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Strolling Around

photo, resto l'as du fallafel, rue des rosiers

Stand up, sit down, fine dining in the Marais.

Unfinished Melody

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 21. March 2005:– The weather went crazy last week with spring bursting out, catching some unwary Parisians wearing their black winter duds, but many others rolled with it and got out there in the parks and laid out along the banks of the Seine in their next–to–nothings, and by the weekend it seemed like everybody was out in the air – inhaling, exhaling, swimming in it, seriously delirious with joie du jour, quoi?

We had, when it got down to it, several days with near–windless blue skies, some morning haze and lots of afternoon sunshine. The icing was temperatures in the 22–24 degree range, with early morning lows above 10 degrees.

In some years there is no spring at all and it is usually pretty brisk around Easter, so we are happy with what we got. The past tense is correct because the folks at Météo–France are putting things back to what they usually are, starting with tomorrow.

According to tonight's TV–weather news the only way to characterize the forecast for Tuesdayphoto, moon, wednesday is in one word – chaos. Waves of something will be crossing France from west to east, varying between quite cloudy and not so quite, but all mixed up so it's hardly likely to make a difference. But it'll still be fairly warm, somewhere around 17 degrees.

While we sleep some of the confusion should clear away for Wednesday, when it might be mostly sunny except in places like Brittany and up an Alp or two. The temperature is even forecast to pop up an extra degree.

Moon over the Marais, on Tuesday.

Then on Thursday, we'll get a replay of Tuesday's weather of chaotic confusion with cloudy waves crossing the country again, with the thermometre taking a dip to 16 degrees. Because this year's drought has already started, don't expect much in the way of rain on any of these days.

Café Life

Metropole's Pause Interrupted

"Continuously published on an almost–weekly schedule for 9 years, Metropole has slowed down for a few weeks. While this could be a pause for refreshment, it will instead enable me to create on some new editorial products."

This I wrote here two weeks ago, to keep this column in a holding pattern, then the weather got nice and 'Ed' quit 'developing new products' and went outside to let some 'D's' caress his pale face. Doing this took several days and a few nights and a lot of tramping around, and resulted in a lot of photos of Paris looking like it seldom does.

Always the Luxembourg

After a long winter when the weather turns good it is impossible to tell for how long, so the safest course is go straight to the Luxembourg and get a chair before the place fills up with all of the city's first–class professional idlers. There are more of these that there are chairs, and, I'm telling you that the Senat's little garden has a lot of chairs.

So there I was last Tuesday, in a green chair with arms, my shoes resting on a handy iron rail, doing little more that observing the sky. The park kind of looked like the weather had caught the gardeners by surprise, and they were buzzing around on their tractors playing catch–up. All in all it was a great free sitdown, the first I have had in about six months.

No Orange Juice

The mild weather seemed to make an invitation to a gallery opening one to accept on Tuesday so I hiked off on the Métro to the top of the 3rd arrondissement to see Alain Kleinmann's latestphoto, vernissage alain kleinmann, gal meyer le bihan visions of suitcases. I'm glad Dimitri phoned to remind me of this and I got there long after a very large and colorful crowd of other art fans.

Art fans outside gallery last Tuesday.

It may have been the light, it may have been the air, it might have been the moon over the Marais, but it was the first time I noticed that so many people have such colorful hair. It almost glowed in the dark. Martin Vaughn James was down from Brussels and he said hello before returning to promote his own upcoming show at the same gallery.

There were too many inside and always about a dozen outside so I gave up thinking about trying to get any orange juice. It looked like it was an 'event,' or an annual meeting of some sort. I have my own meetings to go to, so I decided that I had a chance to walk in the Marais by moonlight and I took it.

Meatless Balls

I hadn't gone all that far south when I ran into Dimitri going the other way with a sandwich in his hand. He asked me if I was going to the bagel shop. It was the first I ever heard of it. But it put the thought in my head and then I was in the Rue des Rosiers and then I was in L'As du Fallafel ordering a 'special' fallafel.

What a place that was! Little tables with paper covers, salt, pepper, and plastic glasses, and tin forks. I don't know what a regular fallafel has in it, but a 'special' has these meatball–looking balls, which are really made of chickpeas. L'As has very big fallafels – they come in plastic bags so that the stuff that falls out won't stain the paper place mat.

I was doing good for a long time too, keeping it all together. But when one ball fell, then everything started to go and it was a big mess all over the fake paper plate made out of plastic. Luckily the water I ordered on the side was free, and I got a refill. If you like meatless balls of chickpea stuff, I highly recommend L'As.

Oh, I forgot. Some kind of hot sauce is served with the sandwiches. The red is good and the green is good too. Go to the place when you are hungry and order two fallafels – and smother one with the red sauce and one with the green. You'll love it if you like hot sauce that isn't too hot.

Café Terraces

On Wednesday I sat on more café terrace that in the whole of last year and it's only March. I didn't set out to do this but before I knew what was happening I was sitting outside at the Raspail Vert with the sun on my face.

Continued on page 2...
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