Poor Excuse for 'Café Life'

photo: harry's new york bar

Harry's New York Bar, at the famous 'Cinq Rue Daunou.'

Fallback On Happy Feet

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 1. October 2001:- Now that autumn or fall is officially here, the weather has settled in to being what it was in late summer - sort of like early winter. To drive the point home, my heating which has been working fine since August, quit over the weekend - which has made going outside attractive.

None of this is unusual or anything to get in a dither over. Wednesday had really significant rain, and Thursday was, more or less, a perfect fall day.

According to TV-weather news, our local forecasters are having some sort of strike, so the long-range forecasts only include tomorrow, and only three temperatures for all of France. They are something like this - 12, 20 and 22.

I think '22' may be for some place in southern Corsica, in a wind shadow, if there are any down there.

If I've said it once I've said it 238 times - the average weather in Paris either resembles early winter or late winter, with short and exceptional periods of spring, summer and fall.

Last week the only seasons not represented were mid-winter and mid-summer, and even this is not exactly true because these seasons are so rare anyway that I'm not sure I should mention them as possibilities.

'Café Life'

Vital Tools

You might not think that a vital tool for putting this magazine about Paris online are highly complex technological marvels normally referred to as shoes, but this is so. Paris requires walking more than it requires a Web-surfboard.

Last Wednesday, after an hour of stuffy administrative mangle, it turned out to be pouring rain very steadily outside in the real world.

As I was sloshing along, trying to avoid the bigger lakes that had assembled on the sidewalks and the mini-waterfalls cascading down from awnings, it occurredphoto: old, new paris shoes to me that the Internet tools on my feet had worn down beyond the markers that say 'replace these shoes immediately - because you will have wet toes soon.'

In my kind of shoe store, the floor looks better than the shoes.

Also, I was in danger of accidently bumping into the shoe police. If they inspected not so very carefully what I was using, I could have received a hefty fine for having out-of-tune, overage footwear, with leaky de-smoggers.

How many kilometres did I have on these things? Were they 1997 or 1998 models? They way they looked, they might have been in the '100 Years' War' or one of those other wars where everybody walked around a lot.

Whatever their age or mileage, they were clearly beyond the point of recall - which hinted to me that the very least I could do was go back to the place where I got them, to get another pair - on the theory that the same brand may still make shoes that will go two years beyond their junk-date.

Tune in to this spot in 2005 to find out the results of this latest shoe-test-walk.

The First Polaroid?

On another 'administrative-mangle' day, one with pretty good weather, I was in the Rue de Miromesnil. This is a tricky street because being able to say it doesn't mean you can spell it, and it cuts through the 8th arrondissement on an angle that you might only take by accident - which is why I was on it.

The Rue de Miromesnil started out in 1776 and by the time it stopped growing in 1862, it had achieved a length of just over a kilometre. It runs from Villiers down to the Elysée Palace, known for the past six years as the 'Maison de Jacques.'

Close to this palace, there are a number of academic-painting galleries - I suppose because thisphoto: camera dubroni, 1860 area is close to the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where they gather for the convenience of possible clients, who want decor of their walls rather than puzzles.

Some of the paintings are not bad to look at for free from the sidewalk, but the shop 'Antique Caméras' caught my attention because it has manufactured antiques in its windows.

The 1860 Dubroni camera was a daylight instamatic-type. It still is.

Inside it turned out to be more like an small but extremely tidy museum than a shop. Its operator, Monsieur Amezal, has put some effort into arranging photographic-related displays, to enliven the several wood and glass display cases, which are sort of antique too.

To give a quick idea of the rarities here, Monsieur Amezal showed me an original boxed 1860-model Dubroni camera. It was conceived for 'operating without a photo-lab, in the open air, in a living room, or on trips.' Monsieur Amezal said it was a forerunner of a Polaroid camera.

Other than a vast array of still cameras, the shop also has a large selection of early movie equipment, from cameras to projectors. Oddities and curiosities are included, both the still and movie categories. Worth a visit, at 8. Rue de Miromesnil, in the 8th arrondissement.

One Plaque More

"I've lived here - oh, how long is it?" Dimitri said, temporarily forgetting how to count much above twenty. "You've got to see this!"

"Right here, across from the Bouquet, two or three doors down from the boulangerie, on Boulard," he went on, in semi-disbelief, "You know these plaques you see all over - the Révolution happened here, Paris liberated there?"

He was almost sputtering with the enormity of it all. "Right across the street, and somebody just showed it to me! After all these years! And I thought I knew everything."

Like Dimitri, I don't know 'everything' either. In Paris, I think it might be impossible.

We are both anxious about Denfert's missing lion. It was taken away for repairs, and its first reinstallation date was 29. July. The most recent date was 23. September. No lion.

