Blasted Sunlight

photo, group of the week, marie and mark Marie and Mark, inspect the unknown Wine of the Week.

Shreds the Winter

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Thursday, 20. December:–  What a change from last week! This week we are having forecasts that are like real predictions that come true. The sun is shining very brightly, right in the eyes because it is very low on the southern horizon. Lower it will not go this year. The same probably can't be said about the temperature, but there's a hint of a positive tendency.

Also, tonight, we have a bonus from the folks at France–2 TV news and weather. They added two extra days to their forecast to prepare us for the holiday. Unfortunately today's Le Parisien didn't include a map for Tuesday, Christmas Day. So all you'll get here is Metropole's forecast for the eve.

Tonight we will have what we've been having for low temperature and that is minus 2. On Friday we should have what we had today, and that was about +3. After any lurking low–lying fog clears away, which it will in most places that aren't in dismal valleys, the sun will display lots of winter rays and they will be bright. No wind is predicted, and in a corner out of what might be floating around, it will feel almost warm.

photo, orange j of the weekThe not a Mimosa of the Week.

Do not be fooled! It is not warm at all. Saturday should be more or less the same, but there might be some thin cloud hanging around. A high temperature of 5 degrees was forecast. Sunday will be even better with 7 degrees, and maybe more or less of those thin clouds. On Christmas Eve, Monday, the skies should stay just about the same with sunshine and wispy clouds, but the high temperature is not expected to reach higher than 5 degrees. The overnight lows should be in the plus column though.

Bonus Update from Météo Jim

I'm not very familiar with French Christmas carols, but I notice a difference between them and American and French Canadian carols. In le monde nouveau – not to be confused with Bojo Novo – we – American and French Canadian – celebrate the cold, the weather, the winter season and snow which gets us ready for winter. In France, the weather is not mentioned, which leaves the average citoyen to get ready for the season at his or her own pace. In most cases, this doesn't happen until May.

The Bordeaux or Burgundy of the Week Report

The above is not exactly true. I am not going to be singing the praises of December next May. Mostly likely I will be whining about the lousy spring and about how cold Easter was, or getting into a panic about the unlikelihood of summer. Besides, I can't sing. Carols are humbug.

But this afternoon when I left for the club I was in a better mood, until I was halfway to Raspail, and noticed how cold it was. And it must have been 1 or 2 degrees. That is nothing as far as cold goes. Minus 20 is cold. It feels like cold steel on the nose and ears. What we have is obviously global warming. If it keeps up I'll be swimming to the club. Paris–Plage won't put away its palm trees for the winter.

photo, cafe mustard, oil, salt, peper The Stuff of the Week.

Going over the Pont Neuf I noticed that the morning fogs they talk about were happening in the distant 16th arrondissement. It looked really foggy over that way. I tried to take a photo of it. If it comes out it will look kind of blurry. The bridge, in contrast, was too contrasty on account of the sun hanging low over the rue Dauphine and throwing long shadows all over the place. Too bad reality is in color.

When I got to the club's café La Corona I stood on the deserted terrace for a while, squinting. It began to feel warm. The café is on the Right Bank of the Seine. In a situation like today it is a wonderful place to enjoy sunshine, sort of just like being up an Alp sitting on a terrace flashing the old ski duds and hanging out like person who can afford to be up an Alp, without a care in the world and plenty of central heat in the hotel.

Whereas the reality in Paris is a little different, except that on the Corona's terrace you could get one of those alpine cocktails – something like a hot wine with a hot rum chaser, just so long as somebody like Monsieur Ferrat noticed and found a waiter willing to come out. Yes, it could be pretty good, with everything like in the mountains except for the train ride and the endless cheesy fondus.

Inside the café all was normal and I set up in the club's area and began to read the paper. According to it the Internet is a pretty lawless place, and the French are not immune. Then there was l'incroyable collision between a huge truck carrying rock and a TGV at an obscure level crossing. The truck lost the contest. Only 35 train passengers were lightly injured.

I was about to read some unsurprising non news about the government when member Marie Mazurchuk arrived. This meeting was to be her last, before returning next May – that nothing month! – to attend the tennis tournament at Roland Garros.

photo, quai du louvre, winter sunThe long Shadow of the Week.

All the same Marie seemed a little bit glum. Most folks visit Paris for a week, and when they go they might be happy after cramming so much into such little time. But stay four months, off and on, and maybe you are not sure leaving is the best thing. No matter how homelike home seems to be.

So we looked out the window where the sun was blazing on the Quai du Louvre. There was a huge howl of sirens and a herd of big Peugeots came around the corner, all flashing the blue lights. They were followed by three or four very bulky trucks, like armored cars on steroids. More big Peugeots came after and then a half–dozen cops on motorcycles.


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