horz line

Villa Seurat

photo, cafe, le buci

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 Life

Villa 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' asphoto, villa seurat 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, botheringphoto, motorcycles, paris 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, andphoto, quai louvre 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.

Bill writes, "We will be doing a one week cook'n'look holiday in February. We'll focus on truffles – a one day tour to Lalbanque just south of Cahors, where they have the truffle markets on Tuesday. We'll see a demo of truffle finding, have a truffle –oriented meal, then two days around foie gras – buying, cleaning, preparing, eating – touring the area for markets and general sight–seeing. Corinne will show the essence of onion soup, I'll do a wine tasting – that's a week. We want to show a group of American gourmands how to enjoy the 'real' France."

Hosts Corinne Campbell and Bill Boychuk live at the Le Vieux Couvent permanently and know the area well. Write to Le Vieux Couvent, 46310 Frayssinet or InfoTel.: 33 5 65 24 50 13.

Headline of the Week

"GRAVE" underlined, was on Le Parisien's front page in fair–sized letters this morning. Paris' football team, PSG, has resumed its cycle of losing matches. After the first six games of the new season the team is in 17th place in the national league. A radio report this morning said that the club's fans are not happy.

I don't understand. Since there are 20 teams there must be three other clubs with worse scores than PSG and the radio didn't say anything about their fans being disgusted. Monaco beat PSG by 1–0 yesterday to lead the league. On Wednesday PSG goes against Lens which is in 10th place, having actually won two games. The paper adds that this is PSG's worst season start ever.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

Even though September is receding into October you can find the latest 'Fighting Elephants' reportphoto, neon grande salle still online. Jerry Stopher became a member after reading Metropole for years, and gave the meeting Thibodaux, Louisiana as a singular 'City of the Week.'

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on Thursday, 23. September. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint–Constant. He came to the attention of Pope Saint–Grégoire for having transformed water into oil, allowing alter lamps to burn brightly forever. However, which Grégoire this was is unclear because they are numbered I through XVI.

Equally minor facts about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The ratty graphic of the virtual club membership card on this page looks three times better online than printed, but is free either way. The club membership itself is free too, even if it's valuable.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 8.39 – 22. Sept 2003 – the Café Metropole column's title was 'Freak Factory and Chicken Farmers.' The issue's feature had the title of 'Visiting Edith – But Not Cemeteries, Folies or Prisons.' Laurel Avery's 'Paris Life' column was titled 'A Crabby Birthday.' The Café Metropole Club update for 25. September was titled as the "Magic Still Happens Here" report. There were four new 'Posters of the Week'photo, sign, villa seurat and the caption of Ric's cartoon of the week was "This – is 'no car' day?"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.39 – 23. Sept 2002 – the title for the Café Metropole column was 'Winter Before Autumn?' The headline for the week's feature was 'The People's Palace, at the Hôtel de Ville.' The Scène column had 'Some Coming Events Right Now.' The Café Metropole Club update for 26. September was treated as the "Geezer Meeting" report. There were four typical Paris type 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was captioned, "Free Rooms at La Santé?"

Lamentable Repeat of the 'Countdowns'

The 100th anniversary of the death of Frédéric– August Bartholdi, the designer of the Stature of Liberty, is very soon. His departure occurred on Tuesday, 4. October, when he was 70. This anniversary is 15 days from now, on a Monday.photo, sign, cafe signs

We can also be 'counting–down' to the 150th anniversary of the birth on a Friday of Jean–Nicolas–Arthur Rimbaud. He was a major literary dude, and explorer, and his anniversary is on Wednesday, 20. October, only 31 days from now.

Napoléon convinced some close friends to vote in favor of inventing the title of 'Emperor' for himself on Thursday, 3. May 1804. The Senat willingly passed the measure, as a civic gesture. The coronation happened anyway on Sunday, 2. December and the 200th anniversary of this significant event is 74 days from now.

The anniversary of the first helicopter flight comes up in 55 days, on Saturday, 13. November. In 1906, near Lisieux, Paul Cornu managed to rise vertically, 1.5 metres off the ground. However the actual word 'helicopter' was invented much earlier in 1861, by Viscount Ponton d'Amécourt, who was thinking of Leonardo and Greek roots.

Today's 'Anniversary of the Week'

There are only 109 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1792, when French Républicains beat up the Prussians at Valmy. This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 257 days, the same number that 1870 had when Italian troops snatched control of the Papal States, which led to the unification of Italy for the first time in a long while.
signature, regards, ric

horz line
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini