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A Red New Year

photo: fish market, poissonner

A fish market just before closing.

For the Champs–Elysées and the Tour Eiffel

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 19. January 2004:– It seems hardly necessary to go through the routine of a weather forecast because the weather itself seems to have become routine. Cool, cold, wind, rain, sunshine, with a weekly repeat.

However there will be those of you wanting details, reassuring numbers, facts. This is the wrong place for this type of material. France has relative weather. Relative to its past, with the past having no reference to the present. However it happened before, it isn't going to be exactly the same next time.

As so often happens in winter, the weather in the south gets more attention because it gets more sunshine. Weather forecasters treat northern France with the same respect as Belguim. So we have a forecast of one half–hidden sunball near Nice and another near Biarritz. Nice for Nice.

Here, where we are, tomorrow's prediction calls for rain in the morning and clouds in the afternoon. Wednesday may turn out to be rain or even a bit of snow. Thursday may happen to have rain. All days are to have no sunballs peeking out from behind clouds – yet I bet there will be some.

In the temperature department tomorrow should be the warmest, with maybe ten degrees. After that it will be sixes and sevens. This was from tonight's TV-weather news. This morning's Le Parisien has opposing temperature predictions.

Café Life

This issue is 'doubled–up' with last week's issue, because Paris is in a season of vacuum, when not much is happening except for frequently poor weather. Clever people are either shopping, or hibernating.

Surprisingly, if the rains stop and the sun comes out on a weekend, as it did yesterday, Parisians leave their apartments en masse and stroll about the city's more picturesque areas. To see the Marais yesterday, its sidewalks looked like they were the centre of the 'winter sales.' Near Bastille, roller–folks were gathering for the Sunday edition of the weekly daylight 'rando.'

There is still a surprising amount of spoken Italian in the passing air. But mostly it is French that is heard. The right–bankphoto: ile de la cite Seine–side speedway is closed to traffic, and it has its habituals, but not many. Between four and five, cafés that have heated and wind–shielded terraces, see them fill up with chilled strollers.

Sunlight filters through trees at rear of Notre Dame.

No doubt if pushed, a lot could be written about this – like how one turns corners carefully because a narrow street that is slightly chilly, can have a stiff and cold breeze where it meets a wider boulevard. But this is just a price to be paid for trading snug hibernation for a bit of air, blue skies and weak sunlight.

So the city, and its residents who cannot stay inside, keeps its state of being lived–in intact, in a time of no big events or circuses. When these come – beginning this week – then the pause of January will be over and we will climb back on, to ride the ever–lasting roller–coaster.

Paris, Capitale de la Création

Last Friday or Saturday I received an invitation to a press conference – to be held tomorrow – that will introduce the next edition of Paris' combined fashion and household design super–salon.

Other than the poster that was on view all over the city last week, I have had little advance warning about this event. It does not figure as a 'future event' in the city's program for December or January – at least not in the version I obtained.

Traditionally, January and September are the 'fashion' months – months when everybody involved in the businessphoto: rue grenier sur l'eau shows off their latest creations. During a five–day period about to begin, there will be no less than nine salons, mostly in two locations, and 200 other sites open to the design and fashion–conscious public.

In a way it will be like a super–vernissage. A half–million visitors from over a hundred countries are expected to attend, along with 16,000 journalists on hand to send words and images out to the entire world.

One of the older, shorter streets in the Marais.

Balling the whole thing together has only occurred since last year. Yet it doesn't seem to be an effort directed only at professionals. There is, for example, the 'parcours' that involves the 200 other sites – with a invitation to visit the boutiques and ateliers of working interior decorators, designers, stylists, photographers, illustrators and editors.

For this even the Mairies of arrondissements, restaurants and cinemas, are on the list of places to visit. All together, too much detail to include here. Check out Paris, Capitale de la Création to find out a lot more.

