Victor Hugo

photo: all about victor hugo with cafe

Today's 'Group Photo of the Week' features few actual people.

Is Not a Club Member

Paris:- Thursday, 31. January 2002:- Since it is a Thursday, teachers let hospital staff, doctors and nurses have the day for a street demonstration, which began at the unusual time of 11:30 at Denfert- Rochereau - much to the annoyance of drivers who were going to be later than they anticipated, unless they were those whose shifts start at noon or later.

According to this evening's TV-news the peaceful demonstration got out of hand and some members of the law-and-order forces required treatment by medical professionals, who were luckily on the scene. Casualties among the demonstrators were not mentioned.

All of this excitement took place under nearly cloudless skies - 96 percent cloud-free! - accompanied by the freakish warm temperatures that Paris has been actually enjoying for some time now.

Dimitri's opinion is that winter is retarded, but will show up sooner or later, and linger on longer so that spring will skip Paris entirely, thus ensuring that there will be a summer even if it doesn't begin before September.

It does not matter to me. I do not have any winter gear to languish in a closet, nor have I sought any in the so-called 'Winter Sales,' known locally as the 'Soldes d'Hiver.'

According to other reports, basking Parisians are not doing their proper duty and grabbing up everything in sight as they have been programmed to do. Many shops now have signs saying their 'final' markdowns are in place.

Meanwhile the sales will continue for another two weeks because they are not allowed to stop before they are over, regardless of whether anybody is buying anything or not. I suspectphoto: view from corona that shoppers are holding off in the hopes that articles for spring will soon be 'on sale.'

So far, I have only given you the 'good news,' and I haven't given you too much else because there isn't any other news.

If the Corona's terrace was balmy today, inside was definitely drowsy.

The club's meeting place, the café La Corona, is drenched with sun on my arrival today and some of the irresponsible non-shoppers are basking on its terrace. In the club's area of the café there are two couples of civilians and one of them stays for the meeting's entire duration.

This turns out to be okay because no new members present themselves to be turned into bona-fide club members and no already-members arrive to help the club's secretary dodge the brilliant shafts of light slashing the café's interior.

No members of any kind is not a 'first,' but is a rare event that has not happened for a long time, so I feel safe in saying that there is no 'Quote of the Week,' no 'City of the Week,' no 'Food of the Week' and no 'Drink of the Week' for the first time in 31 weeks.

There is, of course, a 'Waiter of the Week' - who is Patrick in person, but both of us forget my weekly 'Café of the Week' until the meeting is almost over. It is welcome though. I've felt I've been missing something vital.

You may be wondering how I've managed to stay awake without any members being present, without my café, but within a warm café on a peaceful afternoon.

You might not give a tinker's hoot about this, but I'll tell you how I've done it anyway.

photo: classical corona decorI have been anticipating a 'no members' meeting, so last week and this I have brought a special edition of the magazine, 'L'Histoire,' which is all about Victor Hugo. This is his 'year' and as you will have already noted in this week's 'Café Metropole' column, the 200th anniversary of his birth or death or something is pretty soon now.

All prospective club members should carefully note this detail of the club's swanky interior décor.

As soon as this happens, it will be the beginning of the 'Victor Hugo Year' in Paris, and I will have to write about it here and so far I don't know a darn thing about the guy except for what I've already read in Metropole.

So the first thing I read today is the 'letters to the editor' which are not about Victor Hugo at all - this is a 'Special' issue? - but are interesting all the same because they are all written by professors of history at the Sorbonne or Tours or the CNRS or the University of Maryland.

In fact only half the magazine treats Victor Hugo, and I get bogged down in the other stuff and nearly fall asleep twice because the nearby civilians are murmuring - quite unlike the usual racket of a club meeting. One other customer of the caf´, near the classical décor stature, has passed completely out.

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