Protip – as much as ‘winging it’ with regards to hotels on road trips sounds awesome and somewhat cavalier, it’s actually pretty retarded! Parlez vous the rest of this post?
It started out well enough with a nice drive to Paris, same considerate (with reckless undertones) and slow driving from everyone as before, until suddenly you hit Paris central and everything goes to shit. Completely to shit. It couldn’t go more to shit if they actually made Paris into a sewage works. Anyway, oui, the ethos here is to get as far forward as you can, screw everyone else, fuck the consequences. People pull out on each other constantly, dive around each other, there’s zero lane discipline (possibly due in part to lack of actual lanes to be disciplined about), and you need your wits about you constantly. Lights go green on a crossroads and within 2 seconds both sides wanting to turn across the others’ offsides have blocked each other in and nobody can move, but the odd bit is, nobody cares or gets irate. They only care if you try and be courteous and hang back to prevent jams; as soon as you do that you get waving arms and horns, and high blood pressure from returning the favour (in a louder manner, naturally, and with vigorous swearing as, hey, they probably can’t understand it). It’s mental, but still a system, and the really strange bit (at first) is that as everyone adheres to it it still works out in the end. It’s the considerate ones like me (me for the first few minutes, at any rate) who actually ruin it, by not being part of the system. D’oh!
OK so that’s quite TL;DR-tastic already so I’ll skim across the rest. Phoning hotels off the satnav based on proximity sounded like a well smart plan, until 30 phonecalls later (and absolute perfection of asking about hotel rooms in French, I might add) you feel like giving up and going home, as surely 30 hotels can’t be full, so they must be discriminating against you for your lovely English accent. So you succumb to doing whatever you possibly can to try to alleviate things, and out of desperation get a maccies, successfully order and eat the thing entirely en Francais, recharge your resolve, and go and book something off the tubes instead as the tubes does the phoning for you. That you end up with a pretty rubbish room is par for the course, but the new plan to combat this is book hotels a day in advance. Result.
Protip – being able to post to a blog from a laptop whilst being stuck in traffic is awesome.
Also France is still full of shit cars. Just shit cars everywhere.
Here’s Day 1’s hotel:
Oh, nearly forgot – it seems Paris has never seen a convertible M3 before in its life, from the amount of attention and stares I’ve been getting, it’s really strange. Twice some random bloke has said ‘Good!’ at me, motioning at the car, few people in other cars giving me thumbs ups, and lots of others staring and looking.
Stupid France and its shit cars, eh?