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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 terraces 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.

This made up for 10 minutes of sunshine on a Saturday a couple of weeks ago. I walked all the wayphoto, cafe le buci, friday over to the Raspail Vert and it was closed. What kind of a café with a terrace in Montparnasse is closed on a Saturday?

One of hundreds of full café terraces last week.

The Raspail Vert is a very old café. You can see photos of it when there was no hotel upstairs, and then in the 1920s after the hotel was added. But it's all modern now, with decent music, fair café, comfortable seats, a couple of terraces, a tabac, and free papers to read.

And then in the evening without even intending to be out, I was strolling around in Montparnasse and without even intending to sit down I was sitting on another terrace at the Place Edgar Quinet. It was pretty mellow once I got used to the idea of just sitting there, doing nothing but watch people who were looking for a place to sit down.

Drinks On the College

The idea was to meet at the Bouquet and then go over to the Irish Cultural Centre to have free drinks with John Montague

to be continued

Headline of the Week

There were few head–turning headlines of the week in Le Parisien but the best was, 'Référendum NON?' This appeared on Friday's front page and the 'non' was in red. The 'referendum' is a vote that will allow the French to say whether they favor the new European Constitution or not. Not long ago polls indicated that a solid majority were for acceptance, but doubt is creeping in and a poll published Friday showed the 'yes' vote slipping to 49 percent.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The most recent club meeting's 'With Sunshine, but Without Scorpions' clubphoto, librarie monte cristo report is slightly apt, being as it is an appreciation of the wildlife situation in Florida. The actual meeting wasn't really about Florida, but it came up in passing, after the volcanos and the earthquakes. It was a moving meeting.

Jules Verne's days are adding to the fête of spring.

The next Thursday meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on a Thursday as usual. The Saint's 'Day of the Week' will be Sainte–Catherine de Suède This week's 'Saint of the Day' was the daughter of Brigitte de Suède, the celebrated 'prophet of the north.' Together they went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which was a considerable exploit in the 14th century, according to legend.

Equally accurate and true facts about the club are available on the 'About the Club' page. The sketchy design of the somewhat edgy club membership card on this page looks as much like a membership card as any scrap of computer monitor, but is isn't. It is sufficient to be virtual, while the club membership itself is free and neat too, which can be proved in Paris.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 9.12 – 15. March – the Café Metropole column noted the weather with, 'Is Spring Coming Early?.' A spring event was mentioned in 'Old Iron and Hams – On the Ile de Chatou.' The 'Contest' was launched with the 'Search for France–Is–Not–Silly Slogan.' Laurel Avery's 'Paris Life was about 'Worlds of Transit.' The update for the 18. March meeting of the Café Metropole Club was headlined as the "Hi Mac!" report. The Scène column was, 'Withphoto, sign, rue pierre et marie curie Joan Mirò, Picasso & Ingres.' There were four darling 'Posters of the Week' and the caption for Ric's weekly cartoon asked and answered, "Can't get on the bus? Go online!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 8.12 – 17. Mar 2003 – this week's Café Metropole column opened the issue with 'Sunball Days.' The Au Bistro column's headline was, 'War Reaction in Paris.' The report for the Café Metropole Club meeting on 20. March was headlined, the 'Nutley of the Week' report. There were four, still average, 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was merely curious with, "Stayed Too Long?"

How Singing Began

For the fifth time in a row, this is not about some old saint. It was on this day in 1964 that Gigliola Cinquetti, singing for Italy, won the 9th Eurovision song contest in Copenhagenphoto, sign, ce college irlandais with her rendition of 'Non ho l'età.' It's hardly any coincidence that Johann–Sebastian Bach was born on the same day in 1685.

I regret to report that club member, Jules Verne fan and New Jersey snow expert, Jim Auman has not emailed any exciting news about rotten climatic conditions in New York this week. Otherwise, the exhibition, 'Le Roman de la Mer' – aka '20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,' is at the heart of a super big show at the Musée de la Marine. The 100th anniversary of Jules Verne's death, on 24. March 1905, is a mere 3 days from now.

photo, mungo jerry, in the summertime albumIt was on this day in 1804 that Napoléon Bonaparte's Napoleonic Code went into effect. It was called the 'Napoleonic Code' because Napoléon asked some lawyers to write a civil code, somewhat like the one existing in Bavaria which was called the 'Codex Maximilianeus Bavaricus Civilis' for short. The Napoleonic Code deals with inheritance, property and divorce, and it's still around although divorce was liberalized some more last week.

Refound at last – 1970's tube d'été.

Therefore we'll take today's 'Quote of the Week' from Ovid. He wrote, "Everything comes gradually and at its appointed hour." Ovid, probably writing in Greek, but by no means certain, may not be correctly quoted here because many things come all too quickly and others never arrive at their 'appointed hour,' or ever.

Today's Other 'Notable Deaths of the Week'

There are only 285 days left of this year. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in 1076 when Robert I, Duke of Burgundy, died. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 80 days, the same number that 1306 had when Robert II, Duke of Burgundy died too. To be absolutely clear and to avoid any misunder– standings, note that Catherine de Suède has nothing in common with the Sainte–Catherine celebrated on 25. November.
signature, regards, ric

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