Under the Weather Week

photo: bar du marche, rue de buci

Buci's Bar du Marché is never short of custom.

Do Not Miss 'Historic' Double Club Meeting

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 10. December 2001:- We have been and will be having clear and cold skies in Paris, and this is predicted to go on for most of the coming week. It is very refreshing out on the streets, especially for those who don't believe we have any serious weather here.

I am one of these, but I believe this cold weather is cold. It is not cold like having 20 below in Hamburg with gentle breezes slamming into the city after a non-stop run across the Baltic, from the place that makes the mothers of all winters.

It is not cold like being in Mittel-europa somewhere near the Alps, and working outside all day, starting at six in the morning. No, it is not cold like that in Paris.

It is 'fresh' and if you are outside you cannot be any more than about 50 metres from the nearest café or entrance to a métro at any time. Dimitri claims the métro is actually heated, but I know it is warm because it is a long way underground, near the middle of the earth somewhere.

By now you are probably a bit worried about the cold here. This is all relative. If I tell you I start to feel chills whenever the temperature drops below 25 above, then you will understand why I think zero to five above is pretty darn cold.

Most normal people - and I think most people are pretty normal - will find temperaturesphoto: entry to louvre just above freezing to be no hardship at all. My hat is off to you if this is how you take this kind of weather, but frankly, I would just as soon keep my hat on.

Which means my advice for today is, keep your hat on. If you have gloves, keep them on too. If you don't have a scarf, you should have.

Why, even the Président of the République, wears an overcoat and a scarf these days. His Prime Minister does not, usually, and I worry about him sometimes.

He was on TV last week, saying he is running the country rather than running for the president's job. He was a bit coy about when it would be time for him to switch jobs and start being a candidate for president.

All sorts of semi-unemployed politicians are openly 'running for the president's job,' but this is because they think voters love long election campaigns. To hear some of them talk, everything is an election campaign. With the chances they've got, they haven't got much to lose.

But this doesn't have anything to do with the weather. Except that if you wear an overcoat and a scarf when it gets a bit chilly and you worry that fresh-air fiends might think you are a sissy, just remember that the president wears an overcoat and a scarf too.

'Café Life'

Under the Weather

Cool weather might not give you a drippy nose, but getting excited about holding a Cafe Metropole Club meeting in New York can. I don't remember what the last reason for my nose being drippy was, because it must have been in 1995 or before.

But here it is. I had to go out and buy an expensive box of nose-wipes from a pharmacy on Sunday. Just remembering this has stopped my train of thought.

This is what has stopped all my good plans for an exceptionally rich and varied versionphoto: de tomaso longchamp of the week of 'Café Life' too. I have gotten into the habit of throwing scrap paper on the floor and every time I go out - even to buy a box of nose-wipes - I pick up one of these scraps and put it in my pocket.

This rare De Tomaso Longchamp is this week's 'Italian Car of the Week' instead of a Fiat 500.

With these handy, I can note down the slightest interesting or unusual thing that I happen to stumble upon, or stumbles on me. I even think having these paper scraps causes some of this to happen.

In theory then, when I am writing this column I shouldn't even have to think. All I need to do is pick up any of these scraps of paper that are lying in a pile - getting fairly high too - right in front of the keyboard.

But right now there's this nose problem. I can't think around it.

Bridge Art

The Pont des Arts is the best place or square in Paris. I say this because it is almost impossible to cross this bridge without something unusual happening, something different - even if it is only an exceptionally nice time of weather.

On Friday I was minding my own business, except for being in an exceptionally nice time of weatherphoto: marc ahr, pont des arts on the bridge, when I happening to be near an artist-type who was packing up for the day.

Marc Ahr holds up one of his wide drawings before packing it away - for his return to Cannes where it is warmer than here.

This was a bit complicated because all of his works were about one metre long. This was because they were lithos of wide-angle drawings - of the bridge, and of the river sides - from the Ile Saint-Louis to the Pont Alexandre III, for example. This is a lot of riverside to put in one drawing.

So I looked a bit, and the drawings got unpacked a bit, and this is how I got Marc Ahr to stand on the bridge and hold one of them up for a photo.

The photo shows the weather being exceptionally nice, the artist and the bridge railing and some Paris background stuff behind, but does not show the drawing too well.

This is a shame, but the drawings are more suitable for putting on walls than they are for merely being small parts of photographs taken on the Pont des Arts.

I intended to write more about this, and running into club member Jerry Bump afterwards, and having a café in the Palette, and going into a place on the Rue de Seine that has original posters, but my nose is in the way again.

Paris' Christmas, Winter Sales 2002

All of Paris' 'grands magazins' will be open on the Sundays of 16 and 23. in December for plain Christmas shopping. Many other stores in Paris will be open on these Sundays too.

If you choose to skip the pre-Christmas rush, the Winter Sales begin on Wednesday, 9. January and these will continue until Saturday, 16. February, when regular-price 'Spring Shopping' begins.

Try and buy as much as you can as soon as you can so 'Spring Shopping' can start earlier. The sooner these can be gotten out the way, the sooner the 'Summer Sales' can start.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Readers should catch up with last week's club subjects by reading the meeting's report concerning Prague becoming the club's 'City of the Week.'

