The Weekend of the Week

photo, susan, joe donohue, group of the week Joe and Susan Donohue, the partial Group of the Week.

Easter of the Century

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 5. April:–  After all my years on this gig I am trying to remember a situation remotely similar to the situation we now face. Without looking them up in Metropole I remember the past 11 Easters, mostly because they were so alike. After periods of sunshine in February and temperatures flirting with 20 degrees in March, a normal Easter in Paris usually treats us to clouds, cold, damp, rain, sleet, the freezing shudders and terminal morosity.

But not this year. Mark 2007 on your calendars. It will be rare! Oh, how can I put it? How can I possibly spin this out to fill the regulation three paragraphs? What will I do with my residue of permanent skepticism, my near–total disbelief in the TV–weather news? How can it be that Riviera weather that is never anywhere around here, turns its tables this year to place itself right over our heads, right over downtown Boggleville, right near here?

For yes, dear readers, friends, countrymen, countrywomen, you folks, it is Easter and we have a complete change from our regular program. Easter Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday and, not least, Easter Monday – each and every one, sunny. Sunny. Read my lips, SUNNY ! Ain't life great?

photo, orange juice of the weekThe juice of the week.

One big sunball, über alles. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the entire Easter weekend – sunny. No breezes, no winds, no clouds... No clouds? Yeah, well no clouds were shown and if they were shown they weren't around here. All the same the forecast isn't for a steely–blue sky. There may just be some extra tiny little wooly puffs of white in the sky. Merely something decorative to look at.

If you think I'm saving the worst for last, wrong again! Here are the forecast temperatures in their order – 19, 17, 17 and 18. The first, for Friday, is for right here. The following three are averages for France north of the Loire. It is possible that the actual temperatures will be higher here. Put your overcoat, scarf and gloves in the winter chest, and get out your bikini. The Easter of the Century is coming up.

The Weekend of the Week Report

Did I say "Thanks to local global warming?" Because today definitely matched the coming Easter set. Not too breezy, warm, mostly sunny, tops down, sleeveless arms and cute twinkly knees. And many radios blaring out of car windows, with smiling drivers blithely pounding their horns. When it's nice who doesn't want to drive fast? Take Jean–Marie Le Pen for example. Running for president on the right–wingnut socket, he has proposed raising the speed limit to 150 kph. Free folks should drive fast, he seems to say.

photo, beer of the weekThe **** of the Week.

I should be careful of that. Under French election rules, if I mention one presidential candidate I am supposed to give equal time to the other 11 aspirants. Okay. None of the others have proposed raising the speed limits. Their names are Nicolas Sarkozy, Ségolène Royal, François Bayrou, Marie–George Buffet, Olivier Besancenot, Arlette Laguiller, José Bové, Philippe de Villiers, Dominique Voynet, Frédéric Nihous and Gérard Schivardi.

Instead of playing my radio and dreaming of speeding, I take the métro. It pots along at 35 kph underground and in no time at all it brought me to the station at Odéon where I regretfully left its cozy confines, to scoot across the short span of the Quartier Latin to the bridge of dreams... history, more like it. The Pont Neuf, nearly new again, just like old Henri IV ordered it.

It is so cool. If you have kind of flat–soled shoes you can shuffle across the huge stones that form the sidewalks. They are so smooth. You could do it wearing slippers. Yes, and maybe an old, fuzzy, bathrobe. Think of gliding along with your hands in your pockets, maybe smoking a pipe. A living room of a bridge, the Pont Neuf.

Obviously the weather was affecting my head. I was even a bit ahead of time, so I didn't mind that the newspaper kiosque wasn't featuring any exciting posters this week. So many re–runs! Along the quai it was just like summer with folks sunning on the terraces and troops of schoolkids, possibly German, wandering about. The terrace of La Corona was nearly full.

Inside, the club's space was waiting for me. I quickly turned to today's paper. Les Faits Divers formed the bulk of the news. For example, Le Parisien says Paris wants to clean up the publicity signs, and then illustrates this with a photo showing a bunch of signs. Five of them are traffic warnings, five are city direction signs, there's one clock and a cultural ad, a French flag and one small sign for Go Sport. Maybe it's a trick photo and I missed something.

photo, terrace outside cafe, josef The outside lights and action.

Although you probably doubt it by now, two club members did show up. They were Susan and Joe Donohue, from Montréal. They were dizzy from wandering around in the sunshine. Before coming the ten–day forecast they saw said, rain, rain, rain. Did they say they were disappointed?

The Donohues visit Paris twice a year, usually for a week each time – rather than coming once for a two–week visit. They come with a list of museums and galleries to visit, and actually go aroud to them all. I guess lots of folks do this. If I made lists I would probably avoid the places on it. The only way I get to see things is by not making lists. I don't even have magnets for my refrigerator door.

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