The café Rendez–Vous on a warm night in May.
by Ric Erickson
Paris:– Monday, 24. May 2004:– Last Friday the wind began to blow a bit from the north which brought some clouds and temperatures much lower than we've almost gotten used to. I didn't go quite so far as to put my winter sweater back on, but I thought about it more than once.
Today has been rather sunny but it was still breezy. The temperature has tried to climb above 20 degrees, but I'm pretty sure it has fallen a bit short even if it has been a couple of degrees more than it was over the weekend.
More of the same is expected for the rest of the week, but with temperatures predicted to climb above 20 degrees, to 22. According to the TV–weather news guy tonight what we have is an anticyclone and it is going to hover above our heads for a few days.
This should result in pretty blue skies, maybe until Friday. The heavens won't be true blue because there will be some high, thin clouds around to take the edge off. 'Nearly sunny' for Paris is better than half–bad, and continues the new weather policy here of being like what non–residents think it is like all the time, but seldom is.
I didn't bother trying to do any touring in the city last week. Instead I walked around a bit being confused, but keeping an eye peeled for posters likely enough to be featured on the poster pages. After the barrage of movie posters on view to coincide with the Cannes Film Festival, last week's crop was a bit feeble.The bomb site on Sunday.
Sometimes new posters show up late in the week, but I didn't find much yesterday. A water splotch on a sidewalk beside a local park caught my attention – my exciting life! – and I was puzzling about it as I walked by. Then splat! right behind me. I turned around quickly enough to see another colored balloon full of water arcing out of the park, to plop on the sidewalk.
I could hear giggles. I pulled out the camera and waited until some small heads appeared. They saw the camera and bolted. This was my week's only surprise so I stayed. Sure enough the four or five boys returned. After some hesitation they agreed to toss a balloon full of water at my signal.
I stood in the street with the camera ready. But the balloon, a small one, came too fast to capture in mid–air. Splat! This is it, this is my exciting Paris story of the week. The only thing I found better than movies on TV. Over on the Avenue du Maine, it was lined up with the wind blowing from the north, drifting the fallen but green fried leaves into piles.Wanderlust
I went to the café to have one of the cafés I'm addicted to this afternoon. Not much was happening. Mondays in some parts of Paris can be quieter than Sundays, but cafés are open, for something to lean on. There has been a city works sign on the Rue Roger, saying that taxpayer's money is going to be spent on making the sidewalks snazzy.
I thought the sign was lost. The Rue Roger is one block long and has two ordinary sidewalks, made out of the usual stone and asphalt. What could be wrong with them I wondered?One of Paris' older castles.
Last week a crew moved in, put up the gray and green barricades at the end where Rue Roger runs into Daguerre, and began demolishing the stone curbs and ripping up the stone cobbles of the road surface. Elsewhere in the quartier, city crews have been replacing the stone blocks in curbs where there are drains. I guess stone wears out after a century.
These drains are usually only at corners, so we have been tripping over a number of mini construction sites for several weeks now. But the Rue Roger is the only street around that is getting a full treatment. The barricades at the Daguerre end funnel pedestrians past the café. In fact, it looks like it is barricaded, and you have to go through a sharp–edged maze to enter.
It is the Rue Daguerre that needs new sidewalks. They are terrible with their no–parking poles and parked bikes and scooters. A lot of people find it easier to walk in the road. There isn't much traffic as a rule, and it only comes one way, as a rule.
Add the construction maze to the street and sidewalk in front of the café. This afternoon a lady carrying two shopping bags from the Monoprix was avoiding the maze by walking in the street. The driver of a car coming down stopped where the road narrows. He leaned out his window and said, "I'd drive on the sidewalk but there isn't enough room."Paris' only river, the Seine, and some bridges.
Isn't that drivers for you? Guy's got tunnel–vision, he can't see that it isn't possible to walk on the sidewalk. The lady acted like she didn't notice, or hear, anything and walked past the car without comment.
I leaned on the bar for a bit longer, but there were no dogs around likely to bark let alone fight. I think the horse racing must take a break on Mondays because none of the players were in the café. All the windows in the café were open and it was still.
Europe's biggest photo fair – the Foire de Photo à Bièvres – is a god bet for finding both used and antique equipment and for photo prints. This year it is on Sunday, 6. June and it is suggested that you take an umbrella just in case, and the same thing goes for cash, cards or cheques.
If you want to know which photo equipment has been chosen as best by photo magazines, check out the Tipa Web site. The selection for this year's candidates has closed, andthe results will be published in September. Meanwhile, last year's Tipa picks are still online.
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