Le Royal

June 14, 2002 - 4:30 pm

The wind is blowing in at me through the open front of the café, but it's a warm day and the wind is not at all chilly. I sat down here because there is a plaza with a nice fountain across the street, and I was hoping that the big gray van blocking the view would be moved soon. No such luck, the van is still there and I can only see the top of the fountain. Actually it seems as though they are loading up the van right now, so maybe I will get my view after all...just before I leave. In the distance I can see the elaborate Palais Royal - Musée de Louvre metro entrance, the one that looks like it's been constructed out of strings of oversized Christmas ornaments welded together.

When I first got here, there was a TV tuned in to the World Cup match between South Korea and Portugal. I couldn't see the screen from where I was sitting, but the sound was loud enough that I was in no danger of missing any of the action. The crowd in the café was very excited about the game, though I wasn't paying attention enough to know who they were rooting for. In the end it seems Portugal was defeated and eliminated from the tournament. After that the TV was turned off and things are much quieter here.

Around the edge of the blue awning hang little flags of different contries of the world. On the sidewalk out of my line of sight someone just sneezed loudly three times. A woman starts to cross the street pushing a stroller containing a child holding two yellow balloons -- and then thinks better of it and goes back the other way. Two giant tour buses are completely blocking my vision at the moment.

My table is square and I'm sitting on a nice yellow-greenish bamboo chair with a greenish-yellow seat cushion. My espresso came with a blue tube of powdered sugar. I can see twenty-two flags from where I'm sitting, and I'm ashamed to admit I only recognize Germany, the U.S. and Brazil. There's one that reminds me of the flag for Sweden, but I can't be sure. Another one looks like it might be the French flag, but part of it is rolled up so only a red and white stripe are showing. There is a space where one of the flags is missing (stolen? torn down in disgust?). Note to self: learn some more country flags. It's good to have goals.

NOTE: The gray van ended up leaving about half an hour before I did, so I did finally get my view (see below).

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Le Royal
1 Place Andre Malraux
75001 Paris
Metro: Palais Royal - Musée de Louvre
Phone: 01.42.60.66.48

Price of an expresso: 2.30 euros
Sugar: tube of powdered sugar

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