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Pretty Good 'Botched' Weather

photo: cafe le central ville, montorgueil

Pretty good botched photo of a great café.

Driverless Métro Line Goes Further

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Tuesday, 16. December 2003:- Normally doing the week's semi-annual weather forecast is a no–brainer. This week, by no special request, it is being done by a no–brainer. If it had been done yesterday it would have been as thoughtfully philosophical as ever, but today is my 'day off.'

So I did not buy today's copy of Le Parisien. But with yesterday's carefully marked up – for yesterday – I have paid close attention to tonight's TV– news, the whole time from 20:00 to 20:55, when the news' commercials ended and were replaced by tonight's football match.

Too late I switched channels, to see the commercials that follow the other channel's TV–weather news. Big oops!

Thus it is folks, that for the first time in Metropole's history of publishing this Café' columnphoto: hors service a day late, I offer you yesterday's weather. With this big negative build–up you might think there is going to be something stunning here, but not at all.

Switch gears and start with Wednesday. Instead of being mostly sunny like it was today – but predicted as mostly sunny – it will only be partly sunny tomorrow, but for most of the day. There might be some swampy–looking low cloud to the northeast, if you can believe yesterday's forecast. The high should be six degrees.

Thursday might be sunny all day, with all the mucky weather well to the south. Last night's TV–weather news predicted a high of eight. Into extreme long–range, on Friday, I guess it might be partly sunny when it isn't being mostly cloudy. It might be a degree warmer, if it wasn't for what looks like crummy weather drifting down from the channel.

However it really turns out, all I ask is you try to remember that you don't recall reading this weather forecast here, and watched the football match on TV instead.

Café Life

A Quiet Week

Aside from not completing this column in time for the new issue's somewhat elastic deadline yesterday, nearly the first thing I noticed today is that there is no new 'Crises of the Week' to deal with. There are still somephoto: chocolate boite prestige, 3 kilos unresolved old 'Crises of the Week' lurking about, but they are part–way to being – whatever it is I'm supposed to do with them.

The 'Three-Kilo Box of Chocolates of the Week.'

Last week's problem number one was the failure of the digital camera's cable hookup to the computer. A week later Olympus came through and sent a wrong cable, twice, to Caméra Müller in the Rue des Plantes. As of today, Caméra Müller is still on the job, pestering Olympus.

But the work–around was to get a USB card and drop it into a slot in the computer and add a USB memory–card reader. This was done last Wednesday, so I could go to last Thursday's Café Metropole Club confident that I could come back with photos. I still want a replacement camera cable, in case I have to download photos to some other, older PC–type machine.

It also meant that I could go out and do a small tour of some 'passages' last Wednesday, and have some photos to show for it. Whoopee!

Millions of Words

I have written – over–written? – millions of words in this magazine about Paris, about Paris. I am sure there could be millions of more words to write, and the proof of this is that I am not alone in writing them. It was a big enough industry in the past, and now it's colossal.

One reason Metropole doesn't contain much in the way of 'guide–book' information is that there are so many other existing sources. I thought, while many others continue to re–invent the square root, I would do something else. Perhaps forever, because Paris has so much, past and present, and it's always changing.

This means that when you arrive at one of Paris' airports, if it's only once every couple of years, you will have a new 'experience' because the airports are changing continually. Last week Laurel Avery went to the wrong terminal at Roissy and had quite a time finding the right one.

This generated some comment along the lines of – 'there's five levels at Terminal 1, but 'Arrivals' and 'Departures' have their own levels, and this is how the elevator buttons are labeled.' This completely overlooked the fact that most trans–Atlantic flights arrive and leave from Terminal 2.

Out of curiosity I looked at the Aéroports de Paris Web site. In some obscure corner, several levels deep, I found a map of the photo: cacher fastfood, r fgb montmartreCharles–de–Gaulle airport. It is a very neat design, interactive too, but doesn't show at a glance the names of the three terminals – and the RER links to the city centre are not shown at all.

This week's only photo of a kosher fastfood joint.

