The Resolution for 2OO3!

photo: cafe le st remy, bar, brasserie, 1 jan 2003

At the only café in Saint-Rémy, you take the only
café available.

'Ed' To Take a Powder First

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 6. January 2003:- The weather started out innocently enough on Saturday with a forecast for partly cloudy, partly sunny skies, with the temperatures to top out at three degrees. On this day 'Ed' planned to get this issue's poster photos, on account of the miserable rain on Friday.

Late in the morning - there is no 'early in the morning for 'Ed' - small snow flakes were fluttering down. Nothing for me to worry about - snow seldom sticks in Paris - there will be sunny periods by afternoon.

By noon it was difficult to see across the street and the top of the Tour Montparnasse might as well have been in the Alps for all that could seen of it.

Well then, I thought, I'd better go and get the February 'futures' from the Tourist Office on the Champs-Elysées, so that I can take the poster photos in the afternoon. On the way, I saw that north-facing posters were defaced with snow. 'It'll melt away by mid-afternoon,' I told myself.

But on the métro's line six to Etoile, where it crosses the Seine, the Tour Eiffel was invisible. At Etoile, right beside it, the Arc de Triomphe was nearly invisible. Some visitors - some few - were taking pictures of each other, pretending they were in Moscow.

The going was tricky - very slippery. But the wide avenue was easy to cross because there weren't many cars around. There were more staff in the Tourist Office than visitors. From inside it, outside looked like nearly night.

There's only so many blizzard photos that will fit in here - rare as they may be - so I only went as farphoto: blizzard, 3 cars as the métro at George V before submerging again. I must of have been daydreaming during the underground ride because I was somewhat surprised to find it still snowing when I emerged at Denfert.

Three stages of the blizzard on Saturday.

This 'blizzard of the week' came on the fourth day of the New Year. Except for causing the closure of all the parks and cemeteries, Paris took it in its stride.

But Saturday was also the day chosen by hordes of seasonal holidayers to return to the city by car, and they ran into far more severe conditions on the roads in the departments surrounding the capital.

Practically all of the major routes were blocked by slippery snow, ice, stalled highway trucks - which in turn stalled all other traffic. In Essonne, where I'd spent New Years, about 15,000 people in cars were stranded all night.

Some were housed in gymnasiums, but many others could not be reached - and road crews were severely hampered because of all the stalled cars and trucks on the roads leading into Paris. Secondary routes, if they could be reached, had even less attention paid to them, and were just as impassable.

The airports were forced to shut down too, stranding even more travellers. With the fall of night on Saturday, ice covered what snow didn't.

Temperatures have stayed at zero, but the snow has moved to southern France, sprinkling white fluff along the Pyrenees from Biarritz to Perpignan, and as far east as Marseille and Corsica.

For the following days, snow is successively predicted for the west coast, the entire centre, then the southeast - with maybe a rise to plus temperatures and sunny periods by next Friday.

Last Saturday's 'blizzard' in northern France was caused by temperatures only two or three degrees less than forecast by France Météo, plus an unpredictable but exact combination of other totally random factors.

Even though this is about the weather, you will probably pleased to learn that the 'governor' is looking for somebody to blame for Saturday's fiasco. All the various 'investigations' that have been announced by those in charge may be able to produce an authoritive report sometime around Easter.

But if you are too impatient to wait, the simple reason for the grand schmozzle is that nobody figured out how to tell thousands of motorists that they were heading for impassable roads.

Café Life

No More Brown Water!

Usually I have some miscellaneous comments to make here about life in Paris, but this week I can't think of anything to say other than café tastes better sometimes in Paris than it sometimes does outside of Paris.

One night last week I was watching a movie on video and a character in it made a comment about coffee. She said, "This coffee tastes like brown water!"

Here and now, 'The Resolution' for 2003! From now on any time I am served 'brown water' insteadphoto: snow, av gen leclerc, 4 jan 03 of proper café in Paris I am going to protest. A buck for a thimble of it is simply too much. For 'brown water' even 50 cents is too much.

