Driving at Dusk

Driving around Paris. Initially, a very scary experience because if you’ve driven in England you’re not prepared. Traffic lights are not opposite the junction, but right next to it. Road signs point out places that are close by : rarely road names or places further away that you actually want to get to. Inside Paris itself, it’s tough to find places if you’re not used to it. Lots of motorbikes and scooters around, lots of one-way systems.

Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite nice. A wonderful city. I took a trip through the 19th and the 10th arrondissements (districts) around the Gare du Nord. Stopped to have a cup of tea with friends, came back past the Canal St Martin and the Canal St Denis. At some points along the canals there’s no barrier. You could close your eyes and veer to the right straight into the water. Close to the Porte de la Villette, I took a little dogleg route along the Canal St Denis to avoid a one way system before joining the periphérique. At a traffic light, a couple laughing jumped on a Vespa and drove in front of me. The light went green, they swayed a bit – they were still giggling – and then headed off with that familiar exhaust sound. A picture of happiness on a Vespa, I thought of my wife and smiled. I was on my way home.