In With August

photo, cinema miramar, netro montparnasse Summertime in Paris.

Out With July, Begone!

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 30. July:–  Now that truly everyone who can has left town, hardly augmented by those poor suffering Julyistas who had the misfortune to pick a part of France that is having its rainy April in July, returning, we can get down to enjoying the near–empty city. Excepting, of course, for laggards who will not quit us until next weekend. All is not lost.

July's Last Smile

It just goes to show that the weather can play crummy when it feels like it. Which is what it did all week after letting Parisians taste the beach a week ago. Clouds settled in over our heads and although they were hustled along briskly, more of the same took their place. The temperature was in the celler but rain did no more than cause the wary to carry umbrellas, mostly for nought.

Last night's preview for the week suggested that the best days will be tomorrow and Wednesday, with the long–range of next weekend being given only feeble chances. As in, only 3 out of 5 that the weather will be so–so. I said to myself, "That is not nearly good enough. Better we are owed. The finest!"

photo, cafe odessa, edgar quinetThe Odessa at Edgar Q.

On tonight's TV–weather news the first thing the Joe said was that the westerly breeze would finally push all the clouds to the east. Good riddance! For Tuesday, therefore, bright sun all day, all over France except for some remote extremities – far, far from here. Fantastic. And with it an almost decent temperature of 23 degrees.

I was so pleased that I forgot to pay close attention to what he said about Wednesday. It looked, looking over his shoulder, as if midweek will also be all sunny, mostly sunny, right around here. Thunderstorms around the western Pyrenees are of no concern to us. Better yet, the temperature is supposed to climb up to to 26 degrees, just about right for 1. August.

In the night of Wednesday into Thursday a wave of clouds may pass over us towards the east, but during the day on Thursday the sky might be mostly clear around here. The high is forecast to dip to 24 degrees, but I say it should try to hold on to 26, and Wednesday should go for 28. After all, we deserve it.

Tasty weather fans can sip the following weather cocktail from beyond the Atlantic, from the inkwell of that amateur of exotic pig skins, Météo Jim, with yet another philosophic forecast, like the ones we used to pray would happen to the orange groves of Florida.

iWeather Prime Time

There will be no repeats or second acts for this July. The august month of August is waiting in the wings and already the dogdays of August are barking, eager for their debut. At least that's what the iWeather said yesterday. "Woofies are woofing," said the forecaster. But today, different forecaster, different woofing. Sunday through Wednesday will see humidity along with warmer temperatures and a 30% –50% chance of rain and thunderboomerseargesplittendonnerblitzens. A cooler and drier front will parade through Pommeland and stay into the weekend along with more pleasant weather.

So, the feared furnace of July did not materialize. Yes, there were several days of the 3 H's – hazy, hot & humid – but they were replaced by June–like days of low humidity and wafting, cooling breezes. In fact, one cold front made history by reaching Florida, something altogether quaint at this time of year.

photo, sign, orange de pago

The august days of August will start with mornings starting 25 minutes later and ending 15 minutes earlier. They will also see the preliminary outings of American football, known in le pays de Paris–Plage as Les Chevaliers de la balle qui est faite du peau de cochon. When they are ready for prime time, the dream of summer along with the Boys of Summer will fall as the leaves of summer fall.

A la prochaine , Météo Jim

Café Life

The Secrets of Others

I was counting on a week of summer like the ones we used to have back in April but it didn't happen, so I did a few chores, walked around a bit and even laid down one afternoon under an open window and read a book for about 20 minutes until I fell asleep because it was so peaceful.

photo, a table, rue de la gaite Al fresco in the rue Gaîté.

It is really a long time since I've done that. This life is all hurry up and rush from place to place. It is true that I live in Paris and if I want to feel like a visitor all I have to do is walk 10 minutes or less and jump on a métro and ride a bit and get out in front of some museum or monument and join the other eight million folks who have come from across the oceans rather than from Montparnasse.

We have just had the first of two weekends when the Julyistas cross the Augustans. The autoroutes are full, the train stations are jammed to the rafters and the airport terminals are bulging. Meanwhile here on the street we are anxiously watching bakeries, waiting for our favorites to reopen. Allright, I confess that doing this all week can cause drowsiness. Yawn.

If you've read this far you might have guessed I am only writing this at all, to hold the photos in place. I don't have anything else to tell you. I went to the public library and borrowed two good books and I want to get back to them. The photos don't mean anything either.

photo, parc montsouris, sunday Overtired at Montsouris.

I verified that there is WiFi in the Parc Montsouris. To be exact, I verified that there is a sign there saying there is WiFi there. Nobody on Sunday seemed to have a laptop. I met a guy named Nicolas who asked me if I thought it was right that he be thrown in the Saint–Anne hospital for the weekend because he misplaced something or other. The doctors looked at him and said he wasn't crazy, what was he doing there? That's what he wanted to know – what was he doing there?