On other pages you can find ample information about public transport serving the airport, without any graphic references. Also, I couldn't find any list of which airlines use which terminals. So, even if Laurel's flight ticket had the terminal name on it, but she looked at the Web site to find out how to get to it via the RER, she would have been no wiser.

A recently new Café Metropole Club member gave some thought to Metropole's financial plight and offered some advice. This was welcome because the member has a narrowly focused Web site. In person, he said this was a key to having an income from the Internet.

But the specific advice suggested that Metropole focus on restaurants and dining in Paris, and hotel possibilities. Both of these could be worthwhile – but doesn't this information already exist in abundance? According to the member – no.

I don't have restaurant articles in Metropole mainly because I don't often dine in restaurants. I can't afford them. And if I could, there's too many of them, not counting the frenzy of new ones added each week. Just keeping up with this would drag Metropole off the focus it has.

The hotel and apartment listings have begun, but I doubt I will ever be able to say that I have much personal experience with many. There are 1,452 hotels of all categories in Paris, with 73,617 different rooms, containing 147,234 beds. It sounds like 'A Thousand and One Nights,' without even counting the available apartments too.

I guess it could be a great public service to sort out the mysteries of the airports, list the best restaurants according to a best–value–Parisian ratio, and investigate all the hotels to find the ones with the best locations, service and cleanest sheets – and while I'm at it, find out which airport shuttle services are better than, say, 'Airport Connection.'

'Public service' aside, it seems to me that time spent doing the all of the above, would be time lost to Metropole's seven–year–long notion of 'focus.' They are not bad ideas. Somebody else is probably doing them.

And I'm not saying I'll never do any of them. But I'd rather just keep on walking around and writing more millions of words about what I see, hear, feel, smell, and occasionally, taste.

Rooms to Let Online – 50¢ Etc, Yet Again

Metropole's Lodging page is still online and in this issue. This is likely to be a high-traffic page. Listing your apartment or house for rent on it will have a good chance of getting the results you want.

Don't think about all the extra fiddly work this will be for me - think of it as a way to fill your rooms and make 'Ed' into a near–normal citizen who can afford an occasional café at the Raspail Vert.

Unlike Metropole Paris and the Café Metropole Club, listing your property in Metropole is not 'free.' Rates for your listing will be reasonable. Your announcement will be seen by many people 'just like you' – some who are other club members who you have already met at club meetings. If you have a Web site for your apartment, your listing in Metropole will link to it.

Write today to enquire about details. The exact conditions have not been fixed yet, but they have advanced beyond zero. Your suggestions will be very welcome.

'Shareware' Is Metropole' Only Version

Readers and club members are invited to voluntarily contribute a 'shareware fee' for reading Metropole. If you value this magazine, then you might be able to contribute according to its worth to you – to ensure that its publication continues.

Nobody wants you to 'donate' anythingphoto: foie gras luxe, r montmartre to 'Ed.' The 'share–magazine–ware fee' is not for a subscription with a secret–code access to an exclusive part of the magazine either. Metropole remains a single–version magazine with unlimited access for all. The Café Metropole Club remains just as free as it's always been.

Foie gras joints, even hidden in alleys, are rare in Metropole too.

'Keeping Metropole flying' is simple. You can send your contributions today by hitting this link to the 'support Metropole' page.

Metropole's 'support' page will link you to 'Kagi's' Metropole page. Insert any amount you feel like. The rest of the procedure is like buying anything else via the Internet, with one difference – you can voluntarily contribute any amount you feel comfortable with. Whatever it is, you'll get 'Ed's 'thanks' in a return email, and 'Ed' will make sure you do.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Pop it to this link to have a look at last week's 'The Real Turtle Soup' club 'report.' On an outrageously dreary Paris day, two first–class members showed up to keep company with the club's secretary.

Some terribly minor details concerning the club can all be found on the 'About the Club' page. The virtual recycled–paper but shining new club membership card shown on this page is free, so long as you print it for yourself and all of your neighbors. The card is valid for your whole lifetime worldwide, but ultra–valid in Paris.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 18. December. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint–Gatien, which is spelled the same in English. My saint's book has no reference to this one, but the other part of the name book has a 'Gatien,' who was the first bishop of Tours, a really long time ago.

