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Orange 'City of the Week'

photo: group, don, bruce, tomoko, audrey, doug, carol, ralph

From left to right – Don, Bruce, Tomoko, Audrey,
Doug, Carol and Ralph.

D–Day II & Bis

Paris:– Thursday, 3. June 2004:– Readers and club members no doubt expect me to pull fine weather out of my hat so everybody can re–enact D–Day this coming weekend without getting overly damp. On this occasion, for all concerned, I will do exactly as you want.

Never mind that this comes straight from tonight's TV–weather news. I do not intend to give credit where it's due. This weather is brought to you exclusively by Metropole Paris and the Café Metropole Club.

Unlike 60 years ago, a generous and solid high is spreading over France from the Atlantic, and it will lock in to protect the whole dern country from cruddy 'Invasion Weather' for the entire weekend.

This starts tomorrow with milky–blue skies, especially in the north. The afternoon should be mostly sunny as the high pressure zone gradually extends to the east. Temperatures in Paris should go up to 23 degrees, while out west on the coast they should get to 20 or a bit above.

On Saturday it should be sunny almost everywhere except along the northeast frontier. Expect temperatures ofphoto: hat of the week about 23 degrees. For Sunday the skies should be very blue with very few clouds, and the temperature is expected to climb up to around 25 degrees. At the moment, this unseasonal wonder weather is supposed to continue on Monday and get even warmer.

The club's first 'Hat of the Week' this week.

What is the probability of weather like this you may ask. Since this is not TV–weather news weather, this magazine can guarantee it at least through Saturday. Sunday, even for me, is too good to be true, even for June.

The Club 'Report of the Week'

I am late breaking from the starting gate today. At the last minute an email has arrived. I skim it, catching the names of club members who were at the meeting last week, but do not really take in its details because I am shutting the machine off and changing my shirt, packing the official Metropole bag and making sure I have Métro tickets. Slam! Out the door and down the stairs and out the street door and down the shady street.

Like last week I miss the Métro train in the Raspail station. There's four minutes until the next one comes. Some of the big ads in the station have an artful spray–painted look – to look as if they've been tagged by the anti–pub people who are against colorful but lying underground advertising.

I am only against the ads that have poor graphics and stupid text. This is, unfortunately, mostly allphoto: cafe of the week of them all the time. The spray–paint look doesn't improve anything, and shows that depraved advertisers will stoop lower than you'd thought possible.

The club's 'Café of the Week' is in a bathtub.

There are no signs that I see of increased security in the tunnels when I leave the train at Châtelet. We are supposed to be having a 'red' alert on account of the D–Day fête, but it must be wearing its invisible paint. So I scoot up out of the underground.

I skip Rivoli's cheap frenzy. I glide through my quiet back alleys. The posters at Pont Neuf are blah. Maybe there will be a second shift of them going up tomorrow. Maybe it will be a non–poster week again.

The Quai du Louvre isn't crowded. The weather is mild without being brilliant. It is between any extremes, requiring no thirst–quenchers or parasols.

The café La Corona is drowsing. All the doors and windows are open. There must be 75 free tables and four times as many free chairs. There are some civilians in the club's area in the 'grande salle,' and there is member Don Smith from Seattle sitting under his new hat, a brimmed straw one instead of the usual felt.

Don says he is staying near Château–Rouge instead of in the 14th arrondissement. He prefers Africa in Paris to rétro. Actually, he has a friend with an apartment there.

Audrey and Bruce Poole arrive. I give them the semi–remembered message from the email. They are somewhat perplexed. So am I.

We talk about the big stir caused by Professor Steven Kaplan's book 'Cherchez le Pain' – about where to find the five best boulangeries in Paris. Don says the professor should get a Legion d'Honneur because Sylvester Stallone got one.

He won't tell me or doesn't know why Sylvester Stallone got one. We can't think of a reason. Was it for selling movie tickets? Cinemas are a cultural asset just like the movies in them.

