Summertime Issue

photo: cafe antoine lili

By the Canal Saint-Martin, this café-restaurant, is
definitely not art déco.

Extra Early Special, But Brief

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 21. April 2003:- I wish I could run last week's - day late - weather prediction here again. The prediction was correct and the weather was beautiful from Wednesday to Friday, cloudless and very warm for April, and many other months.

Before it was over Le Parisien declared it to be 'Summer in April' on Thursday morning and I agree that is what it was.

Of course the weekend was Easter, so except for Good Friday the rest of it tried to be as miserable as it always does, with chilly rain especially saved for dumping on us on Sunday.

This issue is full of the weather-that-was so there's no need to dwell on it - farewell summer 2003!

What is forecast to come is not the stuff postcards are made of. If, in the near future, only Wednesday is forecast to be somewhat sunny, then we have to be glad that high temperatures are not supposed to be lower than 20 degrees - maybe even getting up to 22 on Thursday as the sky clouds over.

This is not too bad because it might even be a bit 'above average' for the time of year. To take it in stride, I just have to forget last week.

Maybe I shouldn't have devoted this issue to it. Years from now some hapless browser will stumble on it with a Web search, and show up in Paris with nothing but three Hawaiian shirts and some suntan creme.

Of course this is no worse than all of last week's visitors wondering what to do with their raincoats and umbrellas. Is there some middle way, some compromise?

Coming with nothing isn't the answer. The winter sales are over and the summer sales are farphoto: sailboats, round pond, tuileries off. But the economy is stumbling along, practically grovelling on its hands and knees, and many shops have promotions right now - for spring and summer wear.

Sailboats in the Tuileries last Wednesday.

But before you think this will be the solution, just remember that spring as a season here is tricky, and all the winter gear is gone. The Paris solution for this are the de-branded shops, that are always trying to sell last season's no-name-branded goods, for discount prices.

Just as I discount the weather here, just about everything else except food is 'on sale' somewhere for some price that might be right for you.

Café Life

Easter Emptiness

There are probably a lot of people who envy me my job. But I tell you, it is not all wine and roses. Last week, on account of a surprise 'summer' lasting three days, I was on the march all over the city looking for suitably soothing waters.

I took a lot of photos. There is a fountain at Concorde that I am addicted to. If it is in form, and it was last Wednesday, I cannot help taking a dozen photos of it. I can't tell which one will be used, so all of them have to be treated. I like doing this, so you can envy me for it, even if you know I have to work all night.

Then, I get emails too. One important one was from a football fan in New Zealand who is going to show up here in June with 26 other unrelated football fans from New Zealand. They need a common place to meet to talk about football and how to defend themselves from pickpockets.

I know a very serious football and rugby fan at the café Le Bouquet. He is there almost every evening, but hephoto: fiat 500 of the week wasn't there on Wednesday. I left a note for him. At noon on Friday the café's patron told me the note was delivered. My expert wasn't there Friday evening, nor on Saturday. But there's time.

This week's nifty and exclusive 'Fiat 500 of the Week.'

In fact I didn't see anybody on Friday or Saturday evenings. Sunday, with its rain, was even more deserted than a Sunday usually is. Dennis was probably in Rome, or tearing up Naples, but I never usually see him on Sundays anyway.

It wasn't until I got an email from the server-lady telling me about the huge traffic jams coming back to Paris that I realized that 15 million people drove around France, having their Easter holidays in cars, because it was Easter.

You could tell this was so this morning when the Monoprix was jammed to its rafters, full of people buying food as if they hadn't eaten for two days. The fact of it was that they hadn't done their usual weekend food shopping on account of being in traffic jams. It was bedlam.

Some of the supermarket's shelves were empty so I just bought water, even though I have plenty already. When I got back to the office I decided to reply to the lady who wrote to say that she had read all of Metropole and couldn't find any photos of a typical building in the business district, nor any photos of a typical street in Paris.

My reply to her took a lot longer than I intended. The long version went like this, 'There aren't any photos of typical buildings in the business district or any photos of typical streets in Paris because there aren't any.'

This was a bit snippy but it was partly Jonathan's fault. He was the first person I've seen all weekend and I bumpedphoto: square vert galant into him in the boulangerie this morning. He was deciding not to get an extra 'treat' because he hadn't bet, as he said, 'on the second horse.' He asked me if I thought Seattle Slew could be a grandfather.

The park on the Ile de la Cité named after Henri IV's nickname.

I don't know anything about horses except most of them have four legs. Then he told me I had been in a dream he had last night. "You were going to show everybody a video thing, but we couldn't find your place," he said.

I said I live right around the corner. He said, "I know, but we still couldn't find it."

