The first time I visited Paris was in the late summer of 1963. I’d just finished at University, and was at a loose end, so when my friend Brian invited me to join him and his parents on a three week camping holiday in Europe, I jumped at it. I had just inherited £200 from an aunt: what better way to invest it? We took it in turns to drive fairly directly as far as Sorrento, and then meandered back northwards. I can’t honestly remember the details (I vaguely recall visiting the casino in Monte Carlo), but I do know that we had planned in a two day stopover in Paris. We camped in the Bois de Boulogne. The idea was, obviously, to catch the sights, but that didn’t happen. Brian and I spent the entire two days in the Louvre.
My second time was in about 1992, for a business meeting. I flew over in the morning, had a very long lunch at which our French hosts insisted on serving roast lamb with mint sauce (very good at diplomatic manoeuvring, the French), possibly conducted a bit of business for an hour or two in the afternoon, and missed my flight home.
The last time I went to Paris, about twelve years ago, it was the full four day tourist circuit. We walked and Metro’d for hours, ate andouillettes and fruits de mer and I forget what else, oh yes, a marvellous pizza; and, please, don’t believe that canard about the Parisians being unfriendly. Rude, yes, but unfriendly? Not in my extensive experience. I loved it, and them.
Did I say ‘the last time’? No way.