Rain In Paris

photo: cafe le bouquet

My number one rest-stop, before, during and
after my 'flânneries.'

Is All the News There Is

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 18. March 2002:- Basking in sunbeams is over. It may return in May or June or July or next autumn, but it is over here because Easter is getting close enough to drive the Azores high bonkers. It is not cold yet though.

Paris has nearly had its first full day of rain - not drizzle, not showers, not fizzy spray - and it will be complete in about 46 minutes when it is midnight. This is supposed to be the first of three days of it.

The city has not been drought-stricken so this is hardly necessary. When I went out for a café earlier, it was blowing in my face. Getting rain in the face is rare as well as disagreeable. Coming back was lots better.

What is predicted after the three days of rain is not worth mentioning, so I won't mention it.

What I will do is mention this week's 'Scene' column. It contains more than a few ideas for things to dophoto: shop, cycles gitane inside. There is also an article, a sort of book review, about walking around aimlessly. If it had been raining like today when I did it, this feature wouldn't be included in this issue.

Where my bike will get overhauled if I ever decide to ride it.

In case you've forgotten or never knew, this weekly magazine is concocted by pure chance and freakish accidents, sometimes of nature. Even though I work here I never know what's going to be in it next.

I hardly know what is in this issue either. There are several items I know aren't here. I 'lost' a parade and got in a proper snit about it.

I decided not to got to the outer reaches of the 17th arrondissement to get a true 'first' for the issue merely because it is a long way to go for one photo, even though I planned to shoot the loggers doing their tricks in the trees near the Champs-Elysées on the way back. Loggers sports are rare in Paris, even during tree-fête week.

The real reason I didn't do this was because the loggers thing was on overcast Sunday - but not on Sunday night's TV-news! - and the other was a Saturday thing, but better to do in the early morning, which wasn't in my datebook.

Now I've confused myself. Was it Saturday that I 'lost' the parade, or was it the week before? If I am going to do a lot of walking around aimlessly, I should try to remember to be literary about it and write notes on used métro tickets.

Didn't I write this before? At least I remember this started out with rain. It is still raining.

Walk Around Aimlessly In New York

Last week I mentioned here - I am sure about this too - that I'm going to New York again. If you need to know why, the reason was written here last week. If you read it last week you probably don't want to read it here again this week.

But as a reminder, I will include this - on this visit there will be no list of 49 sights to see. There will be no 'list' at all. My aimless visit to New York will include two Thursdays though. If Café Metropole Club members feel there should be meetings, then there will be. Write to me with suggestions.

Be warned, however, that my main intention is to catch up on sleep I have missed out on since Friday, 21. December 2001.

Easter In Paris - the Club, More than Usual

At the same time in Paris, the jolly and green-thumbed server-lady Linda Thalman has agreeably consentedphoto: cafe resto le beliere to host the Café Metropole Club meetings at the café La Corona on Thursday, 28 March and Thursday, 4. April. She has done this because she honestly enjoys club meetings.

Her notes from these meetings, as brief as they might be, will be transformed into 'reports' that may be Transatlantic in nature. New members can expect to be properly inscribed into the members' booklet, even without the presence of the club's secretary.

Daguerre's folkloric Belière, saved from the wreckers but maybe not from fame.

The club may be 'more than usual' because Paris is not known for balmy weather at Easter. It is known for 'last gasp of winter' type weather - so planning to spend a couple of hours on a couple Thursday afternoons in a comfortable café won't be the worst idea in the world.

'Café Life'

Metropole's Wine Label

Readers who have been paying attention without any intention to do so may recall that there is a 'Café Metropole' sparkling wine waiting to emerge from the wings, to step onto the world's stage.

One reason it is 'waiting' is that it is waiting for its label. Sketch versions of it were shown on last week's cartoon page even though this is not a joke.

Several readers and club members took up my suggestion to 'vote' for their favorite label or labels, and I am really grateful for this.

Paul Babbitt wrote, "I have to say, I like all the wine labels, though I most like the label in the upper right-hand corner. I might change my vote if the pictures were bigger, or if I had a better monitor. Is this the proper forum for voting?"

On the same day, Jadine Brown sent an email with the message, "All the labels look good. What color is the bottle?"

Two days later Dinny Moyer wrote, "I like the two on the left. Nice drawings! Who says you can't have more than one label anyway?"

I think I've missed out one or two other emails, but the kellermeister himself wrote, "I like them both. I'll run these by Paula and my daughters and get back to you."

Allan Pangborn did this and emailed the following day, after getting a revised version of the bottom-left one. "Paula thought the Café Metropole logo overpowered the drawing. I gotta go buy a car now."photo: shop, paris accordeon

While Allan was out doing this, George Broadhead emailed from New York or Hollywood, to say "I prefer the 1st, top left label over the other three. They are all very good. Nevertheless, the first would look great on a bottle of wine."

The left bank's official accordion headquarters is on Daguerre too.

Paul Babbitt also mentioned that this 'Metropole wine thing' was confusing him a bit, so I should explain a bit about what is going on here.

Long-time reader and Café Metropole Club member Allan Pangborn is a professional in the wine-making part of the wine business. A couple of years ago while he was in Paris doing about six week's worth of 'flânnerie' and visiting pals in Champagne, he came up with the idea of 'Café Metropole' for a sparkling wine he intended to make.

For this he has built an entire government-inspected winery over the past year. Some short time after last season's grape harvest the first batch was cooked up and subsequently put into champagne bottles.

