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All these people. Where are they coming from and where are they going? It's a big, open space, between a long walk whichever way you come and go. There's something about the town that forces folks out on to the pavements, to walk considerable distances, even when it's cold. But the real heros are the ones sitting on those ferris wheel seats, up high, in the wind – and the Place de la Concorde is one without a single café. Nearest, I guess, is Maxim's in the Rue Royal. Or under the arcades on Rivoli.

Jours de Fête

Don't face overlong lines like I did. Plan your visits to the art exhibitions at the Grand Palais in the evenings until 22:00 on Wednesdays, and exceptionally on Friday, 23. December, Friday, 30. December and on Friday, Saturday and Sundays in January until 15. January. See Austrian superstars Klimt, Schiele, Moser and Kokoschka or a somewhatphoto, champs elysees unseasonal Mélancolie, Géine et Folie en Occident. And on the Winston Churchill side, there's the Jours de Fête with its two ferris wheels inside, open until 23:00, but closing at 20:00 on Friday, 24. December and Friday, 30. December. At the Grand Palais – open 10:00 to 20:00 and until 22:00 on Wednesdays. Closed Tuesdays. Grand Palais, 3. Avenue du Général Eisenhower, Paris 8. Métro: Champs–Elysées–Clemenceau. InfoTel.: 01 44 13 17 17.

Soldes d'Hiver

"By any chance," the server–lady Linda Thalman asked, "do you know the dates of the sales?" In past years I have gone around the shops trying to find this out, sometimes for weeks, but it's too cold for this kind of silliness. I was able to confound the server–lady by supplying the dates in a flash. Are you ready? This season's Soldes d'Hiver begin on Wednesday, 11. January and continue until Tuesday, 21. February, until long after anything is left. Some popular toys are already sold out.

The Latest Café Metropole Club 'Report'

The 'Club Meeting of the Week' last Thursday was dashed off as the 'Not a Sausage' meeting report. The club's secretary found himself alone at the meeting, which only became a problem when writing a report without any cities of the week and not much else 'of the week,' except some chickens on television.

The next Thursday meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be another mystery, but I will be there to find out what happens. The 'Sainte of the Week' will be the Sainte–Françoise–Xavière Cabrini. This is a quite recent sainte du jour born in Italy. She wanted to go to China but ended up in Chicago dispensing good works to the Italian community, and became a saint in 1946.

The true story, regardless of how unlikely, about the club is on the 'About the Club' page, suitable for fans of realism and truth. Glance at the photos which are in true color. The club's original and hand–made membership card is there too and you may take it for your own, absolutely free. More than Hors d'âge, the club membership is guaranteed to be what it actually is – free.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 9.51 – 13. Dec 2004 – this week's issue started with the Café Metropole column's 'Hairy Marmalade.' The update for the 16. December meeting of the Café Metropole Club was an olfactoric sensation with the "Smello–Paris" meeting report. Unlike this year there were three real Scène columns, most notably with 'The Fête of the Year' and 'Gala – 2004's Eves.' Therephoto, santa claus were four holiday–type 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's weekly cartoon was a wretched but unfilled threat, with "Next year I'm getting a red SUV!"

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 8.51/52 – 15/22. Dec 2003 – this double issue's Café Metropole column had the headline, 'Driverless Métro Line Goes Further.' A week later Café Life had 'Have Breakfast, Or Else!' The hot features of the week were titled 'Trying Out Troyes – 21st Century Mediaeval' and 'The Passages of Time – are the Grandfathers of Malls.' The update for the 18. December meeting of the Café Metropole Club appeared as the "I Will Bring You a Blow–Fish" meeting report. There were a total of 3 Scène columns in all, all repeats, but recent ones. There were four fundamentally graphic 'Posters of the Week,' and far from least, Ric's weekly cartoon was less nonsense than real life with the topical caption of 'Up, Down with Noël.'

Triple Striving

For the 40th time in a row, this is not about some musty old saint, but is instead an exciting true 'Quote of the Week' loosely based on a true one. Once upon a time Charles Dickens, who wrote 'A Christmas Carol' in his spare time, said, "I will live in the past, the present, and the future. The spirits of all three shall strive within me." Saving what be made in the past and spending it in the present, Dickens still had some spare change when he was overtaken by the future.

If the Past Is Any Indication

The United States, where everything not invented in France or Russia, was invented, saw its first record player – a forerunner of the iPod – on this date in 1877, when Thomas Edison was granted a patent for it. Audio grooves were etchedphoto, sign, pere noel on a tin cylinder and picked up with a needle and somehow transformed into sounds, with somewhat fuzzy vowels, but good enough for Bing Crosby to sing 'White Christmas' eternally.

Existential Pataphysics

While France is a proud land with a long political history over a couple of thousand years, involving literally thousands of personalities both major and minor, there is perhaps only one politician of note who will be remembered in history, as well as record books, for being born on the day he died. This honor goes to Théodore Steeg who between the two dates of 19. December lived 82 years from 1868 to 1950, and made the voyage from Libourne to Paris.

High of the Week

It was exactly four years ago today that world's highest barometric pressure was recorded. According to the record it measured 1085.6 hPa, or 32.06 inHg, in round numbers. Scientists around the world applauded this extraordinary feat which put Tosontsengel, Hövsgöl Aymag, Mongolia, on the map for the first time. If not for the record, it would still be off the maps, notphoto, case of boules much more than a dusty water hole in the desert, known only to a few double–humped camels and their hardy drovers.

Memorable Dates of the Week

There are only 12 days left of this year, which means there are not more than 22 days until the begin of the Soldes d'Hiver. This is exactly the same number of 'days left,' as at this time in the year 1910 when Jean Genet was born, a good number of years before publishing his first, successful or otherwise, novel. This is completely unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 353 days, the same number that 1915 had when Edith Piaf was born in a bird's nest on Ménilmontant. The exact date when the two shared a lunch at the Deux Magots is unknown.

Faits Divers XII

On behalf of 'Ed,' Ric, the club secretary and radio ric, I wish all readers a very happy holiday and a fine time until the new year is safely behind, or entered into, whichever seems easiest. Salut les copains!
signature, regards, ric

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