We had a four day break in France last weekend, travelling from London at 186 miles per hour on the Eurostar. No sooner had we landed, when my wife took me on a 24-hour open-top-bus -tour around Paris. Fortunately she wasn’t driving. When it was over I stumbled off the bus and headed for a coffee shop. I was given an eggcup full of coffee, that tasted like a wrestlers armpit, at the price of 4.5 euros a shot. As the days passed I realized this was a bargain and that like Concorde, coffee was an unaffordable luxury in France.
We stayed in a very nice hotel, one minute’s walk from the Seine and the Notre Dame. We were by choice in the Latin Quarters. That is close to one of the seedy parts of Paris where delightful French women make men of my age feel welcome, or whatever they want to feel - at a price. My wife was there to make sure my money was spent on her - as every good wife should.
Drinks were so expensive one would have to be an alcoholic to buy them. So all was well. We settled upon a reasonably priced Havana themed bar. Once again the male owner seemed unable to walk past my bar stool without hugging me. What am I doing wrong I asked my wife ? She shrugged and told me to make the most of it. The hugs were the only free thing in town, so I relaxed and thought of England.
We managed to knock out the Louvre in 2.5 hours. The greatest work of art was a Starbucks coffee shop with real coffee in very large cups at only 4.6 euros. I was so relieved I couldn’t stop smiling. The young woman serving me must have taken this as a personal compliment, as she only charged me 3 euros. I took my own biscuits to stuff the French. It is what Wellington would have wanted.
The French moved very slowly, except on one occasion when a car backfired. Then they all start running for cover. Old habits die hard, I guess.
My wife was entertained, late at night by fit young men, stripped to the waist, jumping over a 10 high foot bar on skate boards in front of the Notre Dame. Their appeal was lost on me but if I lived there, with drinks at that price, I would be tempted to join them and end it all.
My gods had travelled with me and saw to it that there was no time to go shopping, a torture I have never born well.
A walk in the park. A nice Sunday Lunch washed down with van rouge and van blanc and we were thrust back through the tunnel into reality and my out of wallet experience was at an end.
Now my wife keeps hugging me. I don’t know if she has been impressed by the passionate French or the power of my wallet. In any case I feel loved. She has other tests planned for me this year. I will keep you posted.