Liz Dobson - Nightmare in Paris
Drive through Paris in a sports car with the warm wind in your hair, was the Facebook message from a friend when I posted I was in the French capital for work.
The message, of course, was the least depressing line from the Marianne Faithfull classic, The Ballad of Lucy Jordan.
Unfortunately the closest I got was stuck in gridlocked Paris traffic in a sports car with cool air con through my hair.
If you think Auckland traffic is bad, try being stuck in Paris during one of the many strikes.
Roads are jammed due to protests, blocks are cordoned off by riot police wearing sci-fi inspired gear.
It took me 1½ hours to drive just 5km in that sports car, and that was despite driving like a local: never let anyone cut in ahead of you; tailgate so close that you touch bumpers; ignore kamikaze scooter riders; and treat red lights as decorations.
Despite making some swift manouevres away from the doctors’ strike right next to Notre Dame, every local was doing the same so my sports car’s satnav screen was continually filled with traffic alert yellow triangles.
Just as I made it through the crazy traffic and on to what I thought was flowing traffic, ahead of me I spotted a foreign driver’s nightmare in Paris — the Arc de Triomphe, aka one of the world’s craziest roundabouts.
You can read about that experience in my blog on driven.co.nz
Let’s just say that if Lucy Jordan had actually driven in a sports car in Paris around the Arc de Triomphe at the age of 37, Faithfull’s song would have been less depressing.