Since Friday there has been a constructionphoto: cette plaque, 1953 barrier around the statue's base. Every time I go up to the avenue I look to see if its head is showing. As of today, no lion.

Harry's New York Bar

The first time I was in Harry's was a tiny bit more than 25 years ago. I haven't been back often since then because I ran out of money the first time and was sort of invited to leave.

So it was only yesterday that I found out that Harry's does not serve café - or anything hot - not even hot dogs! - and does not have Orangina either. Whatever orange thing I did have, had ice cubes in it. Harry's likes to make sure nothing has a chance of getting hot.

Other than these petty gripes, Harry's is a great antique of a bar, if you don't mind its hard seats, and don't mind over-cold orange drinks that cost more than vintage Bordeaux.

Admin. Mangle

This week's issue and the last issue are both without a feature article about 'life in Paris' or 'historic impressions' because 'Ed' has been fooling around with some administrative make-work.

The story behind this is not amusing. It could fall into the 'Is It True?' category but doesn't becausephoto: sign, rue lelande I still do not know what the reason for it was, or is, and I have a feeling that I'm not going to find out.

Even if I ever do find out, I think it may only provide material suitable for an Eastern European novel. Some of these have won Nobel Prizes, but this doesn't mean you would want to read them for fun.

'Metropole Paris' is going through a technical mangle at the moment too. I mention this in case you have been having difficulty accessing the magazine, or have noticed that new weekly issues and the weekly club 'reports' are a bit slow to appear online.

Getting this cleared up is taking longer than I anticipated and throwing tantrums will not speed it up. If you are persisting with your attempts to access the magazine, I thank you.

Big Metropole Photos

Metropole's large-size photos, even if they are not new ones, are on show every week - with this link to the last new photos on the most recent photo / image page. This is not to say these photos were 'super,' it is just to say there were two new ones, recently.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Two meetings ago, the unusual 'first' of having no 'City of the Week' despite the large number of members present, was reported. This was rectified by Jerry Bump last Thursday when he nominated Lago Vista, Texas. This was a lucky move because the 15 or 16 members at the meeting didn't have a new 'City of the Week' - except for Jerry's Lago Vista.

You can try to keep up-to-date on these unimportant club subjects by reading this meeting's digest of a 'report,'photo: trees, kiosk, champs elysees which won't tell you much more or less than you already know.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 4. October. This day will be another ordinary day even though it will be a club day also known as Saint Francis of Assisi's Day, in France at least.

What some of the Champs-Elysées looks like - like 'champs.'

Metropole readers and those intending to become club members can learn a tiny bit more about this free club by looking at the 'About the Club' page which explains how to join it, its meeting time and location and so on, and other true facts such as being free.

The Café Metropole Club's Anniversary

I have triple-verified that the club's very first meeting was really held on Thursday, 14. October 1999. This year the 14th is on a Sunday, so I propose that the club's 2nd anniversary be celebrated during the meeting on the Thursday before, on 11. October - on Saint-Firmin's Day.

If new and existing members intend to turn up in numbers higher than 20, please decide what you will want drink now and have your orders ready for whichever of the club's 'Waiters of the Week' has the dubious distinction of serving the Café Metropole Club's 'first' 2nd birthday.

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 5.40 - 2. Oct 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Countdown To Heat On' and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'Tape! Who's Got the Tape?' Note - this is 'Tape' and not 'Tapie.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Paradise On Rubber - Auto Salon 2000.' This issue's update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 5. October became the 'Birthday Party of the Week' report, which wasphoto: postbox, 2nd div blindee supplemented with 'Club News - Your Club Turns Two.' The week's 'Scene' column was titled 'More Cuts Than Additions.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned 'No New Car!'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 4.40 - 4. Oct. 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'In the Rain, In Montparnasse.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline wasn't much better, with 'Paris Wine News & Walnut Time.' This issue had one feature, titled, 'Some Singing In the Rain.' The 'Scene' column was titled, 'Walls, Vikings and Animals.' There were also the usual four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the silly caption of 'Come Home Papa!'

The 'Count-Up/Down' - Version 40

As an exceptional exception to notes here in previous weeks, the 'exception' continues again this week because there is no new 'count-down' news here mainly because there is no current 'count-down' being counted up or down. This 'note' will gain additional exceptions until somebody comes up with a new 'count-down' subject, or until the 'exceptions' fill the whole page, which is bottomless.

The Other Exception

The number of days remaining this year is 91. This means there are only three months remaining until the 'euro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01.

'Euromania' is here. This paragraph is now reduced to this phrase, because this mania is expanding at a rate faster than the Universe. Not even Dr. Albert Einstein could keep up with it.

If you have the courage, learn more about the new European-style money by taking a look at the French government's 'Euro' Web site for whatever it has to say about the arrival of the euro just about exactly little more than three months from now.
signature, regards, ric

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