Wonderful Weather Is Not Here

photo: cafe l'ambassade

Beat the glooms in any handy café.

Everything Else Is

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 14. January 2002:- If you are a fine weather fan I do not want to spoil your week because you may have wonderful weather where you are, unless you are in or intend to be in Paris.

If you are in Paris or intend to be, fine weather is not something that should be extraordinarily high on your 'wish-list.' In January we have the middle of winter here in these regions. This means it will be grey with low clouds and it will feel damp even if it is not exceptionally cold.

This is partly the reason for having the winter sales now. All shops have to be open no matter what the weather is like and so long as they are open, they may as well be selling stuff.

But if shopping is not your favorite activity, there are plenty of other warm and dry places to pass the days here, and some of them are in cafés.

If cafés are not places where you would care to spend a day, there are also dozens of museums, galeries, libraries and other culturally-uplifting places that are also well-lit and heated.

If none of the above appeals to you, there are some theatres and cinemas too, and many of these have plays or movies that you probably have not seen before. Both of these types of places may be a bit dark, but they are heated as well.

I could go on like this for a long time - and I probably will, for months - but I do not want you to mistakenly think that Paris' beaches are open or that it is waterskiing season on the Seine.

It could be several months before the weather permits these pleasures, so you should know that there are plenty of other things to do - without me actually having to tell you exactly what the weather is like right now.

Who cares? It is not snowing, and this is the main thing. Of course if you are planning on a winter sports holiday in Paris, you will be coming to the wrong place.

Generally speaking, Paris is always the wrong place for winter sports. I am as sorry about this as you probably are, but there it is. You, we, Parisians, me - can't have everything.

'Café Life'

'Bollywood' Chez Moi

No sooner do I write all sorts of facts and lore about the New York borough of Queen's famous Bollywood, than I open my window shades to see my gloriously boring street view blotted out by a ultra-black film-production truck.

The night before at my end of the street, I thought all the parking spaces had been blocked off for some new large-scale building cleaning operation, but this fear was premature.

At the café Dimitri said they were filming on Daguerre and the Rue Boulard - with many American 'stars' - who are they anyway? - "Nobody looked like Bruce Willis," - before he continued his grumble about the euro and its 'facelessness.'

It looked like a snack table had been set up last Wednesday in front of the coin laundry - no doubt by 'Ritz Film Catering' - so I went over and did my nosy reporter act.

I learned that the film's title is 'Cravat Club' - an entirely French production, with no Bruce Willis inphoto: film buffet, cravat club it at all. Wednesday's shoot, requiring four trucks, a wardrobe bus, a generator and the picnic table - was for the final day's exterior scenes, according to the film's assistant director, Jerôme Dassier.

Jerôme Dassier trys out 'Bollywood' catering, Paris style.

He invited me to come back for the wrap-up shoot at 16:00, but after going to the Paris Tourist Office for events futures, shooting Concorde's about-to-disappear big wheel, and 'testing' the first day of the fabulous winter sales, all I got to see was the wardrobe bus chugging out of the street just after sundown, going the wrong way.

I learned two things from this episode. Paris' winter sales did not have the coat I should have bought at Queens Mall when I had the chance, and I have not thought up a French equivalent for 'Bollywood' yet.

'Buffalo Grass' - Part 22

Both Dimitri and Dennis were in the Bouquet café the other evening and I was glad to see them because I thought they would be thrilled by the effort I had put in, in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach neighborhood, to find buffalo grass.

But it didn't turn out this way. Dennis had a 'cat-that-has-eaten-the- delicious-canary' look and Dimitri was peering into a plastic sack that contained another plastic sack of - of buffalo grass.

According to Dennis - Dennis with his 'top this' smirk - Oleg was dismayed at the reaction here to the Russian herbal tea he inadvertently sent from Kiev for flavoring vodka, so he went to Kiev's open-air market and finally ended up at the only stall with buffalo grass for sale.

Some bunches of this were being closely examined by Dimitri. He let me have a smell, and I can say that it was certainly buffalo grass, no doubt about it.

No immediate plans have been made yet for the next flavored-vodka party because the arrival of the real buffalo grass has been so unexpected. But I haven't seen them for a couple of days, so it is possible that they have already flavored some flavorless vodka, and used up all the grass.