My own main street, 30 minutes before getting to Siberia's Champs-Elysées.

Since I no longer drink beer, I am not going to protest about the near uniform lousy beer in France. Good beer is available, but it can hardly survive the way it is mis-served. The same applies to café. There is no lack of the good stuff - it only tastes like 'brown water' because nobody objects to it.

None of the above comment concerns Metropole's own wine, which tastes wonderful because is have been made right. Putting it in a suitable glass requires no special expertise.

About Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

Two or three weeks ago Allan Pangborn sent some photos of the intricate machinery used for makingphoto: cleaning winery windowsCafé Metropole Blanc de Blanc. And for wine fans there was some positive news for sparkling grape fanciers in New York State.

The wine-making tool Allan has been using to wash windows.

Allan has just written to say that things are pretty quiet at the winery. Quiet enough for him to be able to use one of its major pieces of equipment, as an aid for washing windows. This can only mean that spring cannot be far off in eastern Washington State. Or, maybe, he wants clean windows so that he can see the impending winter better.

Café Metropole Club Notes

Tap this link to last week's windy 'Call for Beano 'List' club meeting report. This was a quiet meeting, made possible by the attendance of less than 15 club members.

Sharon and Elliot Medrich proposed the idea that readers and club members send in names of their favorite restaurants in Paris - to be shared with all other club members and readers. This is to be sort of the club's own guide, selected exclusively by its hungrier members.

This prompted club members Amy and Tim Cissell in Richardson, Texas, to respond a day later with two of their favorites - La Truffière in the Rue de Blainville and L'Excuse in the Rue Charles V.

The club's secretary lauds this initiative but has to confess he hasn't worked out the details of thephoto: snow, arc triomphe, visitors, 4 jan 03 Café Metropole Club's list of members' favorite restaurants with Metropole's 'Ed' yet. But it is a good idea and will be taken further later this month when 'Ed' returns from his travels.

Nothing will stop visitors from getting their souvenir photos.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 9. January. The Saint's Day of the Week next Thursday is Alix. The Web-server lady, Linda Thalman, will be hosting this meeting and the following one on 16. January, while the club's regular secretary is basking in New York. Be warned that the server-lady firmly believes all new members should fill out the club's 'questionnaire,' entirely. Her notion of 'no rules' is somewhat inflexible.

All the needless details concerning the club - actually only the club's address is useful to know - are handily available on the 'About the Club' page. If you think the virtual membership card may be useful, you can try to peel it right off the screen and keep it next to your valuables.

Metropole's January Issues

Because this issue 8.01 straddles 2002 and 2003 it gets the double-number of 8.01/8.02, mainly becausephoto: cafe la corona 'Ed' did not want the magazine's 'year' to begin last year. To add to the usual confusion this double-issue may last a long time - until the next regular issue is slated to appear on Monday - about - 27. January - which will be issue 8.05.

The world-famous café where the club members meet.

For two weeks between now and then, Metropole's 'Ed' will be in New York. Some stories and other 'Café Life' may be added to the magazine from across the Atlantic, which may result in Metropole's only month-long issue, perhaps numbered 8.01-8.04. There may also be Café Metropole Club updates added, but if you want to sleep through January, go ahead.

This contradicts information posted here earlier, but planning has never been one of this magazine's major strengths. 'Ed,' who is also the club secretary, expects to host the club meeting on Thursday, 23. January, so its report will be added as usual - to this unusual issue.

Extra-Super Forever-Time Offer

Linda Thalman's 'Paris In Sites Newsletter' has been plugged here for several weeks now. While I was at the Cadillac Ranch recently, I noticed that new subscriptions were coming in nicely, boosting the status of my 'café-credits.'

Linda runs Metropole's Web server. On the side she produces a Paris In Sites newsletter and a companion Web site. Hit the first to subscribe and the second to see the fuller Web version.

Linda chats about language, tourism news, events and stories from and about Paris, France and some very foreign places. She also reports about her various travels to outposts in Essonne - most unordinary places, many with poor café. The newsletter is sent by email every month. Many Café Metropole Club members recommend it too.

