Call for Beano 'List'

photo: cafe la corona, paris

The club's café meeting place, battered by gusty winds
and failing daylight.

The Big 'Wind of the Week'

Paris:- Thursday, 2. January 2003:- If I hadn't closed the window sometime during the night I would have had more rain on the face than I had. Window open or closed, I didn't have to move my head this morning to see blue sky. I didn't wait around for two minutes for it to be covered totally by overcast.

On account of today's rapid breezes this is what it did. Last night France and Parisians were warned that breezes were coming and they got here maybe a little ahead of time. They are pushing thick clouds across the country - the TV-weather animation doesn't show where they're going.

From the looks of it, they bunch up at the frontiers and, well, I guess they just pile up there. When they get high enough they topple over into Germany or some other place. They certainly don't fall back into France. All the stuff we get is new every day. If you can believe TV-weather news.

If you can, it claimed that December was the warmest in 50 years. Imagine - Parisians were basking on New Years Eve in 1952! To celebrate the anniversary, 450,000 of them were on the Champs-Elysées on Tuesday night - but TV here did not show this.

The operating all night métros, RERs and buses are thought to have transported about a millionphoto: terrace sunlight, mr ferrat party folks, but TV-news did not show this either. As far as TV was concerned, New Years Eve out on the streets of Paris did not happen.

Monsieur Ferrat makes sure the club secretary doesn't park on the café's terrace.

I was out of town anyway, minding a cat named Tiger. According to satellite-TV, Cairo TV showed Berliners doing crazy stuff and Londoners trying to do crazy stuff without doing it in Cape Trafalgar Square, and the 'big apple' dropped on a million people jammed into the Times Square area of Manhattan. But Paris was blacked-out.

It was still blacked-out when I got back to town yesterday, but this was because it was close to midnight. I took advantage of this by going to sleep - after eliminating 250-odd pieces of junk email - and vowed to 'do better' in 2003.

Ah, yes - the weather 'report' part of this 'report.' To continue, it will be the same as before, but it will get colder by the weekend. It might be kind of sunny for some periods of Saturday, but the exact time for this prediction is unclear.

Today is breezy. It is warm, but it is very breezy. Things are quiet on Rivoli when I get to it, but where it is open by the Pont Neuf, it is really breezy. There are not many people enjoying this freshness on the Quai du Louvre.

At the Amiral de Coligny corner, the breeze is so stiff that it is blowing pedestrians off the sidewalk into the Café La Corona. Breathless people are huddled in the café's bar area, trying to hide from doors opening, thrusting lusty gusts inside.

Patrick, the club's usual 'Waiter of the Week' quits 'plonging' café cups and spoons long enough to dry his hands for a New Years' shake. He tells me - the club's secretary - that there were six members present last week. I hope somebody kept 'regulation' notes about this meeting, whoever you are.

When I enter the café's 'grande salle' I see that it is two-thirds full of people blown-in off the sidewalks. I have never seen the place so full before. The airy room reeks of onion soup. So it should. Let this go down in history's 'report' - today in Paris is an official onion soup day.

The club's area has been cleared away for me to lay out the club's Parcheesi board. This vast space lasts about four minutes until a family group showing signs of severe wind-chill factor something or other appropriates half of it.

To this I do not object, because today is not an 'official' club day - the club's secretary is sort of 'on holiday.' Sort of 'on holiday' at the club, this actually is.

The first members to arrive today are Sharon and Elliot Medrich from Oakland, California. They have beenphoto: sharon, elliot medrich club members since 20. December 2000. They were at last week's unofficial meeting too, but did not actually meet the other six new or existing members, so they have no 'report' to make about the meeting.

Elliot and Sharon enjoy Paris in mid-winter in our warm café.

Instead they tell me about sleeping in Mussolini's not long but wide bed in a hotel in Italy. They would have seen some lakes there too if it had not been so foggy. They also say they will not visit the same New Years Eve restaurant for any future New Years Eves in Paris.

In contrast, they had a great time at Sacre Coeur on Montmartre yesterday, surrounded by the usual New Year's crowd of well-dressed Italians. I have seen them there on New Year's Day too. If it is foggy they can be a cheery sight in the gloom.

More people keep coming into the café for onion soup. Soups finished, they linger. Or maybe they are waiting for seconds. I guess I had better make onion soup the 'Soup of the Week' because Oakland has been 'City of the Week' before. Just for today, it'll probably be the 'Onion Soup of the Year' day.

Since I am on holiday, I do not keep careful notes for this report. Elliot thinks I should ask members to give the club restaurant tips, so a list could be made up for distribution to everybody. He says he will respond to any questionnaire the club puts up.

This is obviously the 'Idea of the Week.' If any readers or club members, even if you happen to be both or neither, care to send in lists of your Paris restaurants - I will promise not to bother you with any questionnaires. I know this sounds kind of lame, so I will make it 'official' - but, as ever, not a 'rule.'

Call for Your Favorite Restaurants

No members of this club are assumed to feel like buying all of the 74-odd Paris restaurant guidesphoto: cafe of the week currently in print, so be kind enough to send in the names of your favorites so that they can be put into a list that will be printed and handed out free to all attending members who remember to ask for it.

True news of the 1. January Champs-Elysées fête is found in Le Parisien (under café).

This will be a club-typical 'no rules' list and any sort of restaurant can be included, even if it is a snack- stand that you consider to have the best crêpes in town. Any café with decent café will be welcomed to the list too, mostly by the club's secretary.

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