Before you decide to stop reading now because you think you've read this before, I assure you that Prague has never been the 'City of the Week' before - and is not likely to be again.

While you think it over, the coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 13. December - because it is a Thursday again - but it will not be at the café La Corona.

The meeting will be held at Le Café Lodi. The following meeting on Thursday, 20. December is likely to be held at La Corona. Its renovations are expected to be complete.

The coming Thursday will be just another fairly ordinary Thursday-type day called Sainte-Lucie, and not just because it is the third-from last Thursday in December or in 2001.

Metropole readers and those wishing to become club members can learn all about this free club by looking carefully at the 'About the Club' page. It 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.

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.

Details for the Coming New York Meeting

After the club's Thursday, 20. December meeting in the Café La Corona, 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 club meeting on the following Thursday, 27. December, will be held at the Rue des Crêpes café in New York City. This club meeting begins at 5 pm, or 17:00. Here is the exact address:

Rue des Crêpes, 104 - 8th Avenue, Manhattan, New York City 10011. This location is between 15th and 16th Streets on the east side of 8th Avenue. InfoTel.: 212 242 99 00.

New York's public transport system is not quite so simple as Paris' métro, so read the following carefully. If you can't memorize it, clip it out for further study and keep it as a handy reference or souvenir.

There are three access possibilities. First with the 'E' train - to the 14th Street station, at 14th Street and 8th Avenue, with another exit at the corner of 8th Avenue and 16th. With the 'F' train - at its 14th Street station, at 14th Street and 6th Avenue, with another exit at the corner of 6th Avenue and 16th Street, with a two-block walk west to 8th Avenue. Finally there's the No 1 train - at its 18th Street station, at 18th Street and 7th Avenue. This will involve a one block walk west to 8th Avenue and then over to 15th Street. Whew!

The Club Meeting in Paris On 27. December

The server-lady, Linda Thalman, has graciously agreed to host this meeting, so it will be held at thephoto: linda thalman, server lady regular time in the café La Corona.

This will mean that your Café Metropole Club will be having meetings in both Paris and New York on the same day. Since Paris will be at least six hours ahead, Linda will forward the names of members for inclusion in the meeting 'report' to be done and put online in New York.

New members get this preview of Linda before she gets a peek at you. Neither should accept substitutes.

The only remaining problem will be figuring out the meetings' numbers and other arcane details. New member numbers from the Paris meeting will take precedence over new member numbers issued at the New York meeting. This isn't a 'rule' - it has to do with time zones over which the club's secretary has no control.

Do not miss this historic chance to become a 'real' member of the Café Metropole Club during its first transatlantic dual meeting. While you are at it, don't forget to tell all your friends about this exclusive 'first' to be provided by the 'virtual' online magazine 'Metropole Paris.'

Metropole's Affiliates

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This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 5.50 - 11. Dec 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'Global Warming' Rant.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Walking Like a Penguin,' which 'Ed' was doing with his leg in a cast. The issue's update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 7. December cited "Mostly To Eat!" as the 'Quote of the Week' in its report. The week's first 'Scene' column was titled 'Last Newphoto: champange corks, lids, wires Stuff of the Year' and the second column featured 'Paris Christmas Season.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' as usual, but no 'Cartoon of the Week.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 4.50 - 13. December 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'Markets and Big Wheels.' The 'Au Bistro' column posed a question, 'What's In a Name of the Century?' This issue had two features, titled 'Feasts of the Century' and Don Smith contributed 'José 'Good Food' Bové In the USA.' The Café Metropole Club introduced an odd food idea with 'Glasgow's 'Mars Bars' Problem.' This was followed by the club's 10th 'report,' which featured the quote, "I Have To Eat" Says Food Guide Writer.' There were two 'Scene' columns, titled, 'The Ile-de-France' and 'Christmas '99 and '2000.' Four new 'Posters of the Week' were featured and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the cheeky caption of 'Art - It's A Snap!'

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

There are only 21 days remaining in this year. This means there is nearly no time remaining until the 'euro 3 signuro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01.

In France, for the remainder of this year you can use whatever good money you have, after it has been changed into francs, which may be real ones. When purchasing anything, demand that your change be made in francs and not in euros. The new money is not in circulation yet.

After midnight on Sunday, 17. February, the euro will be the sole currency in circulation in France, andscan: euro money 11 other European countries. This allows for seven weeks for banks to soak up francs. For users to get used to dealing with euros, it will take a bit more time, but there will be plenty of it.

A handful of euros - note gates, bridges and big numbers, plus notes of different sizes.

After all old francs have disappeared, the euro will be all there is, forever. For you and for people living here, it will be like we are all visiting a familiar country with foreign money.

Between the start of the year and 17. February, money in francs can be exchanged at any bank for euros. The exchange rate is fixed at 6.55957 francs for one 1euro 3 sign. After 17. February, old francs can be exchanged for new euros at any branch of the Banque de France.

As soon as 2002 begins, dollars and other non-euro-zone currencies can be exchanged for euros instead of francs. The rate of exchange will depend on the daily 'fixing' in New York. Users have found that withdrawing cash from ATMs gives a good exchange rate.

Between now and then, if you 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 slightly less than nearly no time from now.
signature, regards, ric

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