Just Above Sunset
August 14, 2005 - A World of Warm Airs

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Our Man in Paris is Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis. His weekly columns appear here and often in a slightly different version the next day on his site from Paris, with photographs.

PARIS, Saturday, August 13, 2005:


It's August, time to leave the wars behind, leave the cruel words and thoughts behind, and forget about the people being killed by hate or knives or guns or in their own cars, and leave the nothingness of television off. It's time to go out into the world of warm airs under a soft sky with a slice of moon floating past, following the sun drifting west to morning in the new world.


On most nights in August, Parisians are out solo and in groups, families, bands of friends, in short sleeves and shorts, in jeans and flowered dresses, bare arms and legs, mostly hatless and without umbrellas, gloves, scarves, because it is as mild at sundown as on a beach at Antibes.


The blue of the sky gets deeper, darker, with wisps of stray clouds looking like randomly sprayed paint. The sails along the river and the silhouettes of the palms add exotic black shapes to the skylight, contrasting with clouds of dark green leaves as the lights come on, mostly warm yellow, but depending on what they are shining through or on.


Odd how it seems quieter at night, with passing cruise boats powering downstream faster than the quick current, light laughter coming from the open decks followed by the murmur of exhaust burble. Cars and buses whisper along the quays and glide across the bridges floating in the blue river. Except for the drummers who may be Brazilians being percussive, voices are lost, wrapped inside the calm air. Even several hundred sitting on the boards of the Pont des Arts with their guitars, paintings and picnics, are so soft that they are secret.


Between the Institut and Saint-Germain the old streets are deserted and brown, with nothing on them other than lines of abandoned metal cars. The galleries that aren't closed for August are dark, whole streets are lifeless. The big café at the corner of Bonaparte has its lights dimmed and the people on its terrace are in the dark. The rest of the place is empty and only a few brave soldiers are camping on the terrace on the boulevard. If they don't know why they are there they don't know where to go either.


A waiter leaves the café with a small coffee and takes it to a clochard sitting on the sidewalk at the corner, across the street from the other café. The waiters across the street are dressed in their black costumes with the long, white aprons, and their terrace is nearly empty too. They probably wished they had closed for the month like they used to.


There is one lone, lady guitarist playing for nobody by the church, next to the popcorn kiosque. It has one customer too, stepping up for a crêpe with Nutella, for a snack with strings. The lights make it look like a village party for one, on a night in August when everybody is in some other town somewhere else in the warm world.

The Seine at dusk...
The Seine at dusk...

Pont des Arts - Paris
Pont des Arts

Street Theater, Paris, August 2005
Street Theater

Paris Ice Cream Stand, August 2005
Ice cream?

Paris Popcorn Stand, August 2005
Paris Popcorn

Paris "Fountain of Light"
Paris "Fountain of Light"

Les Deux Magots with motorcycles,,,
Les Deux Magots - not Sartre's now -

Hemingway's Lipp, August 2005
Across the boulevard, Hemingway's Lipp

Sunset - Paris Plage, August 2005
Sunset - Paris Plage

Photos and Text Copyright © 2005 – Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....