horz line

Here's Looking At You

photo, concorde, sunset, ferris wheel, paris, noel

Winter sundown at Concorde.

Faits Divers Returns

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 19. December 2005:– Here it is two days short of the winter thing when the day is shortest and I think it's getting dark at 15:30, as if the light is sighing – 'too cold for me, so I'm going to Argentina!' And it is, with Le Parisien saying 'hope all ye who enter here, but 4 is all you get.' And then coming back from the Monoprix seeing the pharma sign winking 7 degrees in red. It's not so bad, but it doesn't stay light long.

The weather Joe on TV tonight begins by saying a miserable low is passing over the top of France – yoohoo Belgium, Rhineland! – so it leaves us here with fairly sunny skies to expect in the morning, excepting a bit of early fog, and then it will be mostly sunny, except for a few clouds of no consequence. For this the dues are a high of no more than 5 degrees.

Wednesday sees France sliced in half from west to east. Above this line it will be somewhat cloudy with those high, thin clouds, but absolutely not the kind with rain. South of thephoto, petit palais line there will be no clouds, but here, it will not be warm and we may feel no more than 3 little degrees.

On Thursday we'll have more action with clouds lying along the northeast frontier where they won't bother us. That line will be across the centre of France again and here above it we'll have the slightly second–rate sky full of thin cloud. The Joe said we can expect 4 degrees, no wind, no rain, and three shopping days left until you know what.

The entry to the Petit Palais.

Fortunately Météo Jim disclaimed part of last week's weather forecast, because in hindsight, the foresight provided by the weather service was wrong, wrong, wrong:–

Not So Douce Pommeville

After Sunday, the disclaimer set in, along with a cold, cold, cold front. It got so low that the French Foreign Service in La Grosse Pomme issued an e–gads! alert and demanded extra financial recompense for suffering so far away from La douce France. But on Thursday, a cheese eating warm front visited Pommeland before going north and displaying a bipolar disorder by dispensing ice and rain on one side of the front, snow on the other. For the coming week – bracketed by the usual disclaimers – expect partly cloudy weather and temperatures in the upper 30's a–grad – 3 or 4 e–grad. As of now there is predicted to be more of the same with a chance of snow showers. The transit strike is partially postponed with sporadic outages on obscure lines and on the main line to Paris Plage.

*Disclaimer – Joyeux Noël to you and the readers of Metropole.

Café Life

Time for Chili

I don't have much driving me these days except a desire to keep warm. Friday was wonderful with a temperature of 11 degrees, but between sun up and sundown there wasn't much time to enjoy it because I skipped the morning part, in favor of staying warm.

Dennis called me up and said he was making chili, from a new recipe, in his bathtub. He said he would bring mephoto, shop, paris accordeon a jar of it if I was going to the record competition at Paris Accordéon, between Dimitri and the owner, Patrick Quichaud. They had an argument of some sort, maybe about the sound quality of 78 rpm records, and there was to be a playoff.

Scene of the platter playoffs.

So there I was Friday night, waiting for Dennis to show up with the jar of chili. Paris Accordéon is a neighborhood shop, 'founded 1944,' full of accordions, concertinas, accordion music, CDs, sheet music, photos of accordion stars, and musical knickknacks. Every neighborhood should have an accordion shop. Some of the fancy ones look like portable jukeboxes.

There was a table set up with Friday night snacks; crackers, peanuts, sausage, chorizo, wine, morephoto, record player wine and spare wine. I had some chorizo to put me in a chili mood. Then Dennis arrived and he didn't seem to be carrying any jar of chili. "Where's Dimitri?" he asked. "Having a cocktail at the Bistro 48?" Which he was, because everybody is late, he said.

A crank machine for high rotation disks.

He put a musette record on his turntable, the newer one, but one with the 78 speed. With a small amp it was loud. Kind of like country jazz, done with accordions, maybe one Martin Cayla recorded in 1929. Other records followed, very listenable, even while nibbling crackers. More characters showed up and more wine flowed.

Patrick cranked up his record player. It seemed to lack power, possibly because it lacked electricity. But it was fun to watch, and it worked fine. Then Dimitri put some more sides on his machine and there was some dancing. He started to complain that they were making his needle hop and asked if anybody had a level.

I didn't find out what the competition was about. I left early because the chorizo made me hungry. I bet that Dennis ate all of his chili. For accordions though, Paris Accordéon is the place. It's also a doorway to musicians andphoto, le soileil, disques martin cayla performances, especially if you like musette – the kind of music played in French dancehalls and cafés in the first half of the last century.

Ferris Ferris

On Saturday the temperature dumped to a high of 4 or 5 degrees so I planned my outing carefully, leaving Montparnasse late in the afternoon, in time to catch the sun going down and the lights coming on. But at the Métro stop for the Grand Palais it was evident that most of Paris had beaten me to the punch. There were about 500 people standing in line waiting to get in. I can't say I blame them – it's not every day a place has two ferris wheels inside it, plus a bunch of other rides.

Across the street there was a steady line of folks climbing the stairs to get into the recently reopened Petit Palais. What with the other two art exhibitions, the area has become the place to be in Paris this season if you've finished your shopping. Now I know why they start so early.

As they say, one down and two to go. No point in hanging around and getting pneumonia so I went down the Champs–Elysées to Concorde to look at Paris' third ferris wheel. I think all the people that had ridden the other two came with me – in fact, everybodyphoto, ferris wheel in Paris who has their shopping wrapped up seemed to be under way.

There's nothing special about the ferris wheel in the Place de la Concorde, unless you consider the place itself to be special, which it is. Other cities have major show–off places, usually full of pigeons, or water, or both like Venice, but Paris' has one full of cars. A couple hundred of them drive into it, around it and out of it and then another couple of hundred do the sae thing. For variety pedestrians get across it by gathering in big numbers until they can't stand it and then they burst from the safety islands. Random cars and scooters try to pick them off.

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