...Continued from page 1

Dozy in Paris

It really annoys me to do the 'Metropole One Year Ago' lower on this page when I look at what I've put in these past few issues, and see how industrious I used to be. Maybe I'm getting old and running out of ideas. Maybe I just get less out of every minute of the day. Maybe it is this particular year.

One thing is certain, Paris usually does not have a definable season called 'spring.' You might not even call the two good weeks we had fairly recently a whole season, but they were exceptional. So much so that my winter view of the cemetery across the street has disappeared behind the beginning of a fresh screen of green.

Two weeks ago the buds were barely showing. It has been like an explosion. There are trees around that are a bit slower to get started, but all over Paris there are blossoms and most trees are fully clothed. It makes me dozy just to think about it.

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

Continuing 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'

Pop this link to last week's "Je ne suis pas content!" club meeting report. The news wasn't absence of members from New Jersey - there were none from any state, territory, city or country.

On account of no members, the club's secretary grabbed at a straw offered by a member who wrote to propose 'Yahoo Junction, Florida.' On reading the name of this 'City of the Week,' member Jan Shaw pointed out that its correct name is Yeehaw Junction.

A triple apology is required here. One goes to the brave citizens of Yeehaw Junction, the second goes to the folksphoto: my window view, 7 april living in Yahoo Junction wherever it is, and finally the club's secretary begs forgiveness for foolishly breaking a club 'rule,' even though there aren't any, for adding a 'City of the Week' to a memberless club report.

My current view of the Montparnasse cemetery is mostly green.

The only good that could come from this is putting up the idea of using Yeehaw Junction as the name for a new Web search engine.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 10. April. The 100th saint's 'Day of the Year' will be Saint-Fulbert. This saint doesn't seem to be named after any place in France. The nearest match is Saint-Fulgent, which is a bit southeast of Nantes.

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 Two Years Ago:

Issue 6.15 - 9. April 2001 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column's 'For More Sports.' The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined 'Bernard Tapie Is Back.' There were two features, titled 'Echoes Along the Seine' by Robert F. Burgess, and 'Are the Trains Running? Puzzled?' An email feature's headline was 'More Than Underwear at Stake.' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 12. April was the 'On the Loose, the 'Jersey Four' report. There were fourphoto: sign, rue des prestres 12 brand new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' had the caption, 'Our Sports Reporter.' A photo page featured 'Dimitri's View.'

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 5.15 - 10. April 2000 - The week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Socko Dwarf Show.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'Gnome Snatch At Bagatelle.' The itsy-bitsy features of the week were titled '10,000 Minis On Display at Model Show' and 'A Bagatelle of Dwarfs - 2000 of Them!' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 13. April had the 'Starving In Paris' report. There was another club item called 'Brooklyn Makes 'City of the Week.' The 'Scene' column had a 'All the Stuff, from Soup to Nuts.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon was captioned, 'Don't Rush!'

The Tour de France

This bike race around France started out in 1903 - one hundred tears ago! - as a promotional stunt to sell more copies of a newspaper named 'L'Auto' than its competitor which was called 'Le Vélo.' There were, at the time, more bikes around than cars - but 'Le Vélo' didn't know that it would be eclipsed by 'L'Auto,' with a bike race.

The first race was won by the well-known French rider, Maurice 'Chimney Sweeper' Garin. There were only six stages and riders were expected to ride all night because nobody provided hotel rooms. There was no TV coverage anyway.

The 'Tour' almost finished its history the following year because some competitors hitched rides on cars or even trains, and their fans strewed nails across the paths of other riders. 'L'Auto' felt like giving up on the idea, but decided to add mountain stages instead.

This caused the 1906 winner René Pottier to hang himself from a bicycle hook just beforephoto: plaque, jefferson stayed here, 92 champs elysees the 1907 Tour. The race's length had doubled to 4500 kilometres and he just couldn't face it. Luckily, he quit before the really high mountain stages began in 1911.

A scout was sent out to check these and he reported back that the Pyrenees might be passable in summer. Riders called the organizer an assassin, but went out and rode over the peaks anyway.

A plaque seen at 92. Avenue des Champs- Elysées.

Riders had to fix their own flats, and when one broke his forks in the mountains, he borrowed a local forge and made new ones. It is not clear whether he was penalized for having a small boy operate the bellows for the forge.

Competitors no longer do their own repairs, but the race is just as tough - more stages, edgy sponsors - and they can run into bad weather in the mountains, and over-enthusiastic fans can be troublesome. Outside of cities all over Europe, you constantly see riders training for a race, or 'the' race.

For race-stressed count-down fans, the number of days left this year is 268. This may seem like a long time until 2004, and it still seems to be a long time until summer, which is 'officially' 76 long days from now. Almost in microscopic range.
signature, regards, ric

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