Chicago a Close Second - Paris First

photo: l->r, terrie blazek, fred vezina, jackie vezina

From left, new club members Terrie Blazek, Jackie and Fred Vezina, with lots of Paris in the background.

"With Francs, I Never Knew What I Was Spending"

Paris:- Thursday, 17. January 2002:- On the way to the club meeting today it has been my impression that today is a perfect one for it. The weather that was supposed to be lousy, is not, and it may even improve. For this, I want to give the TV-weather news forecasters the benefit of a doubt.

What they can do with one of these 'benefits' is unknown to me. They may be of value for taking care of unpaid parking fines, in case there is no amnesty resulting from the presidential election later this year.

For Monday's issue I may have forgotten the slight detail of temperatures. These are now classified as slightly above 'normal' for this time of year - and this translates into highs of from eight to ten degrees. The coming weekend's weather is predicted to be 'jolly good' too.

On arrival at the club's café, today's 'Waiter of the Week' Patrick says to me, "Il y a du monde" in attendance. Instead, this crowd turns out to be Jackie and Fred Vezina from Union, Kentucky - which is handily served by the International airport - there are flights from Canada occasionally - in Cincinnati, which may actually be in Hebron, Kentucky.

Fred also tells me there is another nearby state involved with Union's - the 'City of the Week' by the way - geographical location, and immediately draws a map on a napkin so I will get an idea about it. The first thing he draws is Lake Erie.

I am not strong on geography about the United States because there are 50 of them, plus some offshore stuff and 'zones,' including one on Cuba, as strange as it may seem.

Because I mention the two metres of snow in Buffalo - close to Lake Erie? - Fred does not get to complete his sketch. Not doing so is no club 'faute' because the Vezinas only arrived this morning.

photo: jackie, fred vezinaUnlike me, they easily found the RER station at Roissy, and took one of its slightly rare non-stop 'B' trains to Gare du Nord, and got off it at the left bank station of Lexington Gardens.

Not looking totally jet-lagged at all - Jackie and Fred Vezina - who are completely jet-lagged.

All members who come more or less directly to club meetings on their nearly first visit to Paris, do not get demerits for mixing up the US version of Monopoly place names for French ones.

Today's other brand new member arrives at the club's quarter-time mark, about, and says, "I can't figure out how I found Metropole."

Before I can begin to wonder about this, Terrie - aka Thérèse-Marie - Blazek says, "I like Chicago 2nd to Paris."

Terrie is another traveller who rips useful sections out of guide books to carry around. She wants to know if the Rue Cler is as good as some guide books claim it is.

Since I haven't read the guide book in question and only have my own impression of the Rue Cler to go by, I always say it is over-rated unless the visitor likes being near the Champ de Mars and a lot of closed government and embassy buildings, and sometimes finding too much distance between cafés and even further distances between métro stations.

Since it is on everybody's minds, the euro is discussed. Terrie thinks the euro's disadvantage is being toophoto: ham & cheese sandwich close to the dollar in value. "With francs, I never knew what I was spending," she says. All agree that 200 and 500 euro notes are to be avoided because there are none of these in the United States.

At first, Patrick thought this was supposed to be a 'club' sandwich. Not only members are jet-lagged at the club.

Both Jackie and Terrie are scholars. Jackie has just wrapped up her BA and Terrie is an active student of architecture, with another year to go.

They trade stories about being in classes with younger students who cannot figure out why they only get 'C's while the ladies get 'A's.

Jackie's secret was simple - she studied for exams. Terrie has another method. She says, "I only study weird and strange [examples of architecture]."

Fred says nothing and I am about to say nothing when I remember it is 'Group Photo of the Week' time. Fred sensibly puts on his coat for the photogenic session on the terrace.

Actually, for some reason, the café is chilly inside - so it is no colder outside on the Quai du Louvre. It might even be warmer.

The light is right too. The light clouds have drifted away to allow the sun to filter through as it is setting, and it is pretty mellow on the terrace.

