Saturday Pastime

photo, free show, rap, hip hop, place beaubourg Street entertainment in front of Beaubourg.

Mobs In Les Halles

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 28. January:–  I don't understand. We have had two days of sunshine in January. It is true there was some morning fog but our barefoot boys with cheek can hardly be concerned for it was gone by noon. In the bare twigs of branches you could almost see lingering wisps. That's what I like – fog that you can almost see if you get up in the middle of the night about 9:00.

Worms and Snails

It just goes to show that nighttime weather studies aren't worth all you might think, because the weather is like people – it sleeps at night. Those folks out there with flashlights are looking for worms and snails, not barometric pressure.

According to tonight's France–2 TV news and forecast there will be some morning fog tomorrow too. It will be up along the northwest coast, along the Channel. Good luck up there if you get up early enough! Around here we may start off with some of the semi, which may gradually become bright and mostly sunny, with a high of 7 degrees, a tad lower than it's been.

photo, sculpture pool near beaubourg Modern, near Beaubourg.

After that good start we will have a Wednesday which is expected to be crummy, on account of some offshore low overcoming our Iberian high, pushed this way from the northwest – a form of nasty winds from the Channel, dog garn it! But it will be milder, to the tune of 8 degrees in the top of the afternoon.

For Thursday the wind will switch to blowing at a clip of 90 kph from the southwest – up the Channel – and this will produce – somehow – a swath of cruddy skies covering all over here, with a high of a lousy 7. Achoo! When I saw this earlier it seemed less rotten that it sounds but now I think I caught something from the TV.

Never a day late, Météo Jim our courageous forecaster of celestial phenoms, has posted yet another insightful prediction that includes that dreaded word, boring. His grasp on the weather situation, in contrast, is a bullseye:–

Stupor Bowl – Groundhog Bungles

The week that was, in a word, was quiet. In another word, much feared and abhorred by the French, boring. Monday started out excitingly with temperatures in the low 20s and wind chills of 0, but from then on the temperatures rose to the mid 30s a–grad. There were days of sun and clouds, but nothing that sent Pommelanders to the barricades. Even a snow storm for this weekend fizzled out, by staying far off shore.

photo, sign, secours in cas de noyade

But the coming week will flow into the first – though incomplete – week of the second month of the year. Temperatures will rise into the low and mid 40s a–grad with showers on Tuesday and Friday.

This coming weekend is important for two reasons. First, February 2 is Groundhog Day – aka Candlemas in some countries – which marks the half way point of winter. However, the Pommeland Groundhog is missing. He has not been seen since he returned from France. Anybody interested in applying for the position of Groundhog, please contact Metropole or go straight to February 3.

Sunday, February 3 is the designated annual Stupor Bowl football game. Pommelanders have more reason to be interested in this game because one of their teams will be playing for the championship of the entire world. The game will take place in Arizona, so any weather forecasts for here will be invalid there.

"A la prochaine, Météo Jim"

Café Life

Mobs In Les Halles

This is another one of those weeks when I have not much to say. I was in Les Halles on Saturday, to see the place. Where I live in Paris you don't often hear people say that they are going to Les Halles, or that they have been there recently. It is the centre of the city, if you count the number of métro and RER lines that cross there, but that hardly makes it an attraction.

photo, merry go round, les halles For the few little kids.

If you go to Montmartre by métro you might be surprised when you get there by the numbers of folks that are wandering around, especially after riding there in a nearly empty métro wagon. But it's been like that since the end of the 19th century.

As soon as you get off the train in Châtelet on a Saturday you will sense a fever of mankind. The tunnels underground are not huge, and Châtelet has a maze of them, and the streams flowing through them is bewildering. In the middle, if the place has a middle, there's the South American band – rock from the Andes. The streams flow around, stop to take photos, listen, maybe even buy a CD, and then the line 1 métro dumps in another 300 folks.

photo, sign, blue doorknob

I can't tell you how to get out of there quickly. I only know a couple of escapes and I can't tell you where they are. Who knows? How many tunnels join where the South Americans play? Six? Seven? Listen, follow the signs for Saint Opportune and that will bring you to the surface pretty fast, after a fair climb. Hope the escalator is working.

photo, sign, nickle doorknob

It's something like the Place de Navarre with a glass fan over the exit. This is just south of Les Halles. Last Saturday I thought there was a lot of people underground and a big crowd struggled up to this exit. But it was nothing compared to the streets on the surface.

Events are often in Paris and free shows can draw huge crowds. But Saturday at Les Halles is not an event that I know of. Nevertheless there were people everywhere, coming and going in every direction. The Fountaine des Innocents, a place with a circular pool with a square monument, seemed to be the epicentre. Armies seemed to be arriving from all directions.

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