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Work In August?

photo: terrace la corona

Some August rain last Thursday.

Only Good Intentions

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 16. August 2004:– It doesn't look like Paris is going to experience any heat waves this year. But as soon as I claim that the time for one is past, the weather will probably prove me wrong because it's got something against me

For the moment we are having mixed weather. Slightly more than half of every day is daytime and the rest is nighttime. There are tiny bits of blue sky some days, lots of clouds most days, and on some of these clouds drop lots of rain within short periods. Mostly the temperatures are pleasant enough to be forgettable.

If you get up early enough tomorrow it might be a bit sunny in the direction of the Channel. The rest of the day will be between cloudy and a big nose of rain poking at Paris from the direction of the Bay of Biscay, known more locally as the Golfe de Gascogne, or, Atlantique, for short. The high is supposed to be 23 degrees.

Wednesday is easy. According to the TV–weather news it will be cloudy all day. According to this morning's Le Parisien, it will be raining most of the time, except for brief sunny periods near Disneyland. Since we will be wet, 24 degrees is the compensation.

It might be a bit sunny on Thursday, but it will almost certainly be cloudy at other times. I think it's pretty safe to say that it won't be terrific, unless things get out of hand to the west and it drifts over here. The expected temperature is supposed to be 23 degrees, which is probably about 'average' for August whether anybody likes it or not.

Café Life

Good Intentions

I sit here amid the ruins of good intentions. This was to have been the issue containing the story of the Parisphoto: plaque, colonel rol insurrection that began in ernest on Saturday, 19. August 1944, and ended on Friday, 25. August at 15:30 when German general Dietrich von Choltitz signed the surrender of his troops, ending 50 months of occupation.

Of course the 'liberation' began a bit before 19. August and continued for a while after 25. August, but these dates are the key ones, and are the ones that will be getting most attention here this month.

The whole episode is summed up in the film, 'Is Paris Burning?' I watched it again on Saturday night and noted that it contains a fair amount of cinema footage filmed during the fighting, deftly inserted into the movie. Some of the tanks exploding and some of the fallen Parisians are not actors or special effects.

A lot of material is available about Paris' liberation. The city has produced a free booklet titled, 'Août 1944, Paris Insurgé, Paris Libéré.' This is available at all mairies, including the Hôtel de Ville. The newspaper Le Parisien ordered a second print–run of its special edition, 'Paris Se Libère' and copies should be still available at newskiosks.

These are both fine, although Le Parisien's version is in French. With a cast of millions, and hundreds of major characters, with several army groups, and a movie nearly three hours long – no matter what I do will be too short or too long.

I will err on the side of brevity. I can't help wondering what the weather was like on Saturday, 19. August. I can't figure it out from the photos. It means I can't fix times or certain dates to the photos. Later in thephoto: paris libere panel week it was sunny, especially early in morning in the Place de la Concorde on Friday, 25. August.

Overwhelmed, I give up. Occupied for four years, Parisians finally got tired of it and took their city back. It could have turned out very badly, but there was a lot of luck around.

Paris Libération August 1944 – sixty years ago, after the landings in Normandy, it was Paris' turn to 'liberate' itself in August. Sixty years later, this August marks the anniversary with a grand variety of serious homages, parades, and one big popular 'bal' at the Bastille.

In addition, there are several exhibitions, including 60 columns scattered all around the city to mark significant locations. Although not the final act, the film 'Is Paris Burning?' will be shown on the parvis of the Hôtel de Ville, at 21:30 on Thursday, 26. August. For more details, see the items on the last 'Scène Eté' page.

Headline of the Week

"Travailler en août, quel plaisir..." was on Le Parisien's frontphoto: front page, liberation page today. The guys at the paper are working, having 'Quel Plaisir!' and I am supposed to be doing the same thing.

The paper's point is that fewer and fewer Parisians take the whole month off for their holidays these days, and more and more Parisians work for at least part of the month, and hang out at Paris Plage at lunchtime. The paper even claims that work is fun in August – often because the boss is away. One guy said holidays in October, in Brittany, are often cool.

Meanwhile, this year's version of Paris Plage only lasts until next Friday. In spite of a little rain and some sudden downpours, it was a pretty good edition with lots of sunshine at all other times.

The URLs of the Week

Café Metropole Club member and Hollywood pipe smoker Alan Pavlik who runs Just Above Sunset has come across Clotilde's Chocolate and Zucchini Web site, or blog. It's just had a big plug from the AFP, which also mentions Leite's Culinaria, almost in the same paragraph. Both are supposed to be treats for good food fans. While I'm near Hollywood, pop over to nearby Los Feliz and take a look at Los Angeles' Libération reporter Emmanuelle Richard's bilingual Web site too.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

Despite it being August you can still capture the latest 'Maybe Next Year'photo: paris plage report. This was the sum total of what I got to hear about Heather Stimmler–Hall's Tour de France adventures.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 19. August. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint–Jean Eudes. I am pretty sure we've had this one before, even though I probably claimed he was missing. Born at Ri in 1601, Jean Eudes is well–known for founding the Jésus–et–Marie society of priests. For short they were called 'Eudistes.'

Other relatively minor facts about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The graphic of the virtual club membership card on this page looks better online than printed, but is free and original. The club membership itself is worthwhile, even if it's free too.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 8.30/34 – 21. July/21. Aug. 2003 – the lead for this month–long summer issue was the Café Metropole column's 'Django, Johann, and Edith.' The lead feature in this issue was titled 'No False Modesty for Paris Plage.' Laurel Avery contributed 'Tiny Points of Light.' There were links to the two current Scène columns. The Café Metropole Club update for 24. July was titled, the 'Nearly All Sports' report. This issue also contained the rest of the summer's club reports, by Linda 'Cools' Thalman, and more 'Paris Life' from Laurel Avery. There were a couple of other pieces written in New York, one of which was 'Lobsters'photo: sign, rue schoelcher Short Lives in New England.' There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week was captioned, "Where's this beach we're going to?"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.34 – 19. Aug 2002 – The title for the Café Metropole column was, 'Two Heatwaves.' The issue's feature was 'A Ranch Holiday with a Cat Named Tiger.' The Scène column's headline was 'Summer Is Not Over' and Scène 2 was titled 'Coming Ultra Soon in September.' There were four summer–type 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned,"Nawwwwwwww... I'm staying here..."

Something Not So Completely Different

photo: sign, a tous les francaisWhile old countdowns languish in past issues new ones come along, and finally we have such a dilly that I wonder why the countdowns are so neglected. Exactly 24 days from today it will be the 500th birthday of the erection of Michelangelo's big statue of the biblical David in the Piazza Signoria, in the centre of Florence.

All was not rosy on that Thursday, 8. September in 1504 because the Florentines took a violent exception to the monumental work, and threw stones at it. Then delayed lightning struck the stature's pedestal eight years later. But this year there will be a big birthday party, from Friday, 10. to Tuesday,14. September, to celebrate its survival. Florentines will turn out en masse to see with their own eyes the latest results of its umpteenth restoration.

Nearly Nothing, Next to Useless

There are only 137 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left' as at this time in August of 1977, when Elvis Presley died at his Graceland Mansion home in Memphis, Tennessee. Everybody working here thanks radio FIP for playing lots of rock 'n' roll today, in memorium. This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 229 days, the same number that 1858 had when England's Queen Victoria sent the first trans–Atlantic telegram to President James Buchanan.
signature, regards, ric

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