As an exceptional exception, but mainly because the club's café will be closed, there will be no meeting of the Café Metropole Club on Christmas Day, Thursday, 25. December.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 7.51/52 – 16/25. Dec 2002 – The issue began simply enough with the Café Life column's 'Wednesday, 25. December.' But there was a Café Metropole column too, titled, ' A Small Issue, For Real.' Yet another update of 'Wine News' was headlined, 'Tools of the Trades.' The Scene and Noël 2002 columns were last seen in the previous issue. The club's update on 19. December wasphoto: sign, telephone public titled, the 'Amsterdam, Oh, Amsterdam!' report. There were six new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon was captioned, "Turkey Pizza!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 6.51/52 – 17/24. Dec 2001 – The Café Metropole column's headline was 'The Weather, Coluche and the Euro.' The Au Bistro headline was 'More Than You Wanted To Know About You Know What.' There was no feature but there were two Café Metropole Club updates, one for 20. December with the 'Big 'Oops' of the Week' report, and one for 27. December with the 'Stereo New York–Paris' report. The Scene column was titled, 'Christmas – and New Year's 2002.' There were another four 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon was captioned, Seasonal Greetings, Sincerely.'

The Paleolithic Version of the Countdowns

Paleolithians can discover the last known regular version of this sand-obscured and miserably moldy feature by turning to the last Café page with it, and subtract about 57 days from all numbers except the anniversary dates. However, I believe today is the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers first flight, which we can celebrate without bothering with a boring countdown because we are at zero days left.

Whoops! Today is only 99 years and 364 days since the first flight on Thursday, 17 December 1903. Tomorrow is the big day. We did have one day left to 'countdown.'

Driverless Métro Line 14 Expands

The RATP's Métro line 14 that began service between the Madeleine and the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand on Thursday, 15. October 1998, has reached the Gare Saint–Lazare today, linking this major Paris train station to France's biggest public library.

With this extension, the driverless Métro line 14 has transfer possibilities with five RER lines, three train stations, ten other Métro lines, and scads of bus lines. If you use none of these possibilities, the trip from the Gare Saint–Lazare in the 9th arrondissement to the Bibliothèque François Mitterrand in the 13th arrondissement, takes 13 minutes.

This new extension has required thephoto: sign, rue paul lelong creation of a new station at Saint– Lazare, which may be named Haussmann– Saint–Lazare. I write 'may be' because the hoopla over the line 14's extension, has somewhat submerged the news of the concurrent extension of the RER 'E' line to Saint–Lazare.

Not thought to be any relation to Carl Lefong.

Actually, this may be 'news' only to me. The RER's line 'E' seems to have always had Haussmann–Saint–Lazare as its Paris endstation. I find it, for the first time, clearly printed on a Métro map I always carry, which is dated 'January 2000.'

Well. This means it has long been possible to take this RER line from Saint-Lazare to Gare du Nord, nonstop, which is a lot quicker than any other way to get from station to station. As long as it's confession time, I will admit to having maybe ridden on the RER's line 'C' exactly once – but now I think of it, I probably took the regular train from Montparnasse.

This SNCF–operated RER 'E' line now reaches five stations further east from Paris, going all the way to Tourman–en–Brie. I don't know where it is, but I expect there is dancing in the streets out there today.

Nearly No Days

The number of days left this year is only 14 – immensely fewer than the '21–left' last week. Hardly sooner than anyone expects – already in fact – we'll be standing in front of cheery department store windows gaily illuminated but unheated for Christmas. In fact, we can do this now. The only thing lacking was the exceedingly few days we've got left to do it.

We are now able to skate on frozen rinks in front of the Hôtel de Ville, the one in front of the Gare Montparnasse or the one out at La Défense, even if it is going a bit far just to be colder than on a plain sidewalk crammed with Christmas trees.
signature, regards, ric

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