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.

While consumers have been denied a sort of election promise to raise the minimum wage by more than the legal minimum by the victors, there are still a lot of old francs hidden in mattresses that just might be brought into the light of day in order to pay lower than usual prices for extremely tiny bits of textiles called swim suits.

As in the past, the rules for these sales are strict. Only items that are actually in the shops the day the sales begin, can be put 'on sale.' All articles must display their original price stickers as well as their 'sale' prices.

The best bargains will go first because Parisians have been doing their usual pre-salephoto: gospel singers, music fete, avenue maine scouting. As time goes on during the sales, the sale prices will get discounted too - but the original price sticker must remain on the item.

Gospel singers drew a sizeable audience to the Avenue du Maine Friday night.

The two annual 'sale' times of the year are the only ones that permit merchants in France to sell below cost. Doing so at any other time is illegal. Sale items are generally marked down by 20 to 50 percent, which can amount to considerable savings if you intend to be in the market for French luxury items.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

If you are still too distracted by sports news, I can understand why you haven't time to read last Thursday's club meeting 'report.' But you can catch up with your club's news by hitting this link to the 'Forgotten Tab Remembered' report, which was a pretty neat 'first' when you think of it.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 27. June. The club's 'Saint's Day of the Week' next Thursday is Saint-Fernand's day.

Readers who have a desire to become real club members can scan the few minor details concerning this free club in 72 seconds by reading the large-sized fine-print on the 'About the Club' page and maybe clipping the virtual membership card off the screen.

Joining is easier than simple. Do it by simply being here! Being here on a Thursday is aces. Keeping up with club 'news' is no great chore either, because the reports about it go online right after the meetings, right after I finish writing them slowly, and you can read them in this magazine, which is online too.

Save 'Metropole Paris' as one of your favorite bookmarks to avoid mistyping its overly-long name every time you feel like reading a club report, or a regular edition like this one.

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.

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'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 lot covered with suitable dirt.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 6.26 - 25. June 2001 - The issue opened with the Café Metropole column titled, 'Say 'Hello' To Summer.' The 'Au Bistro' column had news for the carless with, 'Heaven for Buses?' This issue had one feature, titled 'In Part of the Rue Saint-Jacques.' This issue's update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 28. June was headlined 'The 'Nothing of the Week' Report. The week's 'Scene' column was titled, 'Beginning 2001's 2nd Half.' Therephoto: sign, place de la commune de paris were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, 'Paris Cars On Hols.' The issue finished off with a photo page titled 'The Longest Day.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.26 - 26. June 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column asked an age-old question, 'What's Normal Anyway?' The 'Au Bistro' column was skipped in favor of a Fête de la Musique report, 'A Little Night Music - With Amplification.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 22. June, appeared two days later dated on Saturday, and was highlighted by 'The Phone Call of the Week' report. The 'Scene' column was titled, 'Paris Wakes Up While Parisians Take Off.' The usual four 'Posters of the Week' were on view too and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'Triple Rouge.'

Countdown To Saturday, 13. July

Despite the several important upcoming dates that could be suitable 'countdown' candidates - only two of them are here this week, for different reasons.

As of today, there are only 190 days remaining in this year. This means the 'euro 3 signuro' currency has been around for a whole 175 days now - nearly six whole months! - more than long enough for everybody to treat it like dirty money.

This week's second countdown is to Saturday, sign, place samson July, which is only 19 days off. This date is the eve of Bastille Day, when most of the street parties take place - weather permitting - with the official stuff happening the following day.

The parade on the Champs-Elysées is important, but a lot of people tend to skip it so they will have strength enough to go to see the fireworks on the 14th at the Tour Eiffel. Parisians got in some practice for this during the Fête de la Musique, which was mild enough for everybody to be outside.

Of course, if you've just gotten off a plane from Australia after looking at canned videos of fireworks for 22 hours straight, maybe you'd rather just skip the whole thing and get up early enough on Monday to see the garbagemen sweeping up the remains of the Fête.
signature, regards, ric

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