Café Le Buci in the Quartier Latin.
Motards En Colère
by Ric Erickson
Paris:– Monday, 20. September 2004:– Last Thursday's forecast for slightly crummy weather turned out to be totally wrong, and since the forecasts on Friday and Saturday were the same, they were wrong too.
Instead of getting skies mostly full of gray clouds we had skies mostly blue so there was a lot of sunshine, and the temperatures were agreeable. It was perfect for Saturday's Techno Parade and for the weekend's Patrimony Days.
Small wonder then that the weather waited as long as it did to turn, which it did this morning like a gray blanket waving in a jerky breeze. The temperature, listed as 23 degrees in this morning's Le Parisien, probably never got above 20. So much for the paper's 'rayons' and 'merveilles.'
For the next three days all there is to do is hope that the forecast is wrong again. Because if it isn't we are going to see a lot of clouds, in varying thicknesses from mostly, to half, to all cloudy. All of these conditions are possible on any one day or on all three days.
As for temperature, this has been forecast as being from 20 to 21 degrees, except at nights when it will be in the low 10s. All in all it's a pretty simple forecast without much to recommend it unless you prefer blah weather.
Café LifeVilla Seurat
Rather than stand for hours to look at the inside of Jacques' house, the Elysée Palace, I chose to be less ambitious for the Journées du Patrimoine and simply walk over to the Villa Seurat and see what there was to see.
It turned out to be one of the little cobbled alleys lined with small townhouses of different shapes and sizes, many with high atelier–type windows, and all mostly built around 1925. Not that everything else is so shabby, but these little 'villas' in their own semi–private streets, often dead–ends, seem like improbable oases of half–rural paradise.
So then hard to imagine Henry Miller and his wife June moving into number 18 in 1931 while he was working nights as a proofreader at the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune. 'Tropic of Cancer' as written here and published by the Presses de l'Obélisque in 1934. In 1937 Soutine met Gerda Groth at the Dôme. She offered to be a sort of nurse when he lived at the Villa Seurat, but she was only partially successful.The Villa Seurat on Sunday.
The houses were mostly designed by André Lurçat, and he built most of them for his artist friends. The architectural harmony of the alley was deranged a bit by the different inhabitants' notion of greenery, but what could he do about it? Marcel Gromaire, Lawrence Durrell and Chana Orloff also lived in the Villa Seurat. The atelier of Chana–Orloff was open but I preferred to stay outside.
Yesterday the little street was full of the curious, probably on the way back from examining the vast colony of architectural curiosities at the Cité Universite. This year's theme was science and technology, so I don't think the Santé prison was having open doors.Motards En Colère
On the way back from the Villa Seurat I noticed that traffic was acting peculiar ahead of me at Denfert–Rochereau. You get a feeling when the regular flow of cars, buses and scooters changes, without necessarily knowing what's going on.
As I got closer I saw that freelance traffic controllers were holding up motorists from coming around the square and turning down the avenue. This left the way clear for motorcycle riders to come straight through the place by the lion, and come through they did – all with their lights on and beeping their quack–like horns.
In today's paper they claimed they were 5000–strong but the police said they were only 1000. From my experience of watching the launches of the Friday night roller–randos, I say they were at least 2500 of them – all quacking.
The 'motards' stage regular 'demonstrations' but usually they are out in the 12th arrondissement, bothering residents between Bastille and Vincennes. But this weekend they were out in force all over the city because they are protesting against a new law that is to go in force next month.Small fraction of angry 'motards' on Sunday.
The Minister of Transport has decreed that all vehicles operate with their lights on all the time outside of towns and cities. The 'motards' objection is that they have been running with lights–on for years, and if everybody does it they will no longer be distinguishable.
I grabbed a handbill from a passing 'motard' and learned that another cause of motorcycle fatalities is ABS brakes. Car drivers are used to them being extra efficient, and 'motards' are not. Or, drivers are overconfident with the better brakes, and take extra risks.
As far as I know 'motards' have always complained about cars and their drivers, about being overlooked. This situation is worsened when everybody is driving a bit too fast, a bit too close to each other, which is the way it's done in Europe. Lifting off the gas a bit might do the trick better than brakes or lights.Le Vieux Couvent
Le Vieux Couvent overlooks the attractive hillside village of Frayssinet between the Lot and Dordogne rivers. It's perfect spot for relaxed and informal creative holidays featuring painting, writing, yoga, tai chi, regional cooking, singing, and pottery. The historic property has been extensively renovated to preserve its mediaeval character. This complex of multileveled terraces, ancient buildings, and blooming gardens provides tranquillity and inspiration. Art tutors and groups have come to Le Vieux Couvent from the UK, Canada, France, and the USA. Suites and rooms, full board and self–catering units are available.Apartments lining the Quai du Louvre.
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