...Continued from page 1

photo, pillers palais royal, light and shade Egyptiana at the Palais Royal.

The nearby place Vendôme was designed in 1698 by Jules Hardouin–Mansart. It was built ritzy and stayed ritzy. That's why the Hotel Ritz is still there. This ritziness was intended for the entire Rivoli project but was imagined some time before tourism was invented. The fancy hotels are still on Rivoli – such as the Meurice, the one–time HQ of German occupation commander, Dietrich von Choltitz, captured in the hotel on 25. August 1944.

Paris sits on the globe in a northern latitude so when the sun is shining on Rivoli the arcades are not much help, unless they are fitted with vertical awnings in the arches. The park across the street creates no shadows but towards Palais Royal the Louve certainly does. When the sun is in full blaze the space under the arcades is warm and yellow, and you might think you are in Rome, except for the souvenirs.

photo, dining under the arches, rivoli Café with headroom on Rivoli.

Seen that way it is a ritzy souvenir bazaar. There are chic boutiques too, two famous book shops, the fancy hotels. Look down at the sidewalk paving – if it is tiled and contains inlaid names like Sulka then you are in the chic part. If it is undistinguished black you are in the bazaar part, and one where postcards probably cost more than in the tabac du coin somewhere else in the 9th arrondissement.

There isn't anything you can get on Rivoli that you can't find elsewhere, except maybe hot chocolate from Angélina. Both bookshops – W H Smith and Galignani – have books in English, and high Rivoli rents – in Galignani's case since 1856.

I was almost thinking of the frying pan of Andalusia on Rivoli on Saturday. Light was splashing all around and a step outside the arches showed a wide–angle horizon of azurean blue. The Louvre in the east was cooking under it, but down there, the shadows were blue and dense. The golden statue of Jeanne d'Arc at Pyramides looked like a glittery bonbon. There are three other Jeanne statues in Paris.

photo, triangle pool, cour napoleon, louvre Cool trangle pool at the Louvre.

After a fast tour under the arches, avoiding the lurking deepfingers, I crossed to the Louvre and glanced at the Café Marly, with it's arched porch. Then I went over to the Palais Royal and did not get a thrill from the stunted black and white columns in the Cour d'Honneur but back towards the interior garden I found some more columns in the shade and light, a bit like ancient evenings in Egypt.

Satisfied, I quit worrying about frying pans and was looking forward to the evening history show on Arte. I hoped they would have something Egyptian or Persian, all orange rock and fat columns holding up a 4000 year–old ceiling. Just my luck they featured more than I wanted to know about the life and times of Neanderthals in Europe. It was very cold in the old days, in those Pleistocene times before tourists and postcards, when folks wore animal skins in the endless winter and never washed or brushed their teeth.

photo, sign, rue du moulin vert

The Honky–Tonk Café Metropole Club

There was a less largish crowd of members present at the last meeting and every single one had a unique name. Your stories are what counts so don't worry about my skimpy notes. Regular members and new candidates can try again some other sweet Thursday. The next Thursday that everything at the Café Metropole Club will be 100.5% new, will be on 4. September, a short mini–week into the begin of the wretched rentrée. All members in any form, class, shape, hue, any standing, of any type or creed, will be greeted politely. Even if you feel like sitting at a table on the terrace, pretending to not be at the meeting, you are more than welcome to sit out there.

A faint rumor that repetition here will end someday is inaudible. Four wonderful facts and three subtractions about the club are on a page called the About the Club Webpage. Readers who have personally read it, and one or two may have, may already be club members for life without personal risk or very exorbitant fees. Refunds cannot be accorded due to technical mishaps.

photo, sign, liqueur de la marque, bistro 1900

The Ex–Question of Schleswig–Holstein

Some of you have might have been thinking that it is especially apt to remember that it was today in 1237 that Robert de Sorbon opened a school in Paris that became the Sorbonne, originally established to teach poor students. Not that there's any connection but after 72 years of being the Sun King Louis XIV passed away today in 1715. Not long afterwards, in 1804, clear eyed German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding discovered Juno, an asteroid. That set the stage for the 1902 release of the movie, A Trip to the Moon or Le Voyage dans la lune, by Georges Méliès and Gaston, his brother. The 14 minute film was a big hit – after all it was the world's first sci–fi – some say pataphysical – flicker. For the US release the film was expropriated by Edison and Méliès didn't get a nickel for it. This week I'm skipping over the St. Petersburg name change in 1914 and proceeding directly to 1928 when Ahmet Zogu declared Albania to be a monarchy and himself as king of it, namely Zog I, Skanderbeg III of the Albanians. His real name was Ahmet Zogolli and he worked up to the big time through the offices of prime minister and president. Zog means bird in Albanian. A survivor of an estimated 55 assassination attempts, Zog was obviously a great zagger too. That's our little world, folks!

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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