For my New York trip, we pasted together a quick-and-dirty label, and he sent a six-pack of the new wine to New York. This was tested by club members at the meeting there on 27. December. The wine was fresh from a transcontinental shake-up by an airfreight outfit, so it was not 'quite right.'

This situation is completely different now. The bottles, lying on their sides, have been turned by hand regularly for months, and are nearly ready to go out the door. Before they can do this, they need their definitive labels - and the government wants to look at them first.

When the label is okay and approved, it will be this magazine's 'house' brand of sparkling wine, made with the champagne method byphoto: pelops, greek fast food Allan who has being doing this sort of thing since graduating from wine university in California a long time ago.

After making wineries and being a wine consultant for big outfits for his entire career he has decided to make his own, and label it 'Café Metropole.'

Edge to edge on Daguerre - French, Asian and European eats.

Metropole in turn is more than willing to lend its name to this. 'Café Metropole' will not only be the 'house' wine, it will also be the magazine's sponsor, and vice-versa.

This is definitely an 'Internet-ploy' that has never been tried before. Just because it wasn't dreamed up by MIT's 'Media Lab' is no reason why we shouldn't try it.

At present we are still before the beginning of this. This label is not done, not approved. Although 'Café Metropole' sparkling wine will be Metropole's sponsor, no details have been settled on for this adventure. All I know is a lot of bottles are waiting for labels and Allan has gone out to buy a car.

You can expect to see further news about this here.

'Au Bistro' Killed by Taxes

Even though there was news in Paris during the past week - strikes, demonstrations, fires, the usual mayhem - and even though all the photos for the new column are done, I have to do my tax return and do it quick. 'Au Bistro' dies for another week on account of this. This is why it's called death and taxes.

Putting the numbers in the form is a snap because I don't have any, but reading about how to do itphoto: cafe bistro 48 requires some concentration because the 'rules' about where to put the zeros changes every year.

The Bistro 48 is only 10 metres from the next place.

I realize that the 630 metres of idle 'flânnerie' in this issue are a poor substitute for no 'Au Bistro' column, so you have my apologies. Actually, I prefer doing this column much more than the 'Scene' column. It is the order that things are done in that keeps knocking off 'Au Bistro.'

Next week I hope to make nothing but cuts to the 'Scene' columns - I say this to myself every week too - but I still hope to give you one before I get on the jet to see Easter snow in New York instead of in Paris.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

To catch up on news about last Thursday's club meeting, read the club's first "We Had a Great Cab Driver!" report.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 21. March. This will be unidentical to last Thursday because every week has a brand-new one, with this particular one being a Saint-Clémence day.

Metropole readers with an irresistible urge to become real club members can grasp the few details available about this free club by speed-reading the large-sized fine-print on the 'About the Club' page. This page still needs its pre-updated map to be restored even if the updated one it has isn't terribly out-of-date.

How to join? Simply by being here! Being here on a Thursday is better. How to keep up with club 'news' is easier, because the reports about it go online right after the meetings - right after I do all the attending members' photos and write the darn reports.

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 widephoto: spring styles for kids 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.

While adults are still be offered different shades of black, kids can have other colors.

'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 any vacant lots before they become parking fiemds for malls.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago:

Issue 5.12 - 20. March 2000 - This issue started with the week's Café Metropole column, titled, 'Clueless Weather' - endlessly, still! - and the 'Au Bistro' news column was titled, 'Demos, Jackpots, Smart Cards.' This issue had one feature titled 'Bookville At Paris-Expo - 20th Salon du Livre.' This issue's update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 23. March was called the 'Secretary Libre' At the Club Report.' There was also a club blurb titled, 'The Club Is Not Fumes.' The week's 'Scene' column was titled 'A Re-Run of 1900.' There werephoto: sign, entree four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Only a Couple Pages More.'

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 4.12 - 22. March 1999 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'Big Horn Battle On a Bridge.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled 'Dubious News Remains Unreported.' This issue had one feature, titled 'The French Book Show - Salon du Livre.' The 'Scene' column was unexciting again with, 'Free Museum Day in Yvelines.' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' were viewable too and Ric's Cartoon of the Week posed a vital question, which was 'Have You Read the Code Pénal Lately?'

The Sorry 'Count-Down'

There are only 288 days remaining in this year. This means the 'euro 3 signuro' currency has been around for a whole 77 days now. It is starting to seem like longer.

We can also forget Victor Hugo's 200th birthdate because it is past, although there will be a lot of Hugo events around Paris for some time to come.

Saint-Patrick's day is also behind us, having been on Sunday. This was the date in 1995 that I produced my first online report, but I forget how many years ago it was.

As noted here last week, John McCulloch and Jim Auman have proposed 'counting-down' to Alexandre Dumas' - the elder! - birthdate. Alexandre Dumas - père - was born on Saturday, 24. July 1802 at Villers-Cotterets and he wrote the 'Three Moustaches,' whichphoto: vespa dashboard, piaggio is still second behind the Bible in sales. From today, Dumas' birthdate is 155 days off.

Matt Rose's Vespa command-central.

Because of failing to produce 'Au Bistro' columns I hesitate a bit to add that the first round of voting for France's next Président is only 34 days from now. The campaign is in its full glory, with the two leading candidates being very cagey - but a good number of the others are making transient news.

Set your chronos, turn over your egg-timers full of sand, tune your video-recorders, get a red marker to 'X'-out days on your calendars, and start counting-down even if it is pretty silly, unless it is until the time you arrive in Paris.
signature, regards, ric

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