Bruce tells me that Sainte–Chapelle is closed 'for security reasons.' It is not because Sainte–Chapelle is a target but because it is inside the Palais de Justice, we think. The whole justice and security apparatus in France is paranoid these days.

Audrey and Bruce got over their disappointment by walking from the Etoile to the Grande Arche at La Défense. For good measure they started in the Jardin des Plantes. They may have been guilty of over–walking.

Doug Fuss arrives with the latest newsphoto: water of the week from the tennis thing at Roland Garros. He says three out of four semi– finalists are Argentines. Or does he say Russians? I am so busy trying to spell 'Argentines' that I forget to listen closely.

He adds that the Williams sisters got knocked out on 'Black Tuesday' – before I could see them on the TV–news. I think I haven't seen them for four years in a row. They could get more TV–time if they were French.

The club's 'Water of the Week' is without gin but fizzy.

Doug starts telling Bruce all about sports medicine. This is in connection to living on fifth or sixth floors here without an elevator. When I hint that Bruce does sports medicine, Doug switches at asking for advice about how to get a successful operation.

Bruce says, "Tell your surgeon that you want to be operated on first in the morning." Of course! – I could have said this. I saw MASH a couple of weeks ago on TV.

Then we float around a bit, hearing about how it is on the ex–France, now Norway, cruising in the Caribbean. According to Doug it is easier than golfing, and fares were pretty low for a couple of seasons recently.

Patrick the 'Waiter of the Week' brings over Carol and Ralph Enos and introduces them to the club, which they have been looking for on account of Heather, the number one member.

The Enos come from the City of Orange in California. As soon as I have it clear that it is not the same thing as the County, I declare it to be the 'City of the Week.' To be absolutely definite about it, Carol says it is 'two and a half miles east of Disneyland.'

She also says that the 'next time, the fourth time,' will be their last visit to Paris. "Because," she says, "It's time we move on to other places to visit." The 198 steps up the place they are staying this time has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

Ralph wants to know, 'what sort of hoops [to jump though] are required to come back and forth, and to live here?'

'None in particular' is Doug's answer. "Stay in a hotel for three or four days, with all the services," Doug says, "And for longer, stay in an apartment."

Tomoko Yokomitsu is greeted by the Seattle people with 'Oh Tomoko!' Patrick brings a café for me and it leaks a bit so Bruce gives me his saucer, which has the sugar wrappers twisted into little balls.

Bruce says they are 'orogamis.' Tomoko offers that 'La Grue' is the Japanese national bird. No, no, this isn't right. 'La Grue' translates into Flamingo, which is the national bird. Getting from sugar wrappersphoto: cafe of the week to the name for the Japanese national bird in French is about average for anything except for the club's own bird, Willy, who Patrick says has been flying into the café for at least two years, and is making brief appearances today.

This looks suspiciously like the 'Café of the Week' again, doesn't it?

Obviously it must be 'Group Photo of the Week' time, and Bruce shows me his Swiss Army watch to prove it. We traipse out on to the terrace and six groups of passing civilians pause while the club's secretary shoots the 'Group of the Week' from three different angles.

Back in the café's 'grande salle' Ralph wants to know about lights. Is the Arc de Triomphe lit at night? Ralph says they saw it on an earlier visit, "Lit by a Virgin–Mary type blue light." Carol says she had to see the Opéra, 'after seeing the Phantom of the Opéra.'

This reminds me that I seldom see the Arc de Triomphe at night, unless it is winter when it gets dark early. The Enos say that the Arc de Triomphe is not lit at all these days. Since I don't know, I try to sell them on the sparkle lights of the Tour Eiffel. I am pretty sure they haven't burnt out yet. Le Parisien would complain if they were.

