"One In a Row"

photo, group, david, terrie, joann, paul, larry Today's semi–group: David, Terrie, Joann, Paul and Larry.

First Red Shoe of the Week

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 12. October:–  Folks have been ribbing me about the weather. Not about the "weather" – not about the stuff in the sky, but about the stuff here in Metropole. They say I am obsessed with it. This is not true. I despise the weather.

If you are coming to Paris in June what I write about the weather in October has nothing to do with anything. But I know readers like to know what the weather here is like even if it is total fantasy. In fact, it is not total fantasy. It is just averagely crummy. Most of the time it is neither this or that. Two days a year – in any month, any – the sky is crystal clear. The other 363 days it is less so. Less than perfect. It is weather for folks, not card–carrying Gods.

Before I came here I didn't think about the weather in Paris except when I did think of it. Then I thought that the sun was always shining when you are sitting on a café terrace watching the days drift past. I thought, when you are taking photos, that Paris is in black and white, and foggy. It never occurred to me that there could be other options.

photo, sign, cakes frais

Like you coming here next June and taking what you get, I expect the same for tomorrow. If I don't get what I've forecast, do you think I go and sit in a corner and sulk? Nosir! I go out in it whatever it is and curse at it, just like everybody else. Paris is not the Riviera. Paris is way up north, almost in Belgium. We almost have Belgian weather here. But lucky we don't. It could be worse but isn't.

Take tomorrow for example. Forgot out west, forget the Channel, forget the far east. Right around here it will be semi–sunny on Friday with a high of 19 degrees. On Saturday and Sunday it is supposed to be mostly sunny, and 18 degrees both days. There might be a wind from the east, puffing along at 50 kph, but who cares? In conclusion, not too shabby for October. Today's Le Parisien says "Même pas gris." C'est sympa! is not you were?

The 'Not Born In Texas' Report

Just thinking about the weather puts me in a foul mood. Do you remember the odd photo on this week's Café webpage – the one with the bed of cobbles surrounded by a keep–out barrier? The caption was, "What's this?" On the way to the club today I found out.

That photo, of something looking like an out–of–cemetery grave for King Kong, is actually an 18th century speed bump! That street, the rue Emile Richard that splits through the Montparnasse cemetery, has no street numbers, no houses and nobody living in it. So it needs speed bumps like I need a double–dose of this winter's grippe.

photo, cafe of the week 352nd café of the week.

The city in its wisdom has moved the permitted parking from the west side to the east, and in the lane left to drive in, it has installed three massive speed bumps constructed of granite cobbles. If you come through there in your red Ferrari going 5 kph you are liable to lose your oil pan. If you come through there in your biege Twingo at 45 kph you are liable to get flipped into the cemetery!

You probably don't care what happens to the taxes you pay here. If you think they all go to keeping the Champs–Elysées clean and swept, free of highway robbers and stinky panhandlers, well – think again!

Then I got in the métro at Raspail, rode to Odéon, tramped through the Quartier Latin, and arrived at the club's café to find member Larry Mann outside contemplating the insane drivers on the Quai du Louvre. That's a street that could handily use 50 of those speed bumps, piled on top of one another.

photo, beer of the week Paul's first beer of the week.

We no sooner sat down in the club's area than we were joined by Joann Fisher and Paul Smith from Houston, Texas, and Lyon, where they had been recently having some lush meals. But first Paul had to remember his Portland experience for Larry. He was stopped at a red light there when a cop car demolished itself on his front bumper, chasing a bloody man running down the sidewalk being chased by another guy with a crutch. They let Paul off with a warning.

Then we learned that both Paul and Larry are in the electric game. Larry has the Hoover Dam and Paul has 12–packs of 3–volt Lithium batteries that power some kind of oil snooper at the end of a 3000–foot cable in the Gulf of Mexico. However this was nothing compared to the kind of meals they just had in Lyon.

I mean, not totally unconnected. Joann said it was the hometown of André Ampère and the Pathé brothers, Emile and Charles, who were born in Paris. Paul said, "People line up at 10:30 in the morning to see movies in Lyon."


"Every restaurant there serves the same things," he added. But from what they both said every restaurant strives to serve the same things better than any other restaurant, better than anyplace in the wold. Then he had a question. "How do you pronounce cake as in the cakes frais sign in the window?"


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