Paris' New Girls

photo, quai de la  gare, saturday night Te Left Bank version of the coming 'Paris–Plage.'

Heatwave of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 17. July:–  Tonight this town has made it into the big leagues with Météo France putting the Ile de France on the dreaded Alert Orange list along with a great deal of western France and the mouth of the Rhône. France looks like somebody afflicted with red boils, all of them extrème.

As a service for readers I have done more than look out the window this evening, where it is currently quite dark. I have consulted Metropole's official conversion thermometre – actually a photo of one – and it tells me that our forecast high for tomorrow of 36 degrees will be the equivalent of Météo Jim's Pommeland prediction of 35 degrees, which is, which is, ah, look closely, somewhere about 97 degrees here equals our 36. Frankly, Pommeland can keep its 35 degrees, whatever it is in those little F's.

But it is tonight's forecast low of 20 degrees that gives us the Alert Orange. This emergency measure requires that all adults between the ages of 16 and 76 must carry a cool spray bomb of water and give everybody obviously 77 years old or older a fine cooling blast in the face.

You may think this is a poor excuse for air conditioning. While you may be right we still haven't got much in the way of air–con or clim as it is sometimes called here, and even if we did have lots of it, it would be in the wrong places, like in funeral parlors and outdoor swimming pools.

Where it's really needed is in the Métro. These days if you are down there you could easily think you are riding the MTA's F train from Queens to Manhattan and even that wouldn't be correct because the F–train is air conditioned. New Yorkers need it more than Parisians.

However it is not humid. There is a breeze, although not strong. Just enough so you won't forget the smell of frites. Tuesday's sky will be all blue all day and into the night when it will be still blue but too dark to see. Then on Wednesday there will be some of those thin, wispy clouds like sky–high haze, but the temperature will still be expected to reach 34 degrees.

photo, floating pool, josephine bakerThe new pool is closed for shakedown repairs.

Just when we were gasping, thinking this is a true heatwave, Thursday will bring relief in the form of one of our big windshieldwiper waves of clouds and instability, sweeping from west to east stretching from south to north. I noted a high of 30 for the day but TV's Isabelle was in the way and it might have been more. Well, after tomorrow's 36 it will probably seem cool, only a degree or so less than today. I wonder where they sell those cool spray bombs of water.

Today's Le Parisien sums up the next three days with Trop... trop chaud... et crac! for the whole country. Just for around here they have Plus, plus, plus!

HHH Spells Muggy Muggy Night

Since this is summer and most newspapers are devoting space to serious, important news such as theatrical events and other forms of entertainment, Météo Jim flicks his ever trusty, rusty and ready – and by now dried out – Bic to write the Weakly Weather Report using that format.

The past week in Pommeland saw the Radio City Lightningblitzen and Thunder–boomerettes dance, flash and boom their way across Pommeland along with temporary, long lasting downpours. That act was followed by clearing and warmer weather with occasional appearances by the group HHHHazy, Hot and Humid.

For the days ahead, le Fourneau de juillet is roasting to a fine crisp the first canicule of the season! Yes, you read it here first! Une canicule! It is expected to pop out of the oven on Sunday with temperatures in the low 90's – add 5 degrees to get the actual temperature – accompanied by the ever popular HHH and continue to grow in popularity so that by Tuesday the temperature will reach the century mark – 100 degrees. It is expected to perform to sold–out crowds until Thursday or Friday, but if there is enough demand, it may have an extended run.

photo, batofar alongside the quay Cafés of the beach beside the boats.

As usual, with the extreme heat and humidity, the Lightningblitzen and Thunderboomerettes can make an appearance at any time. As even more usualer, all claims and disclaimers are claimed and disclaimed, though not necessarily in that order.

Café Life

Paris' New Girls

New stuff is the new floating pool in the Seine, named Josephine Baker. The other new stuff is the footbridge from Bercy on the right bank to the Quai de la Gare on the left bank. Maybe it's not be the Quai de la Gare anymore. The bridge, inaugurated last Thursday, is named Simone de Beauvoir. Both, the bridge and the pool, which was inaugurated last week, are defect. I don't know what's wrong with either. Part of the bridge was closed on Saturday and a security guy told me it wasn't shaking down right. On it, I thought it jiggled quite a bit but maybe it is supposed to.

Just to make things really interesting, the line 6 Métro is closed this summer – from Bercy to the Place d'Italie. It means you can't take the Métro from the Left Bank to the Quai de la Gare to go to the new pool and other Paris–Plage stuff. You can walk across from Bercy – where nobody lives except for the Cinémathèque. You can also take the Right Bank's line 14 but that doesn't do anybody in Montparnasse any good.

The good news is that the old red Batofar is still there, still serving drinks and still has its quayside terrace. Same for the Pirate and another tub next to the Batofar.

In winter it must be cozy to be on these old hulks, whiling away a gray afternoon or a drizzly evening, rocking gently in the river with a glass in the hand and no pressing concerns. I'll not think of how damp you might have become just getting to them because now that we are having Majorca weather it hardly matters. Today you can go there wearing flip–flops and a handkerchief.

photo, seine, library, batofarFormer cement port transformed into resort.

Aside from the music – better at the place next to the Batofar on Saturday, with a white guy playing live rock piano – with bass and drums – singing like Joe Cocker cum Van Morrison, the terraces beside the boats are really cool. Plain, funky, grass shack types, with deckchairs, bamboos, crates and barrels, and very little background noise.