I hope not. Because my 'surprise' has been to come back from New York with a three-page description of it, written by Richard L. Duble, who is a turfgrass specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

In the paper he says Buffalograss is great for lawns in certain parts of Texas. I wonder how many Texans have flavored their vodka with lawn cuttings, but he doesn't mention anything about this.

In Russian it is called 'Perovskia,' or 'Russian Sage' if you are not familiar with Russian. If the boys in the Bouquet are not too impatient, maybe we can co-produce a Buffalograss party with the rites of spring, if there is any spring.

Paris' Winter Sales 2002

If you have cleverly chosen to skip the pre-Christmas mayhem, the 'Winter Sales' have begun and continuephoto: galeries trois quartiers, madeleine until Saturday, 16. February, when regular-price 'Spring Shopping' is likely to begin. 'Regular-price' does not mean with francs. By the time the 'Winter Sales' are over the euro will be the one and only.

Light crowd near 'Trois Quartiers' area in central Paris does not show mobs of shoppers inside shops in an 'euro' shopping frenzy.

The sooner these current sales can be gotten out the way, the sooner the 'Summer Sales' can start unloading the 'spring' stuff. The 'between sales' times can be used for normal sightseeing or hanging around in cafés, or for saving up euros for the 'Summer Sales.'

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

Readers can catch up with the most recent club subjects by reading about last week's Paris meeting. See the report about another nearly historic 'Double-Meeting 'Report'' meeting.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 17. January - because it will be a Thursday again - and it will be held at the Café-Tabac La Corona.

The coming Thursday will be just another fairly ordinary Thursday-type day called Sainte-Roseline which is never any kind of holiday in France despite the efforts of Sainte-Roseline's legions of fans here.

The following day will be an ordinary Friday again. If Fridays are a favorite of yours, make the most of what there is of it - even though there will be about 47 more of them this year.

Metropole readers and those wishing tophoto: la corona, night become club members can learn all about this free club by reading the large-sized fine-print on the 'About the Club' page, yet again.

For all of its renovations the club's café La Corona seems somewhat unchanged. Why change a good thing?

It explains how to join, 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 café La Corona, which still shows the location of the club's back-up café, Le Café Lodi.

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 extended their reservation service for a wide selection of Paris hotels. Check out their wider offers and make your choice long before your arrival in France. Try this one. Other Metropole readers have.

'HighwayToHealth' provides a 'city health profile' for Paris as well as travel insurance. If you have 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' exports 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. Everybody can play this game, nearly anywhere - such as on the vacant lot I saw between the subway exit and the boardwalk at Coney Island.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.03 - 15. Jan 2001 - This issue began with the week's Café Metropole column, which was titled, 'A Really Dumb Headline' - which is not unusual. The 'Au Bistro' news column was titled 'Semi-Okay In Paris.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Paris' Centre - Funk City.' This issue's update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 18. January was called the 'The 'Answer of the Week' Report. The week's 'Scene' column was titled, 'Chinese Yearphoto: sign, metro, paris of the Serpent.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Coming Into Charlie Etoile.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.03/04 - 17. January 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'Black and White All Over.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled '35-Hour Work Week Becomes Law.' This issue had one feature, titled 'Paris In Winter's Greys - Photography and Eugène Atget.' This double issue had two Café Metropole Club updates - on 20. January one was called 'A Very Quiet Meeting' and 27. January followed with 'An Extra Quiet Meeting.' A club page introduced 'Kathleen's Modest Proposal,' which may not have been adopted. The 'Scene'photo: sign, subway, new york column wasn't too exciting with 'Not Much New Stuff - Yet.' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' were on view again and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had its usual dumb caption, which was 'Where Is Libya?'

Last Year's 'Count-Down' - Is Over Forever

There are only 351 days remaining in this year. This means the 'euro 3 signuro' currency introduction day on Tuesday, 1. January 2002 at 00:01 was 14 whole days ago and is no longer any sort of 'count-down' thing.

Your online magazine about Paris is on the lookout for another, new count-down subject. Any reader or club member who can think something up can suggest it just so long as it doesn't start with 'euro 3 sign' and end with 'o,' and it is mildly silly.
signature, regards, ric

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