Isn't it the way? Easter comes along and everybody leaves town and when they get back they say they had a dream where they couldn't find you. I never liked Easter and I never liked looking for Easter eggs in sleeting rain. Who even wants to find a cold colored hard-boiled egg covered with sleet?

Artist's Open Doors

Since there is no new 'Scene' column this week, this is where I will mention that there will be 120cartoon: open doors artists ateliers open artists' ateliers in the 14th arrondissement next weekend, on 26 and 27. April. See the works of 300 of my neighborhood artist friends from 11:00 to 19:00 on Saturday and Sunday.

This 'toon needs no caption, but some words are required here for spacing.

There will be a lot of other activities along with this, with some street acts, including Lulu, Rita and Renato in the Rue Daguerre and some Brazilian crew traipsing around. For details, call in at the Mairie of the 14th arrondissement on either day. Métro: Mouton-Duvernet.

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

Last week's issue featured a report by Allan Pangborn about taking Metropole's wine to the 'Taste Washington' exhibition in Seattle, where visitors to the Moonlight booth had to stand in line to get a taste. Use this link to take you to the latest news about Metropole's sparkling wine, with vague links to all the previous 'news' about it.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Click this link to last week's 'Mark Kritz' First 'First' club meeting report. Mark became a member quite earlyphoto: visit sewers, egouts in the club's life and comes to meetings often, but more often than not he leaves early. Last week he arrived for the meeting slightly before the club's secretary for his first 'First,' even though the club's secretary wasn't late.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 24. April. The saint's day of the week will be Saint-Fidèle. This saint is not listed under saint's names. It is not listed as a town in France either. How it got on the calendar for 24. April is a total mystery to me, especially since this is a Republican country.

Ninety-five percent of the many details concerning the club - not much more than the club's address is useful to know - are handily placed on the one-stop 'About the Club' page. The virtual membership card on this page may be useful. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have made it for you.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 7.17 - 22. April 2002 - This issue started off with the Café Metropole column's ' Shocko Horror Election Show.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline screamed 'Stupefication! Le Pen Beats Jospin.' This issue's feature was titled, 'Election Springtime - Some of the Players.' The update for the Café Metropole Club meetings on 25. April featured the quote, "I Just Want Some Red Shoes!" as the report's title. This issue's 'Scene' column was suspended indefinitately. Therephoto: sign, promenade quai d'orsay were four glittering new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was called, 'Non Vote.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.17 - 23. April 2001 - The week's Café Metropole column was titled, 'Lucky Poster Tour.' The 'Au Bistro' column's headline was 'The Bridges of May.' The feature of the week was titled '21,173 Meals In France - 'French Fried,' by Harriet Welty Rochefort. The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 26. April had the 'Sidewalk' Is Not Cricket' report. The 'Scene' column headline was, 'Paris Tangos Again!' There were the four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon explained, 'How French Toast Was Invented,' which has not been challenged yet. This issue's Photo Page featured 'The Tower and the Flame.'

Numbers for Foodies

Forget Georges Simenon and his 100th anniversary. I don't know the date of it anyway. Ever eagle-eyed Jim Auman has written to say that Maxim's restaurant is 100 years old sometime this month. Actually the famous restaurant will be 110 years old on Wednesday. But its art déco interior wasn't added until 10 years later, which is what it is famous for - rather than the fact that neither Jim nor I can afford to look at it.

In another food milestone, the Tour d'Argent - which claims to be 400 years old - since 1582 - will be celebrating another number this month on Tuesday, 29. April, when one of 120 specially invited guests will officially get the restaurant's one millionth pressed duck.

At the same time the command of the sixth-floor restaurant that overlooks Notre-Dame willphoto: plaque, pelouses et baignades interdits, risques d'accidents des canons pass from the hands of Claude Terrail, 85, to André Terrail, his son. 'Caneton Tour d'Argent' was first placed on the Tour d'Argent's menu in 1890.

'Grass and swimming forbidden. Beware of the cannons.'

According to the Associated Press report, ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani did away with duck number 971,612, narrowly missing the magic number that could have made him famous. The duck is prepared according to an ancient recipe, designed for 19th and 20th century people with serious appetites.

It was reported that one American customer said to the owner, 'I hate your duck.' It is not reported who ate duck number one, but as with many of the restaurants earlier customers, this person is unlikely to be able to repeat the experience on account of age rather than lack of desire.

For duck-pressed count-down fans, the number of days left this year is 253. This may seem like a long time until 2004, but it is no time at all until summer, which is 'officially' only 62 days off. Unofficially, we had a preview of summer already, so don't expect any more.
signature, regards, ric

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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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