I did it!
I drove the five hours from Geneva to Paris (and back) myself...I had passengers but I did all the driving. All over the weekend. We arrived in Paris around 11 and I did the prospect of which terrified me the most...merging into the traffic around the Arc de Triomphe. Can you say nerve-wracking??
Still I managed not to run over the million insane pedestrians (those damn tourists) or bang up the car and drove us down the Champs Elysees to our apartment and even managed to find parking. Yay! Safe and sound.
Then it was the usual Paris sights and trying to stay up late and wake up early to cram as much as possible for the poor in-laws who had me inflicted on them as a tour guide. Walking up and down long stairs, running from the RER to the metro and the different lines....and the ancient Paris tradition of wandering around utterly lost.
And...yes...hold your breath...interacting with *nice* Parisians. There were the two girls who looked at the map for me when I was a tiny (ok...a lot) lost and disorented the first evening trying to find my way from the garage to the apartment. Okay, so they totally got me lost...I was 5 minutes away from the apartment and they sent me off on a 30 minute wild goose chase.
Then the totally cool British couple (well, they live there so they qualify as Parisians) who walked with us to show us the closest metro stop to the Eiffel Tower. His company had posted him in Paris. He went mountain climbing in Switzerland. He was doing a master's course in French while she was learning it. And they were pros with the Paris transit system.
Can I mention the slightly creepy but kind of cool guy who hit on me as I waited on a bench, reading a book, drinking coffee while the others went up to the top (I'm kind of over the climb now)?
And the nice cop. Yep! The last night we were there (the second night) France won a major rugby tournament against New Zealand. It was wild. Traffic was stopped as people danced in the streets. Two tres chic girls in very short skirts and very high heels ran up and down the Champs Elysees waving a French flag. And all around us horns were blaring. Long and short beeps...loud, loud, loud.
As we walked around the Arc a cop came and said that we had to leave and wait in the tunnel a few minutes before making our way back. We went down and as we were walking to the exit this other cop started talking to us. He was totally in the mood to chat, asking where we were from, wondering what was going on on the surface. He actually seemed upset that we walked away and upstairs.
The street celebration was a riot (almost literally I think)....the crowds were huge and it was hard not to get infected with their sheer joy. I wish I was that enthused about something. Oh well!
For the first time I kind of liked being in Paris. Tres magnifque Paris. Au revoir.