And thus, at just after 17:00, the 240th meeting is at an end and all the members drift off. The Enos leave for the Pont des Arts to see the artists on it. A few minutes later I do the same thing, but all the artists seem to be elsewhere today. Maybe they are at Roland Garros, watching Argentines or Russians batting balls around.

'Liberty Week'

The big events of this June weekend have inspired some in Paris to begin a 'Semaine de la Liberté.' I thought this was a phantom, but there really are projections of WWII images on a screen at the Assemblyphoto: group photo time of the week National, beginning at 22:00, and happening nightly until Sunday. See this from the Pont de la Concorde.

The fence of the Luxembourg Garden will be used for hanging large photos from WWII scenes, and these will continue to be on view until 31. August. There is also to be an inaugural concert for this, but Le Parisien neglects to say when. The Luxembourg Palace has had new lights installed as well.

According to Bruce's watch it's 'Group Photo Time of the Week.'

The original program of events was more ambitious, but I was unable verify it some weeks ago. The Tour Eiffel was mentioned as being converted to tri–color, American films were slated for non–stop projection in three cinemas on the Champs–Elysées, and there was to be a 'grande fête populaire' with fireworks at the Place de la Concorde on Saturday evening. Finally, on Sunday, 6. June, 'love forever brunches were to be served in hotels, on peniches, everywhere.

D–Day II

The 60–years–after version of D–Day next Sunday has already attracted considerable numbers of visitors who are hoping to beat the million–strong crowds expected over the weekend. More are expected than took part in the original event.

They will be met, guided and channeled by 6000 gendarmes, 3300 police officers, 1500 other civilian securityphoto: leftovers of the week people and 8000 armed troops. I don't know if this includes the 2000 US troops from bases in Germany that were also slated to be present.

The club's 'after of the week' – in case you are interested.

These armed forces will be looking after Jacques Chirac, Vladimir Poutine, Gerhard Schröder, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, various other heads of state, and another 8000 close friends.

Traffic will be severely restricted in the 6. June 1944 invasion beaches area, especially near Arronmanche–les–Bains. There will be another, Franco–Canadian ceremony at Ouistreham, at the east end of the restricted area. The city of Caen is not restricted, but if you don't already have a place there, you probably won't get near it.

The headquarters of the security measures in Paris has said that Normandy is not in a 'state of siege,' but in a 'state of vigilance.' Weekend leave has also been suspended for France's various sorts of spooks.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting should give you a sketchy notion of the cozy times to be had at club meetings. The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has all the additional information you need to know about the club. If you have a small one, what you need to know fits in an average thimble.

Become a real lifetime member of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member in seconds by signing–in yourself any of its meetings in Paris, for free. There are no hidden costs, real or imaginary. The club's 'rules' were quashed by the club's members long ago. The club's other claim to fame is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that has no newsletter to send you. We all have enough spam.

Why Not, How, Where, Who, What, When?

The weekly club meetings begin about 15:00, on many days that are Thursday afternoons. Meetings continue until about 17:00, in the western European Time of Paris' – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'June's D–Day times' although they sometimes are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are only held in Paris unless stated otherwise.

Doing anything clever at a meeting – like being at one – is considered the opposite of not being at one. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' having a much greater 'report' value than 'true.' 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's unbelievable.

Only one note of caution – you may have any one or two of a hundred personal reasons for not wanting to be traceable via the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in one of these flaky club reports.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' remain 'former' week after week and have been eliminated from the club's volumes of chronicles except for all the originals still online buried deep in the archives, which you can read if you can find them. All 'exceptions' to any other 'rules' have been suspended forever, quite a bit most of the 'rules.'

Talking to other club members at meetings is an acceptable activity. If there's an empty chair sit – completely optional – wherever you like, or haul one over from another part of the café. If they are listening, whatever you say may be honestly appreciated by other members present, and there usually are some – and if it should chance to be written here, as some of it sometimes is.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of the club secretary's anxiety attack caused by the lack of security on the crucial Pont des Arts.

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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