The outskirts of Paris, at 2 AM, are probably not the best place and time to get lost. But I did. Mind you, not really lost. I knew where I was, only I didn't find the place where I was going to sleep. A friend of mine allowed me to crash in some other friends' home, and I tried to find it. It was on some back alley, I remembered, with low houses, with a garden. Only when I tried to find it there were more back alleys, more gardens, and more low-rise houses than I had cared to get references for. I didn't have the house number, or the street name, just a vague remembrance of how it looked like. I went back to my friends' house to ask directions, but they were asleep.
I initiated an exhaustive search of back alleys and low-rise condos and garden-studded driveways, to no avail. I was a little bit in despair. And what do you do in Paris, at 3 AM in the morning (did I mention I had to catch a plane at around 6 the next morning?) when you're lost? Ask somebody.
I found a couple descending from a car, and in my weary French, I asked for help. Surprisingly, they didn't call the police (remember, banlieu, where car burning is a competitive sport, disheveled unknown guy asking for help in broken French) but they actually helped. Don't you believe what they say about parisiens. Even less what they say about parisiennes, Paris girls. There must be something great about France when a girl accompanies somebody else so late at night to help him find his place.
Happy story ending rules would dictate she really found the place, but the real thing is that it was impossible with the indications I had. So she left, and I went ahead, trying the alleys one by one, until a particular combination of garden, condo silhouette, and divine providence, all clicked together and I found, or rather recognized, the house. I took a nap rather than slept, and went to my friend house a while later, where he received me with freshly-baked croissants.
These French have something going on. Which coming from a Spaniard, is something.
Etiquetas: A novel in a year, Paris, make a long story short