The Search for High Heels

photo: cafe petit fer a cheval

Cool fall, warm café, in the Marais.

Unmentionable Weather Mention

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 26. November 2001:- Last week I wrote here that it is crummy weather season. It continues this week, with only a few rays of hope for the better on Wednesday - which is so far off that it is kind of unlikely.

This is what 'crummy' means - in Paris temperatures seldom go below freezing and in the coming week are unlikely to go much above 10 degrees, which is about 50 F. The 'crummy' part is the dampness, which comes from the northwest when the northwest is not overly dominated by Arctic weather.

Add a bit of wind to it or a bit of rain, and these above-freezing days are pretty miserable. In Paris this is not actually a bad thing because there are a lot of cafés and restaurants, as well as lots of museums and other inside sights to see.

The leaves that have been hanging on trees for an extra-long period are now starting to seriously fall off, probably on account of boredom. They make little patches of autumn color when lying on sidewalks shiny with rain.

'Café Life'

Late 'Future' and No Shoes

I was just about to photograph one of last week's posters on the street when I noticed its dates were for the weekend just past. It advertised a 'brocante' sale near the Mairie of the 3rd arrondissement. This event was given little notice in the city's own magazine, and I overlooked it until I saw the poster.

My recent 'administrative' chores had dragged into Wednesday, and the only other subject onphoto: brochante, paris 3, fri 23 nov my plate was looking for the truth, for the 'Is It True' feature in this issue. This involved walking around and looking at shoes, so on Friday I decided to look at junk and antiques in the 3rd while looking for high heels too.

At the brocante in the 3rd - what you are looking for is here.

As far as high heels are concerned, I only saw one shop window full of them, at a semi-wholesale place that had wandered a bit east out of its proper district. That was my major photo-op and I passed it up, because I was sure I was going to see some shoes on real feet.

You are probably thinking I've got a really soft job. 'All he has to do is walk around looking for new high-heeled shoes and tatty antiques.'

Well, the further I walked, the more desperate I got. According to what these ladies have written, everybody in Paris is wearing high-heeled shoes or boots, but where are they?

I only barely noticed that the brocante sale spread all over the streets around the Mairie of the 3rd was extra huge, with an extra large variety of old junk and treasures - it went on for blocks, and half of the way around the Carreau du Temple covered market.

This northeast corner of the 3rd is kind of antique itself. This kind of brocante sale is also probablyphoto: web bar, rue picardie an annual affair. I looked and I thought, 'where does this stuff come from?' There were articles from the '50s, probably right out of local caves - and unseen since the '70s.

One of Paris' oldest 'cybercafés' is also a cultural centre.

For I know that next time around there will be just as many stands and they will have just about the same variety. Is there an inexhaustible supply? There may be. You can find out for yourself next year, sometime around the fourth weekend in November.

However I did not allow myself to be distracted by gaudy trinkets, and I kept on looking for those shoes and kept on doing it through the Marais, all the way down the Rue Vieille du Temple until I came out at Rivoli, to see the BHV's fancier than usual Christmas decor.

Paris' Christmas, Winter Sales 2002

All of Paris' 'grands magazins' will be open on the Sundays of 8, 16 and 23. in December for plain Christmas shopping. They are also tying to fit in one more Sunday - possibly the 2. December - but they may be forced to conform to the last three Sundays only, because all other stores in Paris will be open on these Sundays too.

But if you have to skip the pre-Christmas rush, the Winter Sales begin on Wednesday, 9. January 2002 and these will continue until Saturday, 16. February, when regular-price 'Spring Shopping' starts. Try and buy as much as you can as soon as you can so 'Spring Shopping' can start earlier.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

You can catch up with last week's club subjects - which included not one but two astonishing 'firsts' - by reading this meeting's digest of a 'report.'

Before you stop reading now because you are sure you've read this before - there is some more 'new' news too, and it may concern you. See 'Location Alert 49' below.

Meanwhile, the coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, parking metre chandlier November, but not at the café La Corona. See the 'Change -Location Alert 17' below. See it again even if you've read it before 16 times.

Next Thursday will not be just another ordinary Thursday-type day called Saint-Saturnin, not because it is the fifth Thursday in November, but because of the bishop of Toulouse, who was martyred about 250 AD.

If the parking metre won't take euros, expect it to be 'on sale' next.

Metropole readers and those wishing to become club members can learn oodles more about this free club by looking at the 'About the Club' page which explains how to join it, its meeting time and so on, and other true facts such as being free. This page also contains a location map for the club's regular café, La Corona, which is in temporary suspension.

