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 café, near the classical décor stature, has passed completely out.

One article in the magazine especially knocks me out. Its title is, 'Le franc est mort, vive l'euro!' Then I begin an article about Serge Klarsfeld before remembering that Hugo is on the agenda, but I don't get much beyond a piece by Paul Lafargue - 1842-1911 - who wrote that VH wasn't such a good Socialist if he was such a millionaire - before Patrick wakes me up with the café reminder.

I don't want you to think I would rather be out browsing through the bookstalls across the street or sunning myself on the Pont des Arts - I like attending club meetings even on winter days when Paris is having a fake spring.

It is true. Late in the meeting I have my café at last and this perks me up a bit and I really get into Victor Hugo - there's 39 whole pages - so it is only when the meeting is officially ten minutes over that I realize that it's over.

Ah yes - I have forgotten to mention that just before today's meeting started, I was handed an envelope at the café's bar by Monsieur Ferrat, one of the club's other 'Waiters of the Week.'

This contained photographs of hordes of club members, taken during two meetings in Paris andphoto: bookstalls on quay during the meeting in December in New York. Member-in-good-standing Eva Lee of Tranquility, New Jersey deserves thanks for this thoughtful gesture.

Quite a lot of people unrelated to the club were on the quays today, fooling around.

These will be placed in a safe location in the club's archives which are scattered all over here, and will become valuable artifacts when the club's memorabilia is taken over by the Bibliothèque Historique or the Georges Brassens public library sometime in the distant future.

To all 327 members and to all of the magazine's readers who would have attended today's meeting to become members, I thank you for your patience and the goodwill I am sure you will accord this 'report' about not much more than Victor Hugo, who is not a club member.

The Next Meeting

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 7. February - because it will be a darn good old Thursday again. It will be an ordinary first Thursday in the second month of 2002 kind of day called Sainte-Eugénie. I am probably wrong but I have the feeling that we've had this saint before, so it might not be a 'first.'

See the 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 must be known by nearly all readers and members already because they are pretty much the same every week.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

Learn more than most club members would ever want to know about this club if you think this could improve your comprehension of a meeting - or Victor Hugo - by reading 'About the Café Metropole Club.' This page explains exactly where to find the club in Paris and the day and time of the meetings.

In case you want to skip the 'About' page, all you need to know is 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, métro station names, time and other useful stuff.

Date, Time and Location of the Next Paris Meeting

The next meeting of your club in Paris will begin at 15:00 and zoom along to 17:00 in Europe's Central European Time Zone - which is 'CET' for short and not 'MOPT' - and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm in earthzones without 24-hour 'Eurotime.'

The club's secretary will be making some effort to create 'report' notes during the meeting. Thisphoto: corona terrace will require scant effort on your part, unless you have difficulty remembering your name, hometown and email address. Documentary proof of who you are is not necessary.

Last week this terrace was glistening with rain, but I tossed out the photo of it.

Bring a new 'Quote of the Week' ready or come with your own 'City of the Week'- if you remember it - or even bring any other 'Things of the Week' you want. There are no 'rules' except 'no rules.'

Your comments, casual or completely spontaneous, will be highly regarded and appreciated by the other members present, if they happen to overhear them - and by all readers of this online magazine, if they chance to read them, if they manage to get 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.
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