Champs-Elysées Parade for Chinese New Year

This begins next Saturday at 14:00, for the first time in the history of Paris. The parade is to accompany the city–wide Année de la Chine. Organized largely by Beijing, andphoto: ile st louis Paris and Ile–de–France Chinese associations, the parade will feature very big marionettes representing the twelve animals of the Chinese calendar, especially the outgoing goat and the incoming monkey. Also expect massive floats, many performers from China; and a dragon 50 metres long.

Tip of Ile Saint–Louis gets late slice of sunlight.

As the parade on the Champs–Elysées ends, the Tour Eiffel will be bathed in red light – thanks to a system of projectors set up by EDF for the occasion. The notes announcing the parade and the 'red' Tour Eiffel do not mention times, other than the parade's beginning at 14:00.

The Regular Plugs – 2nd Time In 2004

Although wildly popular, two times in one issue is one times too many. For details, look for the same title on last Tuesday's Café page.

Café Metropole Club 'Reports'

Pop this link to have a look at the last meeting's "How Do People Find the Club?" club 'report.' Paris seemed deserted, but the club booked several new members plus some of its complement of repeat– club members.

Some minor details concerning the club can all be found on the 'About the Club'photo: place des vosges page. The virtual club membership card shown on this page is free, so long as you print it for yourself using your own ink and paper. The card is valid for your whole lifetime worldwide, but super–valid in Paris.

Strollers in a rare, quiet part of old Paris.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 22. January. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint–Vincent, who was born in Huesca and died of torture in Valencia in 304, which helped him to become a martyr. Saint–Vincent is popular in Spain, and is also found on French calendars.

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.04 – 21. Jan 2002 – The Café column's headline was, 'The Worst Café Column Ever.' The 'Au Bistro' column checked in with, 'The 'Big Rabbit' Theory.' The feature of the week was titled, 'Winter Neither This Nor That.' The Scène column's title was 'Last Chance' – Paris' Big Wheel.' The Caféphoto: sign, rue du pas de la mule Metropole Club update for 24. Jan was the 'Ladies Day At the Club' report. There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week had the caption, 'All Flags Out.'

This Was Metropole Three Years Ago

Issue 6.04 – 22. Jan 2001 – The Café Metropole column's legendary headline was 'Legends, Legends.' The 'Au Bistro' column was titled, 'Fast Driving Minister.' This small issue contained one feature titled, 'I Love You' On Montmartre.' The Café Metropole Club update for 25. Jan was the "Are We're Too Loud?" report. The headline for the Scène column's was, 'The Last New Year This Year.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric the sports–crazed cartoonist decided the week's cartoon caption should be 'Win at Monte! Win at Dakar!'

The Revenge of the Countdowns, Bis

This too is a feature that is amply present in last week's Café column, so the link here will take you to it in a jiffy. For an accurate number of 'days left' for each, subtract six.

Web–searched last week but not included was the date of the Normandy landings in WWII onphoto: poster, cola du phare ouest, breizh cola Tuesday, 6. June 1944. The 60th anniversary of this fateful day for 2,846,439 invaders is 140 days from now, on a Sunday this year.

Paris, Ville Antique

Since this is not a full count–down week, this not a count–down exactly, but a Web site tip. The Ministry of Culture's 'Paris, Ville Antique' is worth an in–depth look, firmly in the 'now–for–something–different' department. Amaze your friends and neighbors with new–found knowledge about daily life in Paris about 2055 years before the first Chinese New Years parade in history on the Champs–Elysées.

Ever More Entrenched In 2004

There are still 347 days left the year, which is a big number of days as well as almost 12 months. There are only 42 days left until our bonus 'Leap–Year' day extra in February, which will actually be a public holiday in many parts of the world. .

In spite of the rains and winds we are still able to skate on semi–frozen rinks in front of the Hôtel de Ville, the one in front of the Gare Montparnasse, or maybe even the one out at La Défense – where local winds may permit horizontal skating.
signature, regards, ric

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