But, with the club meeting nearly over, the excursion out into the air has exited appetites. Fred orders a ham and cheese sandwich and Terrie orders a huge onion soup, which only comes in one size.

It has been a good many meetings since the last time anybody ordered onion soup, so it becomes the 'Food of the Week' even though it has been the 'Food of the Week' once or twice before.

While Patrick is handy, passing out the food, Fred borrows his official Paris-waiter bottle opener and corkscrew, to fix hisphoto: terrie blazek watch band, which has become unfixed. Club members should remember this helpful hint - Patrick carries this useful tool with him at all times.

Once these items of food are consumed, the Vezinas start off for the Pont des Arts, as a way to get back to their hotel instead of taking the métro to strange stations.

Terrie Blazek points out the direction of Chicago, for the geographically-impaired club secretary.

One of the reasons for club meetings is for club members to give each other tips about being in Paris. Terrie's tip is to play the game on the Eiffel Tower's Web site, which she does most days, before getting 'A's on exams. She says she has won many free entries to go up the tower.

After this we wander over to the Rue de Rivoli two blocks away so that Terrie can try out a telephone booth for making international calls, and maybe catch a passing taxi back to where she's staying.

The 'Non-Meeting of the Week'

I am still waiting for reports about this but none have turned up so far. I assume members have either not bothered to report them or not bothered to hold them - unlike the one reported here last week. Thus the 'non-meeting of the week' is more likely to be classified as the 'no-non meeting of the week' - except, of course, for the one reported above.

Paris' 2002 Winter Sales - In Euros for the First Time

The New Year's Winter Sales continue until Saturday, 16. February, whether there is anything left 'on sale' not. This period presents a good chance to try and unload your collection of brand-new 200 or 500euro 3 sign notes, but don't be surprised if merchants are wary about them.

The Next Meeting - At La Corona!

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 24. January - because it is a good old Thursday again - and it definitely will be held at the Café-Tabac La Corona.

Next Thursday will be just another absolutely ordinary Thursday kind of day called Saint-François-de-Sales. This Saint-François was the patron saint of all winter sales shoppers - but is still not any reason for any kind of holiday in France, not yet.

See the correct address for this meeting at the bottom of this page, proceeded or followed by all the date and time and multiple métro-stop names, which nearly everybody knows already.

Why 'Le Corona' Is Spelled Wrong

Some readers and members have noticed that signs for the club's café are spelled wrong on its windows, awnings and menu. 'La Corona' is a feminine Spanish word, but since it is foreign the French rule is that it must be masculine, even though the French word for crown is 'La Couronne,' which is also feminine. On top of it, 'La Corona' sells the Mexican beer 'La Corona,' by its correct spelling.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

You can learn more than most club members need to know about this club if you think this could improve your appreciation of a meeting - by reading 'About the Café Metropole Club.' This explains exactly where to find the club in Paris and the day and time of the meetings.

You will also be able to find out that you can easily become a member of this online magazine's free and real club in Paris, by simply coming to a meeting if you don't forget the address, time and other stuff.

Date, Time and Location of the Next Paris Meeting

Your club's meeting time in Paris will begin at 15:00 and amble along to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'POUM' - and elsewhere known as 3 pm to 5 pm in zones without 24-hour 'Eurotime.'

The club's secretary, occasionally known as 'hey you!' will be making some 'report' notes during the meeting. Thisphoto: onion soup will require no effort on your part, unless you can't remember your name, hometown and email address. Getting two out of three of these right is okay.

If La Corona's onion soups have a fault, it is only because they are bigger than your head.

Be sure to have a new 'Quote of the Week' ready or come with your own 'City of the Week'- if you remember it - or even bring along any other 'Things of the Week.' New 'rules' are 'non grata,' as usual.

Your comments, casual or completely out-of-your-cuff, will be greatly appreciated by the other members present, if they happen to overhear them - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they happen to read them, if they happen to be written here.

The café's location is:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Pont-Neuf or Châtelet.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini