Surprise Holiday

photo: cafe le lutetia, ile st louis

Warm night, soft lights, at this café on the Ile Saint-Louis.

For Metropole's 'Ed'

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 29. July 2002:- I am pretty happy with the weather. Again. Last week's forecasts were a little pessimistic in the beginning but the actual climate thumbed its nose at them and the mercury shot up to 34 yesterday, setting the best score for France.

This followed a Saturday with good weather too, making what Le Parisien has called a 'heatwave.' Like the waters in the Seine, short 'waves' are a big deal here. If the Seine had tides instead of occasional floods, they would probably be colossal.

What is there for one to say about good weather? What about - it was nice while it lasted? Already the temperatures have dipped a whole degree.

In principle, this Monday could be added to the 'heat wave' because fairly rotten weather was forecast last night and it neglected to show up.

This hasn't dismayed the forecasters though. They are persisting with their predictions forphoto: line for ice cram, ile st louis clouds to arrive tomorrow, to be accompanied with some rain - and some hail. Hail in July is something we don't see often. The temperature should slump too, way down to about 25.

'What,' these people want to know, 'does ice cream taste like at 22:00 at night?'

The outlook for Wednesday is merely horrible. Tonight's weather map was grey with cloud, from mid-France up to where the world ends at the northern frontier. High predicted is a lousy 21 degrees. Probably because of the hail.

Thursday should see some clearing on the west, but with the thermometre falling off another degree. If this keeps up, by mid-August it will be zero in Paris. Beyond Thursday the outlook is nil.

Thursday will be, after all, the 1st of August and traditionally there is no weather in Paris in August because in theory there are no people here in the first two weeks of the month. The happy July vacationers who experienced fairly consistent good weather while away, will not notice that there is no weather here anyway.

Without air-conditioning, my inside temperature has not gotten much above 25 degrees, so when I did go out, it seemed a lot hotter than - oh, maybe hotter than Madrid in May.

Café Life

Throughout the past week I carried on with this sort of life in an abbreviated fashion because the other participants seemed to give the usual cafés a pass. Since they were not around for me to ask them why they had chosen to abandon Café Life, I do not have any other amazing tales to relate about it either.

But everywhere else I went in Paris I observed that café terraces were full of lucky people who managed to find free seats and tables to lean their drinks on.

This was especially true in the centre of the city where a lot of everybody was outside - at Paris Plage, on the other quays along the river, and draped all over the islands in the middle of it and on bridges across it.

The bateaux mouches seemed to be full to the rafters or whatever it is they are called on boats, and all the open tops of the double-decker sightseeing buses appeared to have standing room only.

While my area of town seems like everybody has closed their shutters and abandoned their usual street parking places, the Latin Quarter had throngs of mostly eager-looking visitors out for a good - and warm - night 'on the town.'

I went from Saint-Jacques through the Rue de la Huchette and it reminded me of Torremolinos on aphoto: dancing on the plage busy night. All doors and windows open and the air full of warm smells of roasting meat and spices, with all of it lit by this yellowish light that is common in Paris.

Palms, lights, Saturday night, dancing by the blue Seine.

But in the narrow Huchette there are all the bright neons too, and with telephoto eyes it looked like there were thousands milling around in a soupy daze of indecision about what to eat, or where, or when.

Much easier to understand all of the terrassians sprayed across the fronts of cafés, neither inside nor completely outside - with the kind of weather that makes the frontier between one and the other invisible.

A photo not run last week - of a line of people out in the street on the Ile Saint-Louis waiting their turns to chose from 45 different flavors of good ice cream - runs this week in its evening version.

For all I know they are the same people, waiting for the same ice cream. In fact, I re-shot many of the photos I took a week ago on Sunday afternoon, again on Saturday night. In warm weather Paris has two climates, night and day.

The Flat Hunt 00.1

This week's 'flat hunt' is not even as exciting as last week's very short report about it. It seems as if everything has ground to a halt even though I kept at it.

As far as I can tell there are fish in the water, but my line is hanging limp and I think the worm on the hook must have gotten bored and wiggled off it and swum ashore to find something to eat.

The rental agency lady suggested on Friday that I try again next year, which begins in the last week of August.

Metropole Takes a Holiday

There is going to be an interruption with the weekly issues of this magazine, perhaps until the issue scheduled for Monday, 19. August. My calendar tells me this will amount to skipping two issues. This is about what I have to do in order to have one week completely off, which is something I feel I need to do.

This coming Thursday's weekly club meeting will take place as usual on 1. August. As of this moment I do not intend to do the secretary's duties or whatever else they are on Thursday, 8. August.

I realize that this may upset the plans of readers who intend becoming members and members who intend to be at the meeting. All I can suggest is that if you are either of these, you can hold the meeting yourselves, without bothering about any of the club's 'rules,' because there aren't any.

You can count on the secretary's presence for the meeting on Thursday, 15. August, which is a holiday in France known as Assumption rather than mid-August, which is what it really is.

Café Metropole Club 'Updates'

With what little that's going on in the world these days, I can understand why you might have been a bit indifferent to news of last Thursday's club meeting 'report.' Should this be the case, you can catch up with your club's 'news' by hitting this link to the 'Two Real Members Really' report and get super up-to-date.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 1. August. The club's 'Saint's Day of the Week' next Thursday is Saint- Alphonse for a change.

Readers who want to become real club members can scan the few minor details concerning this free clubphoto: seine cruise boat, plage in four seconds by reading the large-sized fine-print on the 'About the Club' page and maybe scraping the virtual membership card off the screen.

A cruise boat loiters offshore for the dance music.

Joining is no more than easily simple. Do it by being here! Being here on a Thursday is the best bet. Keeping up with club 'news' is no great hassle either, because the reports about it go online right after the meetings, right after I finish writing them slowly. 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.

'Bookings' has extended their reservationphoto: night, pont au change, chatelet, plage service for a wide 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.

And then, when it is dark, all the lights go on.

'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 6.31 - 30. July 2001 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column's breathless 'Hot' Weather Looms!' The 'Au Bistro' column raved about a 'Lawyer To Sue for 'Right To Drive.' This issue one feature titled 'Real Low Budget Visit - Strictly Kid Stuff.' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 2. August was called the 'Major New 'City of the Week' report. The week's 'Scene' column was short andphoto: sign, euros bienvenus sweet with 'Paris In August!' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, "Two Glasses of Water"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 5.31 - 31. July 2000 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled 'Roller 'Rando' Resumes.' There 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Concorde Disaster Due To Multiple Causes.' This issue's feature was called 'Blue Skies Over Tango, Sunday Reggae at La Villette.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 3. August, was called the "Watching Rich People Shop In the Place Vendôme" report. The PR-hype club page had the title, 'Still Unanswered 'Why?' Is Boring.' Darn right too! The 'Scene' column's headline was 'Snoozy August Program.' The usual but different four 'Posters of the Week' were on view too and Ric's Cartoon of the Week had the caption of 'You Can Hitchhike!'

Countdown To the Recent Past

This feature would have been elected as the most boring in the magazine if anybody bothered to vote for it. But it was suspended two weeks ago and it thus missed out on losing the election. Losing? Winning?

Last week, as luck would have it, this feature's only reader, Jim Auman, wrote to remind me and you that on Wednesday, 24. July, Alexandre Dumas had his 200th anniversary, and this was a whole five days ago. This was certainly mentioned in France and I intend to read all about as soon as I can.

Thursday, 8. August is expected to be the date of arrival in New York via Route 66, by way of Chicagophoto: sign, evitez le centre de paris from LA, of 28 or 30 teams piloting pre-war Citroën 'Tractions.' On Friday, the surviving 'Tractions' are scheduled to show off in a parade on 5th Avenue. The first date is roughly 10 days from now.

The reason for re-running this stuff is that I have to start part one of my holiday very early tomorrow, and I am too keyed up to think of anything else useful to add here even though there never is anything 'useful' with the 'count-up' or down business. Not since the fake '2000' thing anyway which began about 700 days early.

So without much more fooling around all I'd like to say is thank you for reading this magazine, thanks for sending me your comments, and thanks for turning up at the weekly club meetings. Enjoy your stay in Paris. Bonne vacances! A bientôt,
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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