Thanks for the Orange Juice

photo, christmas window, galeries lafayette It's kiddie time at Galeries Lafayette again.

What Comes Next

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 24. November:–  It was snowing here yesterday. They were small, timid little snowflakes swirling around the Sunday shoppers out in the damp air to get their foodstuffs, for that happy feeling one gets from good hot food on a Sunday afternoon when it's all blue outside and a long, long time until the next summer holidays. I took a table on the terrace at Perêt and ordered a double–express, and watched the errant snowflakes whisper in from the sky, my left side warmed by the heaters and my right adjacent to the cool Siberia of Daguerre.

Better than a sock in the eye or a walk in the park, to be dressed warmly and awake on Sunday to tour the marché to pick up some seafood to go with the roast or something from one of the butchers, to be warm standing in lines outside boulangeries where the bakers have been at it since before dawn. Fresh bread on a Sunday is a right in France not a luxury.

Steam on the terrace. Wisps of vapor bravely rising from café cups and jars of warm grog. The waiters, white shirt–sleeved with black vests, busily warm taking orders and dealing out trays of hot drinks and light snacks. Arriving customers disappointed that the terrace is full, but it's so warm and cozy inside where there is red pork and sauerkraut, and even kids are digging into it.

photo, christmas decor, ights, printemps Decked with balls at Printemps.

Just outside when I was about to corner my table, one of the homeless campers by Monoprix told me about his girlfriend in a coma and when the social aides came by they refused to haul her off. Or was he talking about the SDF who died overnight out at Vincennes? The evening news said the death wasn't caused by the cold and showed video from last year of the man alive in his bidonville shack made of refrigerator boxes and old bits of tin plate. He was one of the good guys they said.

The weather resembles classic November. We don't have this every year and when we haven't I have always been content. Classic means that it rains when you least expect and it's a cold rain. When it isn't raining it still feels like it. If there's a wind it feels like underwater, below the ice skaters. For what it's worth, details of the coming weather:

Gris Gris Weather

According to tonight's TV–weather news the habitual depression that hangs over northern Europe has settled in for the duration. On Tuesday you can be thrilled by a 70 kph breeze from the north blowing around here, stirring around the air valued at 1 degree. For some reason we are supposed to believe that the high will reach 8 but the sky will not be clear so it hardly matters.

photo, seine quay, bridges, notre dame Fall flows into winter.

Wednesday has some promise even if the temperature does not exceed 6 degrees. It might even be semi–sunny part of the time. Thursday may be pretty much the same except that there will be no semi. It is forecast to be cloudy, perhaps rainy. On the TV–weather news they said the other day that when the air is cold and damp it can snow, when there's high pressure, and there isn't. Today's Le Parisien suggests that Friday will not be disagreeable. Say what? Every night they talk about the promising shades of comfortable weather on the Côte d'Azur, deftly ignoring the deep freeze in the middle of the country except when the snow drowns the power and the rivers leap their banks.

Our man Météo Jim, bless his sturdy heart, offered to send the weather for New York but I wasn't certain to do the same for Paris. Therefore Météo Jim is taking a bit of time off from his onerous duties, even though profi weathermen never sleep, especially not while on the job.

photo, sign, boule de pain, bread ball

Café Life

Thanks for the Orange Juice

Old habits die hard so I was over on Haussmann to see if the grands magazins were keeping to the tradition of having decorated windows to inspire seasonal shoppers and their little folks. Printemps had the underside of its awning decked with balls of silver and yellow but all the windows were under construction. I wasn't disappointed because this was a couple of weeks ago and the celebration we didn't have for Halloween was just past.

photo, sculpture chez grace Sculpture on the walls, on the floor, at Grace's.

Further along Galeries Lafayette had very elaborate tableaux featuring hand made puppets in all of its major windows. There weren't thousands of citizens – it wasn't a Saturday – pressing against the raised stages for the little folks to be against the glass. They looked at the automated puppets and 'o'd their mouths when they turned to make sure mom was catching the action. It was a lot better than years ago when they let the toy merchants fill the windows with plastic prefabrications.

Interruption for plug – Living as I have been in a hotel for the past three weeks, I draw your attention to the Hotel Agenor in the rue Cels in Montparnasse. They have treated me fine and I would stay there the rest of my life if I didn't have some other things to do.


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