Metropole Pauses

photo, new years day, metro vavin, boulevard montparnasse

New Years Day in Montparnasse.

For a Refreshment

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 2. January 2006:– I am fully aware that all are anxious to learn what the weather holds in store, but I must first insert a public service announcement here where there's a good chance it'll be read unless you've already turned off and tuned out because this isn't about filthy murk up on the Channel or a sniveling whine about those poor folks wintering in their fur coats on the Riviera.

Metropole Paris – this magazine you have in front of your eyeballs – is approaching its 11th birthday, coming to the end of its 10th year of publication. On account ofphoto, fiat 500 of the new years day its slipshod management it urgently requires some spring cleaning. After 454 weekly issues since 1996 things are in a kind of hideous mess. Well, this isn't exactly true, but if I leave things slide for another 10 years... I shudder at the very notion.

Back for acclaim, the Fiat 500 of the Week.

Here's the plan. Paris will stay right where it is in January and February and I will fix up this magazine about it, and we'll meet back here again around the end of February. Let's say that I am going to declare that the next seven or eight weeks are going to be a total zero here – Nothing to see! Circulate! – and pretend issues 1102 through 1108 have been vaporized, struck with a magic disappearing wand, stick, or baguette.

Now the plan's exceptions. I have not been keeping track of anything, so there may be some items coming that I must cover and do reports for, such as this year's Rétromobile. Whenever it is, it'll get its Metropole treatment

The other exceptions are the Café Metropole Club meetings. These will continue on Thursdays, except if there's not a single soul around from mid–January until mid–February. You would not want me to be sitting around by myself in the Corona on Thursdays, would you? Let's say there'll be no meetings on 19. January, 26. January, 2. February, 9. February and 16. February, all Thursdays every one of them.

Thursday, 23. February, is not only a Thursday but it is also the exact date of Metropole's anniversary, when the magazine will become 11 years old. We can have a party at the club's café, wear funny hats, and cut each other's ties to shreds with scissors, because it will almost be Mardi Gras!

I am certain that once we get through this patch you will find that Metropole has become more useful, kind of like a superior kind of oyster knife that you find at the inventor's salon, every year. But this will be possible only after a lot of work, which I really wish someone else would do. I feel terrible just thinking about it.

Which reminds me, here is

What Passes for Weather

When we last spoke Météo France had announced an 'Alert Orange for Friday and on Friday morning radio France–Info was saying that it was going tophoto, snow, friday, 30 dec be really real. The sky got dark at noon, the Tour Montparnasse across the way disappeared, and there were snowflakes all over the place. After about 20 minutes the sky lightened and I thought it was safe enough to venture out.

Snow, but only briefly.

But the freezing rain that had been forecast to arrive in the later afternoon was already here, and it was bitter, nasty, icy, with a wind like daggers blowing out of the Rue Fermat, and I vowed to never believe a forecast again.

However the big deal was really a modest deal, advanced in time, and of short duration, so today I will pass along what the colorful weather lady had to say on tonight's TV–weather news.

First off, you should know that there is a lot of snow in the Alps and other high places. They've gotten tons of it. The problem is with yoyo temperatures, which causes underlying snow to turn into bread crumbs. I was surprised to hear this, but it was a mountain geek's opinion.

Then fresh snow falls on top, but bread crumbs aren't stable, and the top can slide off. This is called an avalanche. Unwary folks can get buried in them and although the rescue Joes have sniffer dogs, and long sticks for poking in hopes of somebody saying 'ouch,' it is much better for your health not to get buried in an avalanche. It is far better to stay in the lodge, or bar, or pizzeria, or in bed in Paris.

Tomorrow in and around Paris we are supposed to have an anti–cyclone. It is typical of French television to use big words without saying what they mean. I think it is safe enough to ignore the cyclonephoto, shellfish, new years eve part and just concentrate on the idea that the sky will be cloudy tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon, and there may be some rain in both halves. Ah, probably very cloudy. Maybe no sunshine at all. Like in winter.

At the oyster dealers on New Years Eve.

In the temperature department there isn't expected at be anything remarkable. She said it will be 'normal.' To be precise she said it will be 5 degrees. It's not a surprising number for January.

Whoever is the weather person on Sunday, they give a forecast for the whole week including the coming weekend. These are a big joke and I seldom pay much attention, with Météo France giving odds like 3 for 5 or 2 for 5. They might as well give the weather for Panama.

But tonight, with my professional Bic pen at the ready, tonight's weather lady got to the temperature and then she called out the name of the Saint of the Day for tomorrow, and that was that. No forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.

Continued on page 2...
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