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 te 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?


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