...Continued from page 1

Of course there are after-dark play parts of the city that draw residents from all over and from the suburbs, but these are seldom village-like, except possibly in the daytime. Many major shopping streets are not villages at all because nobody lives on them and nighttime window shopping is not a great activity here.

But it is possible that just a block away the city changes to residential, and if it isn't too middle-class then it can be like a village.

Nighttime traffic in a village is slight and there is no danger when walking in the middle of the street. Maybe this is the first indication - nobody is riding around from across town - everybody you see lives nearby. Men are taking their wives' dogs for a final tour.

The wide avenue that is like a battleground to cross during the day, is nearly carless at night. The crazed scooter drivers are drinking on Oberkampf, and the commuters have regained their parkingphoto: fillon dit non, le parisien, 26 may places in the near and far suburbs. The police are not ferrying prisoners to and from courts and the buses are sleeping. Mindless armies of traffic lights wink from red to green and from green to red.

Off the avenue, the village street is empty except for the dozing cars and motorcycles and scooters. A bar's sign glows red a block away and then there are a few neon signs, and in the far distance another small cluster of neons for cafés and maybe restaurants.

The loudest noise comes from a green garbage truck momentarily crossing an intersection 500 metres away. Other wisps of music drift from open windows. Because it is night and it is a big city there is an overall hum that normally is inaudible, but it is not right here.

What it is 'right here' is bucolic. I said village. If you live in one you know what I mean. You may know half of the few people who are still out and walking around, like I do.

But unlike your village, if it is a village and not a mere suburb, if I feel like it I can walk half a kilometre to a respectable place that will be full of non-village people until dawn, or even later if they are truly living 24 hours a day in the city.

Having villages in the city, having a city full of villages, offers a lot of choice. Even if you don't use all of them, they are - in Paris, for example.

'Mardi Noir' Part Four

The minister for social affairs, François Fillon, is reported as having said Non! to demands that he roll back the proposed 'reforms' that are the part of the reason for all of the recent street demonstrations and scattered strikes throughout France during recent weeks.

After arranging for 3-400,000 objectors to march in Paris on Sunday - on a Sunday! - unions and theirphoto: angry midwives on the march members throughout France are not about to mildly accept a three-letter one-word response. 'Mardi noir' repeats tomorrow and is foreseen to continue for the future.

Even 'angry' midwives are on the march.

Tuesday, 27. May:- Air France says traffic controllers will not be providing full service, causing many flight cancellations. Trans-continental flights are supposed to be assured. Metropole readers say this was not the case during the last 'Mardi noir.'

Tuesday, 27. May:- other services affected will be public hospitals, until Tuesday, 3. June. La Poste and France Télécom will also be affected, as well as the ANPE employment service, for three days. Garbage collectors in Paris have issued an unlimited strike warning. Teachers are on strike all over, with a quarter of schools affected indefinitely. Tax collectors have also been called out, perhaps widening their action on 3. June.

Tuesday, 2. June:- many of the SNCF's unions have said they will stage a national rail strike, beginning at 20:00. This may last more than one day. The same action for Paris' transit authority, the RATP, is planned for Wednesday by its unions.

'About' Café Metropoleô Blanc de Blanc

The most recent news about Metropole's wine was the report by Allan Pangborn about taking the wine to the 'Taste Washington' exhibition in Seattle, where visitors to the Moonlight booth had to stand in line to get a taste or two. Use this link to take you to this news about Metropole's sparkling wine, with vague links to all the previous 'news' about it.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Tap this link lightly to get last week's "I need help from an expert" club meeting report.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 29. May. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint-Aymar. Alas, another sadly forgettable saint. How did these even get on my calendar?

Only a few of the minor details concerning the club can be found handily grouped on the all-purpose 'About the Club' page, because there aren't more than a few. The virtual membership card on this page may also be useful, but many members have ceased to be impressed with it. It is still free though.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 7.22 - 27. May 2002 - This issue began with the Café Metropole column, 'George Visits Jacques.' This issue's 'Au Bistro' column's title was 'Europe Needs Immigrants?' The update for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 30. May contained aphoto: sculpture, doorway decor colorful quote with, "Where Are All the Flower Stalls?" The Scene column's title was 'The Everything Weekend.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's 'Cartoon of the Week' was captioned, "Eddie, Wake Up!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.21 - 21. May 2001 - This issue's Café Metropole column was headlined, 'A Bungled Issue?' Like this one. The 'Au Bistro' column was missing entirely, which is no longer new. The features of the week were titled 'Nothing New à l'Ouest, With Dennis Again' and 'Roll Around Paris, Day and Night.' The Café Metropole Club update for this issue on 31. May had a kind of '2nd 'Blot of the Week' report. The 'Scene' column was also missing, but there were two email features, 'Take a Bus!' from Mary Copeland and 'Seen the Moosehead?' by Alan Pavlik. There were the four brand-new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon announced, "Time To Upgrade!" Does the same thing happen every year? Nearly.

For Diehard Hardcore Countdown Fans

With minimum fanfare, the number of days left this year is 219. This may not seem like an overly long time untilphoto: sign, number 18 2004, but you never know. Otherwise it is nearly no time at all until summer, which is 'officially' only 27 short days from today, which is less than a month unless it is February.

For those too impatient to wait for summer, a preview of it is planned to begin tomorrow, Tuesday. Hawaiian shirts days are back.
signature, regards, ric

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