Summer Is Officially Here

photo: cafe rendez vous during fete de la musique

Huge crowds were out all over the city for the Fête
de la Musique on Friday.

Its Weather Seems to Be Too

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 24. June 2002:- Memory tells me that a first day of summer a couple of years ago shot its final rays of sun straight down the Rue Daguerre, and I went out to photograph the long, tall shadows in the street. I don't recall if the Fête de la Musique was the same day.

But it must have been, because it is always on 21. June. Last year, if it wasn't raining, it was overcast and cool. Last Friday, it wasn't good enough for the Daguerre light show but it was plenty good enough for the music, and it was warm too.

Now that Paris no longer needs to be embarrassed about its lackluster spring weather, it seems like it is willing to make up for it by actually having summer-like weather.

People I see around are wearing sandals and shorts that were rejected by the British Army in Egypt in 1942, because they were poorly tailored. Why upstanding Parisian men will wear them is a true mystery to me. I guess we must live in baggy times.

The weather outlook for the coming week is pretty good, with lots of sun and warm-enough temperatures being predicted. I am trying hard to believe in it, and will appreciate it if it comes true.

Café Life

City Spills Summer's Secrets

Last year's newly-elected majority in the Hôtel de Ville inherited summer plans for 2001 from the administration that preceded it. As outlined last Tuesday by the city's cultural boss, Christophe Girard, this summer promises more in the way of freebies for both residents and visitors alike.

The 13th annual 'Quartier d'Eté' program has been given a huge wad of extra cash, and thisphoto: cultural affairs direction garden will translate into a lot more activity all summer long - such as theatres being open. And the summer itself has been declared by Paris to extend from 21. June until the dawn of 6. October.

The garden just outside the conference room.

Mr. Girard said the weather gurus had been consulted, and they claimed that if Paris does have an Indian Summer, it will probably be happening on Saturday. 5. October - so this is a good time to have an all-night 'Nuit Blanche.'

For this, everything the city owns that is normally closed, will be open, all night long. The RATP will help out by keeping a couple of métro lines running all night, and the préfecture has agreed to make some extra police available.

Besides the idea of popping into some nifty library or church at 03:00 in the morning, Mr. Girard even offered the startling hint that the city would make 'Roue Libre' bicycles available - for free, on a 'use them and leave them' basis.

Another idea is to have library staff circulate around the city's parks with shopping carts full of books, to hand out to loungers who are idling away their time looking at nature.

Movies were discussed. There will be a low-price deal at 150 cinemas for younger people, and this will be followed by another one for everybody. Movies will also been shown outside, in three of the city's parks. With La Villette's effort, this will make four skylight locations.

Just a skim of the program took an hour, and we were given hefty press packages to take away and read at our leisure if we ever have time. Then we were invited out to the garden just below the conference room in the Marais' Hôtel d'Albret, for a round of light drinks and crackers.

After a quick look at the bundle of paper I came away with, my opinion is that all of it won't fit in this week's 'Scene' column. It's all very well pumping up the summer's program, but I must not forget to put in the standard highlights - such as the plans for Bastille Day.

No details for this were given, so I've used last year's - plus tossed in the list of open-top swimming pools. To get all of the events either on or coming, you'll have to look at last week's 'Scene' column too.

New Mascot Joins Metropole

Coming away from the conference I didphoto: my new teddy not get far before I saw the bear on the sidewalk. It was acting as an umbrella stand in front of a shop called 'L'Ours du Marais,' which was full of stuffed bears of all sizes.

Monique Verreaux told me most 'teddies' are either American or German-made, but that her shop does carry at least four types that are hand-made in France. This will be welcome news to those who thought they already had one of everything.

For my interest Madame Verreaux gave me a small one - which is a good thing because the hound carved by Jay Barrios was getting lonely. Find the shop at 18. Rue Pavée, Paris 4, which is just a short walk from the métro Saint-Paul. Closed at noon and on Mondays.

The Flat Hunt VI

This continued in fits and spurts during the week, with the 'fits' outnumbering the 'spurts.' The new roomy place resembling the one I have to leave soon is proving to be elusive. The available places on the market and the numbers of people seeking something are wildly different figures.

And as a prospective tenant, I am outnumbered by those with government- approved golden spoonsphoto: is my new apartment here as credentials. If you think I am treating this situation with calm serenity and reason, you are wrong. I am going to have to get transplants for my fingernails.

Is my new apartment somewhere in this jumble of hidden courtyards and passageways?

For this reason, the week's 'Au Bistro' column has fallen by the wayside again. The only news in France has been the surprise of voters, today, on learning that the government is not going to give the minimum wage an extra boost.

One lady calculated the statutory raise would allow her to buy an extra baguette per day. She is paid so little that she won't benefit from the promised tax cut, if it actually pans out.

'Les Soldes d'Eté'

The summer sales in Paris have been announced by the 'Préfecture' and they are from Wednesday, 26. June until Tuesday 6. August. The dates will vary slightly in other parts of France depending on the whims of local authorities.

Parisian merchants have explained to TV-news that everybody has been so busy voting over the past several weeks that they have not bothered to buy anything to wear for the summer. If you don't want to think shoppers are waiting for next Wednesday, please don't complain to me about local behavior afterwards.

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