Uncle Den–Den goes to Bercy quite often to see Italian comedies and he was telling me about steering some young folks to the Quai de la Gare, inadvertantly landing them in this construction site. The area used to enjoy benign neglect, sort of like a humble riverside squat but now it seems to be getting the added–value treatment.

A long long ways from the Quartier Latin. this is still desert island stuff. "Under these paving stones – the beach!" The Quai de la Gare is going to be slick when it's finished, but it maintains its scruffy character while it's still becoming, maybe only for another few weeks. There's still a little honest grit underfoot.

The 'Dancing Chopsticks' Café Metropole Club 'Report'

Last Thursday's Club Meeting of the Week last week took place with somewhat more members than the club's secretary has come to expect. Top yourself up with the smooth report of this historic meeting, which was aptly titled, "Cut It With Chopsticks." There was no food to go with the chopsticks but there was a repeat of the Semi–Important Notice, beginning its ad nauseous repetition.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on an ordinary day in this paradise, a plain 'Thursday of the Week.' The coming 'Saint of the Week' will be Sainte–Marina. She shares the date with a host of other saints for some reason, and there are at least six other Marinas. Which then, is the right one? It appears as if only two of them are remotely real – Marina of Antioch and Marina the Monk who pretended to be a monk instead of a nun. She suffered horribly for this, at the Monastery of Qannoubine in Lebanon and at the end of a long search I don't even know if she really is the 'saint of the day' or why she became a saint if it was all that trouble.

The hardly more interesting legend of the club is on a page of inexplicable wonder called the 'About the Club' page. Challenge your belief with a serious test by glancing at the club's original and hand–crafted membership card before its impending oblivion.

photo, pirate ship, bar, cafe Nautical café with real fishnets.

Club Secretary Tells All

The reason why I intend to take a holiday this summer is because I feel like being irresponsible and the way I see it August is a better month than any other to toss aside my business uniform, abandon my pressing duties and just run crazy rotten wild. I need a grilled chipolata smothered in garlic now!

This is the reason there will be no meetings of the Café Metropole Club for the following Thursdays of August:– 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31. Meetings, with or without members present, will be held on 20 and 27. July. After August the first Thursday in September will be a meeting day. Mark the 7th on your calendar. For a free club noted for rare and unusual 'firsts,' this is the secretary's second one.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

This feature continues to be unavailable this week for scheduling reasons, partly because 'Ed' is the decider here but mainly because it is hot again, these keys are getting more sticky and Ed's calendar is soggy, substituting all Fridays for Saturdays.

Café Life Lite 1O1

Lest We Forgot

Causing no end of worry the saints continue to be an editorial problem. For example, in 180 AD twelve residents of Scillium were executed on account of being Christians. It is the first mention of Christianity in connection with this part of North Africa. But by reading further I learned that Scillium might not be the name of Scillium, it might not be near Carthage, and there might not have been any Christians there anyway. History is a bit foggy on the subject.Apparently none of the Scillii who were bumped off became saints, but Scillium was the home town of Saint Cucuphas who was martyred somehow in Barcelona. It was also the home town of Saint Felix who came to a premature end in Gerona, and those places have their celebrations for them on 25. July and 1. August. But if nobody can even find this missing Scillium why should I expect myself to turn up a 'saint of the day' for Thursdays?

Hundred Pataphysical Years

There are a bagful of 167 days left of this year, which means there is only about two minutes left until Paris–Plage opens for sunbathing if not swimming in its new pool. This is exactly the same number of 'days left' as in 1463 when the Hundred Years' War became finished. Charles VII led the French to a victory over the British at Castillon and then did something else to them at Bordeaux in October, and they were "booted out of the kingdom of France," which was not as big as the France of today, just like the Hundred Year's War was actually somewhat longer.

photo, fireworks begin, 14 julyFirst boom, first ahh!

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 198 days, the same number that 1791 had when the Massacre at the Champ de Mars happened. It might have been named after the Campus Martius in Rome but in 1791 it was the scene of the Fête de la Fédération so some disgruntled folks came along a few days later with a draft petition to get rid of Louis XVI. For some reason, the mayor, Jean–Sylvain Bailly, ordered troops to open fire and they massacred either 50 or 1500 Parisians, while General Lafayette tried to stop it. Probably totally unrelated, but some bungler was guillotined for this on 12. November 1793, but who wasn't?

No Florida News This Week

On this date in 1867 the first edition of a popular work by Karl Marx was published, most likely in German, in London. Eventually becoming a best–seller, Das Kapital took about a century before being noted on the New York Times best–seller list for science fiction. By that time a disillusioned Mr. Marx, joined by three bothers living in Corona, formed a comedy trio and they travelled widely, especially entertaining Loyalist troops in Spain during the Civil War which stared today in 1936, which was also won by the bad guys in 1939, while the good guys had a shot at bumping off George Orwell, the famous author of Animal Farm and 1984 whose real name was Blair.

photo, sign, frog

Also World Class

This date may be remembered, by some, for several anniversaries of note, including one for Angela Merkel, in 1954 among others. The French warship Medusa sank on this day in 1816 off the coast of Senegal and its story became the world's first multimedia event, with news accounts, books, paintings, album covers and not least, a movie based on the event. Finally it was on this day in 1897 that the Klondike gold rush began in Seattle when the initial lucky winners came to town to cash in their chips. After that there was a big argument about how to spell Klondike and most contented themselves by saying they were going "North to Alaska," which was also made into a movie, starring John Wayne, Stewart Granger and Fabian. Yeah, just plain Fabian.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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