...Continued from page 1

I am about to give the sage advice of carrying an umbrella for the Bastille Day parade, or mention how the city is annoyed about how the big tanks tear up the road surface, when Kathy says, "I bought my first macaroon and I'm saving it carefully until later!"

Me, I have no idea what a macaroon is. Kathy says it doesn't have coconut in it. Other members have mentioned macaroons in the past, and some members have seemed pretty excited about them. Kathy says they can be chocolate or café flavored. Whatever they are, they aren't like what you think they are, unless you've had the Paris version.

Before anybody can say more about crêpes, smoke, or macaroons, the club's number one member Heather Stimmler–Hall arrives. Heather hasn't been to club meetings lately because she's gotten into the tour business. With a bunch of kids on a bus, she was constantly saying, "Take off your headphones!"

Next, she gets to drive some sort of bus in something to do with another tour, that has something to do with the Tour de France. She will be doing this in the Pyrenees and in the Alps – driving along and picking up bike tourists before they get run over by the whole freaking Tour de France. It doesn't sound like a quiet pastime.

Heather is, or course, full of all sorts of arcane information about Paris. For example she says, "You can rent Segways from Flat Tire Tours."

Now I think of it, it is Diane who isphoto: tour de france teddy wearing a shirt with a 'Flat Tire' logo on it. I think she says it has something to do with a brewery. Imagine you are me. I cannot grasp why anybody would rent a Segway, and I cannot grasp why a brewery would call itself 'Flat Tire.' Maybe gremlins wrote these notes. Maybe they were written in a smokey crêperie in Tel Aviv.

This week's only 'Bear of the Week.'

"Quasimodo on a bike," is in my notes too, attributed, most likely falsely, to Mark. It is followed by a note, '16:10, drinks arrive.' These are several bowls of café, two viper green 'diable menthes,' and I don't know what else because the notes are silent on the subject.

Heather rushes off to deal with an empty parking metre, saying that she'll be available for the 'Group Photo of the Week' if she can find her car, has change, and can get back in time – and if not, she'll yodel from a nearby Alp.

Diane sweetly agrees to show us the Tour de France souvenirs she's liberated. We all admire the bear, even if we can't find its eyes. They are there, but this is a truly fluffy teddy – worth every darn euro it cost – with fluffy eyelids.

The meeting's discussions gradually fade out. When baggage becomes the subject, you know that members lead lives far more hectic than the club's part–time secretary. Nobody wants to go across town and liberate parked baggage and haul it to the other side of town. Yawn. Remember Nutley.

Some Price Hikes

The governments of France traditionally reserve 1. July for socking residents and taxpayers with higher charges, because most people are too distracted by impending holidays to go on strike to protest.

As of 1 July, the price of a carnet of ten RATP tickets climbed to 10.50€ from 10€. The average price increase was 3.5 percent. The SNCF raised prices too, for its Corail trains, kids and youngster's fares, and senior fares.

The Café Metropole Club's About Page

This 'report' about today's club's meeting is a rendering of an approximation of what happened at today's meeting. Thephoto: fleeting heather 'About the Café Metropole Club' page has some hard information, but you hardly need to know it. The best way to find out more about the club is by joining it. Then you will discover how simple it is.

You can become a real lifetime member too of this online magazine's real, live, and free club by becoming a member in a wink by signing–in yourself any of its meetings in Paris, for free. There are no hidden costs, real or imaginary, and anything to buy is totally optional unless you are thirsty.

Rare photo of fleeing Heather.

The club's 'rules' were demolished by the club's members long ago. The club's sole other distinction is that it is the only club related to an Internet magazine that still has no newsletter to send you. The mystery about when this will happen is a mystery.

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

The weekly club meetings begin about 15:00, on any 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 'July's crummy times' although they sometimes are – and known elsewhere as 3 pm to 5 pm. Club meetings are held in Paris unless the secretary gets some other offer.

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 'clever' value than 'true.' 'True' is perfectly acceptable too, especially if it's a 'first.' Today's first was a lack of one. We've had a 'Segway' before.

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 club reports.graphic: club location map

Former 'rules' remain 'former' week after endless week and have been purged from the club's huge volumes of chronicles except for all the originals still online buried deep in the archives, which you can read if you can find them.

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

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because members seldom listen to headphones during routinely exciting meetings.

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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