The Web site version is more complete as well as being 'in color.' However, I only get the café-credits for subscriptions to the newsletter, so sign up for one in time for the next issue in January.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 7.01/02 - 7. Jan 2002 - This issue, unlike most others, began with the Café Metropole column's 'New York City Wrap.' Then the sole feature was titled 'Two Weeks In New York - Was It One Tour or 12?' Because of the mystery behind this, 'Ed' will be in New York again looking for clues. The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 10. January was called the "Nothing To It!" report of the week. The remainder of the issue was composed entirely of posters. No 'Au Bistro,' no 'Scene,' no cartoon, no mucha anything.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago, Twice

Issue 6.01 - 1. Jan 2001 - This week's Café Metropole column was headlined 'Hello! New Millennium!' The 'Au Bistro' column was absent again. Instead, 'Ed' decided that you should know 'Why I Moved Here.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 4. January, was oddly titled, the "Happy 2002!" report. This issue really shone with two 'Scene' columns. The first was headlined 'Not the Same Old Thing' and the second was called 'The New Years That Was.' The fourphoto: sign, interdit aux cycles et cyclomoteurs new 'Posters of the Week' were featured and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was titled 'The Café of the Year.'

Issue 6.02 - 8. Jan 2001 - This week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Workout At Muscle School.' Au Bistro appeared again with 'Silliness, Folly, Strikes, Floods,' which we can still do without. A whole week after the fact, the issue's bored one and all with 'The 3rd Millennium On the Champs-Elysées.' The 'Scene' column mentioned 'Wide Choices' but the club update on 11. January was really wild with "They Gave Each of Us a Franc!" Then came the usual - but new! - posters of the week and 'Ed's' cartoon of the week had the caption of 'SOS Green Man.' That's how we were back in good old 2001.

The Count-Down That Isn't

This issue will be on the stands so long that its weekly 'count-down' feature will be meaningless before the next complete issue appears. Not only this, but I have no 'count-down' subject anyway.

Some readers may have the impression that they are the only ones to read this online magazine about Paris. Granted that some readers only look at the photos or the posters or even only at the cartoon - I still think it might be worthwhile that you know you are not entirely alone.

Unlike some megabucks Web sites, Metropole's readership increases slowly - generally showing annualphoto: sign, no horsemen reader increases of about 50 percent per year. Considering that Metropole started out with zero readers in February 1996, the numbers in early years barely exceeded four digits. Even with four, they were low digits.

This sign probably means 'no horse racing during club meetings.'

Frankly, the numbers produced by server-robots seem to be erratic, but they do indicate a rough trend. Let's take November as an example. It is as erratic as any other month and doesn't always show the highest numbers for any given year. In 2002 the robot tallied nearly 27,000 individual readers for this month.

A year earlier it was 18,725 for the same month, and in 2000 the number was 10,400. Older statistics were very confusing, but 1,980 readers were recorded for the month of September 1996.

It is also useful to remember that WWW stands for World Wide Web and not France-Wide or USA-Wide Web. Thus, in November of 2002, accesses to Metropole were recorded as coming from 95 countries, including three from Zimbabwe. But 373,100 were 'unresolved.' Not clear is whether this 'unresolved' figure is 'and, 'or,' or 'but' - because it is listed within the 'countries' section.

All emails from readers are appreciated. If they are not a big volume - and they are not - it makes it easier to reply to them. During the past year I have not been always able to respond as quickly as I would like to, and I hope this area will improve in 2003.

On occasion some readers, both new and long-time, spontaneously compose some very complimentary messages of praise which I guard as private treasures. My thanks are sincere for these.

The Regular Program

I hope nobody has been startled by the placing of this serious stuff above in a space usually unread because it is usually reserved for 'count- ups-downs-sideways' fun and boring chaff. Metropole is about Paris, but it is not supposed to be too serious - for after all even if it is supposed to be a 'feast,' there's no reason not to have it as a party.
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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