At my age, I’m embarrassed to say that I had never before been to Paris—the capital city of the nearest country to the British Isles. I’d been under it, around it, and over it, but never in it. My first encounter with this very well known city was La Place de l’Étoile (Star Square).
So, once the bag was stuffed into the nearby hotel with thousands of stairs, it was off to the Square. Well, actually, it wasn’t square. It was more round, or hexagonal, or whatever twelve is (dodecahedral?). In the centre of the Place de l’Étoile is the Arc de Triomphe. But getting there was another matter…
It soon became clear that there was no crossing to the arch. And why would there be?! Anyone mad enough to try (and there were some) would surely be killed by the most insane traffic chaos I had witnessed since visiting Marble Arch in London. What is it about these places? It was like the Wacky Races. I had to cross god-knows-how-many roads to find an underpass.
But, once I got past the traditional jobsworth ticket inspector, who was clearly doing me a big favour by letting me in, I was soon atop the arch, and enjoying a spectacular 360 degree view of Paris. Surely this is the best way to start a trip? I could see many of the places I would visit in the next couple of days.