horz line

More Strolling Around

photo, bar du marche, buci

For terrace seats, occasional waits.

Does It Never End?

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 4. April 2005:– Saturday had pretty good weather and many Parisians were outside to enjoy it. It was still fairly warm yesterday even if it wasn't as sunny. This morning the temperature must have dropped and it tried to rain, but it wasn't much more than a spray of wet on the sidewalks.

Most likely while we sleep tonight a band of rain will cross France from west to east and by the time some of us get up it should have passed, maybe to drop some rain on eastern France. In the wake of this there might be quite a bit of sunshine, but it is not expected to be warmer than 15 degrees.

Wednesday may be even sunnier for most of the day, if the attack of Atlantic clouds keeps to the TV–weather news timetable. A prediction for a high of 16 degrees may result in exactly this and if you are around it might be a last chance for a few days.

The attack of clouds will not be so iffy on Thursday. The forecast says there will be total cloud cover, all day, everywhere. Rain is expected too, and it might be pretty dreary with a high temperature expected to be no more than 12 degrees. The super–long term outlook for Friday is slightly more pessimistic.

Café Life

Pause Turns Into Slump

There is no getting around it – Metropole's 'Ed' is having a slump. He is not the only one in Parisphoto, louvre, pont carrousel who feels sleepy either, but this is very unhandy when it comes to tapping out 2–3 thousand new and fresh words per week, resulting from endlessly circulating around the city and keeping up with the papers.

Between areas of shade, the sun warms stone.

A couple of weeks ago we had a spell of really fine weather. The project I was working on got a down–shift in priority because it was impossible to stay inside while the buds were popping out. Without planning it, suddenly I was walking all over the place both during the day and in the evenings.

Close to the Sky

A handy bus – runs right past my door – took me to the Parc André Citroën in the 15th arrondissement to see if the tethered balloon was still there. It was, the day was brilliant, and suddenly I was a passenger on it, lifted straight up about 150 metres.

It's about my speed as far as adventures go. It goes straight up and hangs on the end of its steel cable for ten minutes and then it goes straight down to where it started. It's very safe, especially since the operator is a licensed pilot – the insurance says that the thing is an aircraft. But it's a bit less formal – nobody tells you to watch out for falling oxygen masks, and nobody sells drinks in little bottles.

The view? It depends on the sky, how clear it is. On my trip it was sunny but a bit hazy, so it wasn't possible to see forever. I could see the Tour Eiffel, which is higher and has a better view, but does not gently sway as much as the balloon. And, as far as I know, you can stay on the tower all day if you feel like it.

Enough Terraces?

For a good part of the year it seems as if there are more than enough café terraces to suit everybody, but when the sun comes out and the temperature goes above 15 degrees then you might think there is a shortage.

Instead of walking from sight to sight you might plan your route to take in favorite terraces, and then you'll realizephoto, boules, tuileries how few really great ones there are. If the temperature is on the edge you might want one in the sun. Suddenly two–thirds of all terraces are eliminated, or they are morning only, or afternoon only, or always on the wrong side of the street.

In the Tuileries, city–centre boules.

In order to make terraces work year–round, some have become permanent. Many have windows that open, and some even open them. In winter, with their heaters, they can be fine, but don't quite match the simple terrace with a parasol over the table.

At night it hardly matters but it cool to sit outside in the semi–dark as waiters flit around, as terracians come and go, as Parisians wander past wishing they had your seat, outside in the city under the streetlamps. In some areas there are whole streets full of people sitting outside.

Cars whisper past and smoke drifts up, the light is yellow–brown and everybody is young. Breezes carry the smell of something good from nearby cafés and you hear murmurs instead of voices, and all the birds are asleep like the few babies sacked out in strollers.

Junk At Edgar

When you are not looking for a terrace seat or a free chair in the park, there are a lot of junk shows at this time of year. Something about spring makes people want to get rid of their idle treasures while a matching group of people likes to wander around gazing at masses of objects that are useless until they see one that isn't.

Luckily there is no entrance fee for this. All you need is free time and the inclination to look at a lot of – ah,photo, statute, arch carrousel trash? – not exactly knowing what it is that is going to strike your fancy. I guess the attraction of it is that none of it is new, or organized, or promoted – it's not like looking at a regiment of new refrigerators, trying to distinguish some difference between the white doors.

Even statues need to, um, repose.

Maybe it is a sort of statement about our materialistic consumer society – despite there being multi–story warehouses full of new goods, folks actually like shopping enough to rummage around through piles of clapped–out discards. Maybe it's not this at all, maybe it's just a way to kill tme until the next meal.


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