Café Metropole Club Change-Location Alert 17

The coming meeting, on Thursday, 29. November, will be held at Le Café Lodi. Other weekly club meetings will be held at this café on the Thursday of 6. December and are projected for the Thursday, 13. December too.

The club's regular café La Corona may have its renovations completed ahead of time due to a change in its staircase plans. While 6. December may be cutting it fine, expect the club meeting on 13. December to be in La Corona.

Le Café Lodi is located at 24. Quai du Louvre. It is about 60 metres away from La Corona, towards the Pont Neuf, next to the pet shop. See the map on the special club page in a recent issue or take a look the last club 'report' with the changed map, showing the location of Le Café Lodi.

To repeat, La Corona's renovation is now scheduled to be completed earlier than Friday, 14. December. Watch this space for the latest news about the club's next meeting in its 'home' café.

Café Metropole Club Change-Location Alert 49

Right after the club's coming meeting in the Café La Corona on Thursday, 20. December, and after doing this meeting's club 'report,' the club's secretary is going to fly from Paris across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City.

The purpose of this transatlantic flight is to hold the last club meeting of the year in Manhattan on Thursday, 27. December.

All members, from anywhere, are invited to this meeting. And, of course, all readers who havephoto: la corona, rue admiral coligny found coming all the way to Paris to attend meetings in order to become members, inconvenient, are invited to come and sign the members' booklet too.

For distant members, a look at your club's 'home' café last week.

The actual location of the meeting place in Manhattan is unknown. To nail this down, I will be relying on club members and readers to make suggestions for a suitable location, and an appropriate time for the meeting to be held.

The other purpose of this change of venue is to produce a 'Paris In New York' issue of Metropole Paris. All suggestions furthering this purpose will be welcome as well.

If all goes well - I may have to use a PC! - with hidden or no French accent keys! - the New York meeting's 'report' will go online as usual, on the same day in certain selected time zones, mostly to the west of New York City.

The 'Paris In New York' features will appear in Metropole's issue 7.01/02, which is expected to be put online on Monday, 7. January 2002.

This project will be another 'first' for your online magazine about Paris. To make it a major 'first' I am relying on you, both readers of the magazine, and members of the Café Metropole Club. I am looking forward to seeing you in New York City.

Metropole's Affiliates

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This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 5.48 - 27. Nov 2000 - This issue began with, 'Newsflash ñ - 'Ed' Falls On Knee!' This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Ed' Discovers 'Real Life' and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'Tourist Zone - Saint-Germain.' This issue had two features, titled 'A Paris Winter Picnic' and 'Photo Exhibit - Paris' Other 1900.' This issue's update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 30. November was called the 'Pratfall of the Week' Report. The week's 'Scene' column was titled 'A Smidgenphoto: sign, rue volta of Christmas.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, "No Games!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 4.48 - 29. Nov. 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'Your 'Ed' Is an Expatriate.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'This 'News' Could Be Full of Facts.' This issue had two features, titled 'One of the Day's Strikes - Taxi Drivers Act Up' and 'Louis d'Orléans Murdered, 'Fearless' Jean Skips.' The Café Metropole Club introduced an idea for the 'The 'Trivial Paris' Board Game' and then was followed up by the club's 8th 'report,' which came out as 'Fluffenutter' or Not?' There were two 'Scene' columns, titled, 'Blows Up In 1st Week' and 'Christmas '99 and '2000.' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' were featured and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the dumb caption of 'Early Christmas Shopping.'

The 'Count-Down' - Euro-day Minus Six Weeks

There are 35 days remaining in this year. This means there is less and less time remaining until the 'euro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01.

In France, for the remainder of this year you can safely use whatever good money you have, after it has been changed into francs, which may be real ones. If real and new - or extra old - these notes and coins may become collector's items.

Beginning at midnight on Sunday, 17. February, the euro will be the sole currency in circulation inphoto: sign, l'euro, note monnaie, 100 euro note France, and 11 other European countries. This allows for seven weeks for banks to soak up francs and for users to get used to dealing with euros. After all old francs have disappeared, the euro will be all there is, forever.

Our to-be money will be for visitor's use too.

Between the start of the year and 17. February, francs can be exchanged at any bank for euros. The exchange rate is fixed at 6.55957 francs for one euro. After 17. February, old francs can be exchanged for new euros at any branch of the Banque de France.

Also after the beginning of the year, dollars can be exchanged for euros instead of francs. The rate of exchange will depend on the daily 'fixing' in New York. Readers have found that withdrawing cash from ATMs in Paris gives a good exchange rate.

Between now and then, if you have some curious wish to learn more about the new European-style money, take a look at the French government's 'Euro' Web site for whatever it has to say about the arrival of the euro s slightly more than only one month from now.
signature, regards, ric

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