...Continued from page 1

photo, 2cv in saint germain Oldie in Saint–Germain.

Most of them are less fancy that the Grande Arche. Now there is an otto! It is like a big cube of a building with no inside. Two walls and a roof. You can go to the top if your fear of elevators isn't great. They are sort of in the middle of nowhere – not attached to the building's walls – and you go up to the roof and into it, somehow. I don't remember the details, but on a clear day you can see easily the Arc de Triomphe.

On Saturday the sky was active with various sorts of clouds, all mostly thick and threatening. La Défense is mostly cement, about the same color as the clouds. Except for some of the more extravagant buildings, there's not a lot of glitter out there. I always think of the Lafarge Cement shares I used have. They were good shares.

In Paris there are dull bits here and there but at the human level – within two metres of the ground, or under it – there are a lot of colorful items – poster displays, other signs and colorful awnings – but out at La Défense there are huge concrete spaces, like maybe the deserts in Utah. Grey cement. Lots of it.

From the imposing steps of the Grande Arche there is a big view. The only thing remotely interesting in it are the few folks scattered about, and usually they are pretty small because they are far away. I am not sure how long you can look at this big view and be fascinated by it. There are folks always sitting on this steps but I never bothered asking. "Enjoying the view?"

On top of the steps there's a plateau, that would be wind–swept except for some glass paravents. You can look over the opposite side, towards Maisons Laffitte. You can't see that far and know what you are seeing but there's a cemetery right up close. It's the nicest thing around. Its trees are very neat, and at this time of year, very green. It's not cement.

I came down the stairs, looking for camera angles. Maybe better if the sun was shining? I went over to the swoopy trifecta CNIT building, past a big temporary tent set up to flog modern art, behind another sort of barracks meant to be some sort of pop concert hall. These are commonplace at La Défense, but who would go out there to look at modern art for sale when Paris is full of it? So I didn't look.

Just outside the CNIT there was a sign saying it was open while it was being renovated. I seemed to remember this from my last visit, three or four years ago. Sure enough, inside was two–thirds draped–off. A tabac was open and the Fnac. If either closed they could pulverize the place and truck it away.

photo, two monitors, friday night roller rando At Friday night's roller rando.

Outside – how good it was! – I looked around for – anything! Anything that would boost the place, a show of flair, a dash of color, a touch of – class? There are a few statues strewn about. No two are closer than half a kilometre to each other. To see one up close you might be halfway to Puteaux. The signs, and there are a lot of them, point to tall buildings, and are hard to read. Even the garbage cans – very few – are forgettable. It's easier to put your junk in your pocket.

There's a huge hall above the métro and the RER. In the interests of making folks feel controlled it is very constrained, and the galleries along the sides were close to reminding me of the narrow and dim areas of New York's subway. The air and the headroom in the main hall were only for show.

I went into Virgin Music and browsed, almost alone. Who wanted to be in it when a simple métro ticket could put you in their flagship store on the Champs–Elysées in 15 minutes? That place would be like a mob in a zoo on Saturday afternoon. La Défense was like a gray concrete tomb.

Going back to civilization on the métro it picked up passengers at every stop until there was a big number standing at Etoile, and then it was standing room only until Bastille. I switched long before that and picked up a load of shoppers going home from Saint–Lazare. I finally got a seat four stops short of Gaîté . I wondered what I could write about La Défense. Now I know.

photo, sign, rue maison dieu

The Café Metropole Club

A dozen club meetings with one member is okay with me, but don't let it happen again. All other members and candidates are still welcome, I promise. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 98% new, will be on 17. April, in the last month of late winter. All members–in–any form, any standing, of any sort will be welcome, welcome, anyways and always.

Unending repetition here is slated to end but continues. Several erroneous facts and other total rumors about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have actually read it, and two or three might have, may become club members even against their wishes.

photo, sign, vespa parking only

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

A few folks have might have been thinking that it is only fair and right to recall that it was today in 69 that Vitellius beat up Otho at Bedriacum and grabbed the throne, which he held on to until December, when he was beheaded in Rome. Some years later, in 1860, the Pony Express got underway, carrying mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento. The first westbound trip took 10 days, 7 hours and 45 minutes, which was quicker than the 6 months it took going around Cape Horn. Today can also be remembered for the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912. This might have been caused by a smallish rudder, but a new excuse turns up every week. There were 706 survivors and 1503 perished. Or were they 1534? That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

Go to page : 1 - 2
In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini