I had not been on my previous tours, as it is a bit outside of reasonable walking range (for me), in a direction I wasn’t drawn to.
Being excited, I set my camera to night shot and clicked. Immediately I heard a kerfuffle of shouting and running and looked to my right to see eight or so ‘gentlemen’ coming toward us, full force, fists clenched, faces red, ready to take my camera and throw down.
I did the only thing I could think of – I yelled a defensive statement at them;
Remarkably that was enough (because of our shared French cultural heritage, perhaps?).
I had to repeat myself twice but once they understood my terrible accent, they stopped in their tracks with the one closest mumbling something in English like ‘You are Canadian? Tourist? Ya, ya, ok, ok…’ before they turned to head back to their Moulin post.
The lesson repeats itself (again) – don’t take photos in red light areas!
Driving in and trying to find parking was difficult, as I expected. We passed the Madeleine Church (built to resemble a Greek Temple), FOUR times trying to get off of the huge traffic circle (the centre being a 3,200-year-old Egyptian obelisk) of the Place de la Concorde. We crossed back and forth over historic Pont Alexandre III many, many times.
Though it was late, the traffic was still thick, and more than any other reason we may have had, this was why we were having trouble navigating. It was very difficult for us to work our way around the Parisians, who drive in an entirely different manner than we are used to.
I will call it ‘opportunistic’. There was a lot of lane changing and ‘weaving’ happening. We literally found ourselves trapped, driving in circles, cars speedily zipping around us.
To make our experience even more exceptional, the Parisians were very obviously unimpressed with our German licence plates. We were shocked at the choleric barks we repeatedly received – ‘Something something something in French, Allemagne!!’
Presumably they were telling us off for being perceived as bad German drivers, when really we were just cautious Canadian drivers!
We found an emergency (and surely illegal) place to stop so DD could take an angry pee. I know it is far too early for another urine based confession, but I am allowing chronological order to dictate my re-telling (it is what it is!).
The incident transpired in the middle of Place de la Concorde, while DD hollered out horrendous, nonsensical obscenities. Vehicles zooming all around – right in the heart of the traffic circle on the ‘city of Brest’ statue.
Of course by this time he was maximum stressed from being yelled at and cut off – and from circling around and around (and around).
He would like the record to note that he did not, and does not feel bad about ‘the incident’ in the least – as a matter of fact, by the end of the night, he would also ‘hit’ the Eiffel Tower.
Whenever asked about his time in France, he replies; ‘I had a mad piss all over Paris, that’s it’.
It wasn’t looking (so far) like this trip to Paris was going to work out any better than the previous few, oh Paris!
Additional photos in the slideshow.