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 o 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.


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