarding the bag - with a slap-shot and kept on going.

Sooner or later, sleepy-time for cafés arrives.

Both the camera and the watch seem to be working okay, but as the camera can be a bit whimsical it is hard to tell whether it is malfunctioning or simply doesn't care for the subjects I request it to photograph.

Over and above this - the camera's next hit will be its third - it is also a warning to take more care in Paris' narrow streets. Paris drivers are used to slipping through tight situations but they can forget that most cars and trucks have rear-view mirrors that stand out like ping-pong paddles.

No New Metropole Photos

The offer of new Metropole's large-size photos resumed in last week's issue, with this link to the photos on the photo / image page. Since the most recent photos were not even close to masterpieces, there are no new big ones in this issue.

The day of Wednesday, 15. August had wonderful weather and it was the last day of the Voie Express beside the Seine being closed to traffic. Parisians and visitors used the day wisely, and in great numbers

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Last Thursday's meeting had its unusual 'firsts,' not including the two dogs who did not become members because they aren't people. They are not even allowed to ride the métro unless they are carried in a basket by blind people, and if they are, they still require half-price tickets.

To bring yourself up-to-date on the importantphoto: rue de la lune subject of ever newer and stranger 'firsts,' you can still read this meeting's medium-length 'report' before the end of summer. There's time, if you are quick.

Only for romantics - the Rue de la Lune - near the Porte Saint-Denis.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 30. August. This day will be truly unusual because it will be the only club day this year on which Saint-Fiacre Day will be celebrated in Paris in August 2001.

Metropole readers and potentially new club members can find out more about this free club by viewing '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 other true facts such as it being free.

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.

'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 'Things Happen.'

'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, nearly anytime.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 5.35 - 28. Aug 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Whoopee! It's 'Rentrée' Time' and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'Sky-High Fuel Prices.' This issue had one feature, titled 'The Day Before the Dog-Days In the Luxembourg.' This issue's club update for the meeting on 31. August became the 'Fifth Visit - Going On Sixth' Report. The week's 'Scene' column was titled 'More September Futures.' There werephoto: sign, rue notre dame de bonne nouvelle only two new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'Watch the Paint!'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 4.35 - 30. Aug. 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'The Movers.' The 'Au Bistro' column title was 'Yo-Yo Tax Week.' This issue had two features, titled, 'On the Rue de Mouffetard' and 'Paris, Nevada.' The 'Scene' column was titled, 'The Beginning of Fall 1999.' There were also the usual four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the not-so-usual caption of 'Guys in Skirts.'

The 'Count-Up/Down' - Doomsday Version 35

While the streets of Paris seem quieter than usual, except for software viruses, my email InBox is not overflowing with new ideas for count-ups or downs.

Just as I am having difficulty even remembering one week's worth of 'Café Life,' I amphoto: citron presse having no better luck with this wildly popular weekly feature. If you are sleeping I can't say I blame you either.

So then, in this 35th week of the year 2001, it looks like Metropole's incredibly popular and long-standing feature of 'count-ups' or count-downs' to various dates in the past, present or future, has dropped dead. It looks like there is nothing left to do but bury it.

Next week on this channel and in this time slot - the 'Count-Down's Funeral.'

The Euro's Boring Count-Down

The number of days remaining this year is 126. How time flies! This is the number of days until the 'euro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01. On this day, the euro will replace nearly all European currencies, to become the continent's unique currency.

Warning - some gas stations in France are now displaying fuel prices in 'euros' only. I have no idea what consumer groups may think of this because the currency is still fictive - but when paying for gas, it all gets straightened out at the cash register.

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

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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