What am I doing here? What are you doing, reading this? Does anybody know? Next week I am going to meet a handful of artists who should be famous. These are people who moved here to work as artists, and they live here and do it. I am going to ask them for their secret.

photo, vavin by night Former centre of the world – Vavin.

WiFi for Whistlers

Cyber cafés may be a bit thin on the ground in Paris but the city has begun offering free access to the Net via the magic of WiFi. Operational now are 400 signposted points of access spread around 260 city locations – libraries, museums, city halls, parks and open spaces. In general, you should be able to obtain access from 07:00 to 23:00, but it will depend on the open hours of the location. Note:– the Tuileries and the Luxembourg are not parks operated by the city. No WiFi alors. Additionally, there may be not 400 access points until September, but let's not nit–pick the cherries off this free horse.

Free Photos of Paris

A lucky chance took me to a Website that is apparently not new, but is most worthwhile. Photo archives tend to be paranoid these days so it is refreshing to find Paris en Images online and accessible to all. These are Paris photos, oldies and goodies, and the site itself is clean and neat.

More So–So Summertime

Paris–Plage opened for the summer season this year on Friday. Read all about it on last week's Paris–Plage–bis page where I placed some bonus photos. This week it was cool and there was less sunshine than usual and more clouds than usual. Next week, of course, there will be much more everything, as usual, weather – see above – permitting.

The Café Metropole Club

A couple of the club's absent members showed up at last week's club meeting, and one brought his daughter plus a ton of exquisit gummibären. On Thursday there will be another brand–new Café Metropole Club meeting. The secretary doesn't know why but is excited. Maybe August is exciting. Maybe, deep down, the club is exciting.

photo, greenest car of the weekThe greenest van of the week.

The next meeting of the Café Metropole Club will be on 2. August, two whole days after you–know–what. The Saint of the Day will be Saint–Julien–Eymard. Pete, as his friends called him, is not any more made up than the others. Born at La Mure d'Isère in 1811, Pete was declared venerable in 1908, beautified in 1925 and canonized in 1962 and the rest is familiar history.

Like last week, this is completely unrelated to Paris because it happened in some other time, in some place near the Alps. You can read everything about the club and its three facts on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who actually have read half of it, and some of you might have, will hardly fail to comprehend the half of it all, and might therefore attempt to download the club's scrap of a free but worthless membership card. A half is better than nothing.

photo, sign, villa virginie

This Was Metropole Ten Years Ago

It is less surprising that last week ten years ago was a long time before today, much like last week. This Metropole used to just have real new stuff in it every week. All of the good feeling is still here somewhere as strong as ever, somewhat like this August, which should be drenched in warm honey with a side order of wine.

Café Life Légère 91.8

Others Seen In Mirrors

Today's Quote of the Week will never have any connection to anything at all, but what do we care? For today's jewel I propose a solo quote consisting of some deep philosophy by Aldous Huxley. He wrote, "To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves." This observation could have been noticed by any of us, but we hadn't the mirrors or the curiosity, so we gazed at our own nombrils instead.

photo, sign, presence de courant electrique

Out the Wobble–Windows

There are no more than 154 days left of this year, the same number that 1419 had when the folks of Prague tried a novel form of civic protest for the first time. Some discontents stormed city hall and threw council members out of windows, onto the pikes of other discontents waiting below. It is possible that Prague is more famous for the second time this was done, because it was the first salvo in the 30 Years War. The French word for it is défenestration.

Inventions from the Patazone

This is totally unconnected to the fact that this year has used up 211 days, the same number that 1898 had when John Harvey and Will Keith Kellogg invented corn flakes. However I do not believe this date is correct. It wasn't until 1906 that brother Will Keith patented the idea for flaked cereals, and even then it wasn't on 30. July. Basically, John Harvey, a doctor who ran a nutcase clinic, wanted a foodstuff that would chill folks out. His brother wanted to make a ton of money instead, so he added a little sugar, and eventually, chocolate, and Kellogg's became history.

photo, sign, jar of bonbons

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Many folks have probably been reminded that there should be an the anniversary of the nighttime gun battle in 1858 during the gold rush in British Columbia, which some called New Caledonia. Most of the gold seekers were heavily armed crazies from San Francisco and they stepped on some Indian toes, so a couple got bumped off. Before British civil authorities in Victoria could react the miners formed companies and went up the Fraser River looking for trouble. One group, the Whatcom Company, wiped itself out. In the dark a rifle fell over and went off, and everybody started shooting blind. There were only two or three survivors. The Indians, who weren't involved, decided to settle for peace. When government troops finally arrived they told everyone to behave or they would have to return to San Francisco and wait for the Yukon gold rush, 40 years later.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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