...Continued from page 1

People seemed to be on all the bridges, on the quays opposite and in big crowds idling past the bookstalls. On the speedway, skaters rolled, bikers glided and the rest travelled on foot, happy to be getting nowhere much not too fast.

Across the Pont Notre-Dame the flower market in the Place Louis Lépine had been taken over by vendors of little birds and cages of all sizes for them.

Throngs of other people were passing from one bank of the Seine to the other and all the cafés around Place Saint-Michel were full.

Just after the Boulevard Saint-Germain, I missed a 'photo of the year' when there was a freak pausephoto: expressway right bank in the usually heavy traffic, giving an unobstructed view of the Cluny baths. I hung around for ten changes of the traffic lights, but the moment was gone.

Snack stop for thirsty strollers on right-bank expressway.

Even in the shade, all the café terraces in the Place de la Sorbonne were full. Further up Saint-Michel, sun lovers were having a convention at the cafés opposite the Luxembourg gardens.

But this was minor compared to the numbers in the gardens themselves. From a distance it looked like water fans were ten-deep around the big pond in front of the palace. Hordes were sprinkled everywhere I looked in the shade under the trees too.

It was further to go than I intended, so I left the park at the Rue Auguste Comte. I couldn't figure out why Saint-Michel was so quiet until a couple of thousand people on rollers came past, headed towards the Seine.

After they passed, there was a broken down old Renault R5 being pushed uphill by its driver, in the upcoming lane reserved for buses. A traffic cop who had been watching the Rue Auguste Comte, ran down and got behind the car and helped push it up.

When my bus 38 came, it was overfull of Parisians who all probably had a bit too much fresh air. We were crammed together like sardines all the way to Denfert.

Strikes of the Week on Thursday

These are forecast to be groupedphoto: rollers, bd st michel, sunday on Thursday, which is also predicted to be cool. Several of the SNCF's unions will be sitting out the day and this will affect suburban rail traffic in the Paris area.

Sunday's last act - a couple of thousand folks rolling around Paris.

Only one of the RATP's unions has called for a day of no métros and buses, but it is the biggest union. If you are flying, note that air traffic controllers will be also having a protest day. Teachers will also abandon classes - which will cause many parents to stay away from work.

There will not be a total shut-down of public transport, or flights, but both will be more or less affected. Make your plans accordingly.

Six unions will be involved, and they plan to have a common protest march from the Place le la République to Saint-Augustin, beginning at 13:00. Expect this to seriously confuse traffic on the right bank.

Public sector workers are unhappy with the government's proposed 'reform' of pension plans. You don't have to be French to know that the word 'reform' usually means 'less' - except when coupled with 'taxes.'

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

Silence on this subject means that a great deal of work is going on behind the scenes at 'The Shed,' as the winery is known. Use this link to take you to the latest news about Metropole's sparkling wine, and to all the previous 'news' about it.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Tap this link to last week's 'Red Dirt' Arrives In Paris!' club meeting report. The news wasn't absence of members from New Jersey - there were none - but a very live reminder of the club's very first 'Quote of the Week.'

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 3. April. The saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Saint-Richard. He is no relation. He doesn't seem to be even named after a town in France. This saint may be a mistake.

Nearly all of the details concerning the club - only the club's address is useful to know - are handily placed on the one-stop compact 'About the Club' page. The virtual membership card on this page may be useful, but only one member has ever claimed this.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 7.13/14 - 25. March 2002 - This slim double issue began with the Café Metropole column's 'Taking Another Powder To New York.' But not this year! The one feature was titled 'Do-It-Yourselfers at the Salon du Livre.' The updates for the Café Metropole Club meetings on 28. March and 4. April had no titles. The blurb said, 'Seephoto: flowers, montsouris late reports in issue 7.15.' The updates were done 'on time' by Linda Thalman, but put online later. This issue's 'Scene' column had 'Brava At the Café de Flore.' There were four brand new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' had the caption, 'Easter Recycled.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.14 - 2. April 2001 - The week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Springtime for Museums.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Jacques Gets a Summons.' The feature of the week was titled 'A New New-Age 'Startup.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 5. April had the 'Late Mardi Gras On 'Black Thursday II' report. The 'Scene' column had a 'Run Around Paris.' There were four stunningly new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon was captioned, "What Kind of 'Ed' Are You?" This issue's Photo Page featured 'Behind the Louvre's Pyramid.'

38 Cups of Ghastly Instant-coffee

Early last Thursday morning Metropole's Web-server quit broadcasting Metropole's pages to readers. The cause of the failure was not mechanical. The Café Metropole Club's secretary did not find out about this until the club 'report' was to be uploaded, very early on Friday morning.

There may be some readers and club members who think Metropole's server-lady Linda Thalman servesphoto: park weigh scale drinks somewhere, or only takes rock-and-roll dancing and sailing lessons, and jollies up occasional club meetings, but this is not the entire story.

Way, way, far behind the scenes, the server-lady keeps Metropole's Web-server running. Mostly - for over seven years now - it has spun smoothly around with only the rarest occasional hiccup. After 38 cups of ghastly instant-coffee the sleepless server-lady reported that Metropole was online again on Saturday. It was only Sunday that the club's secretary could upload the Thursday meeting report.

As 'Ed' I apologize for the inconvenience. Also as 'Ed,' I am grateful to the server-lady for the extraordinary effort she made to restore Metropole Paris to the 'Net. Sending a 'thankyou' to Linda Thalman for her efforts will not be amiss. I have already written to her.

Thanks also go to concerned readers and club members who sent alerts to me, 'Ed,' or the club's secretary.

For sleepless count-down fans, the number of days left this year is 275. This may seem like a long time until 2004, and it still seems to be a long time until summer, which is 'officially' 83 long days from now. Almost in telescope range.
signature, regards, ric

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