Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Arc de Triomphe

 The Arc de Triomphe is fantastic entertainment value. We can spend at least an hour standing on the side of the road watching the traffic negotiate the Etoile. Traffic from 12 major avenues feed into the roundabout, which is 10 lanes wide. The Magic Roundabout in Swindon eat your heart out!

Tourists gather at the edge of the Etoile ('Star') as the junction is known.

Contrary to normal roundabout rules, at the Arc de Triomphe traffic entering the system has priority, which means that traffic on the roundabout must give way to cars moving in from their right. French car insurance policies come in two types -- those that specifically exclude the Arc de Triomphe roundabout and those that include it. The latter are all on the basis of no blame equal share payouts.

Dignitaries being whisked to lunch in big luxury Citroens with a Republican Guard motorcycle escort through the roundabout. We encountered them a bit later at a fancy hotel restaurant, but we chose to have lunch around the corner in rue Miromesnil.

In addition to exclaiming at the courage of cyclists serenely pedalling through the chaos, gasping at the foolhardiness of ducking and diving scooter riders and being thankful that it isn't you out there, you can watch the gypsy woman working the gold ring scam or the young Australian musicians in crazy costumes making a video for their latest single.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Aahh! Memories...
we missed going round the Arc when the 2CVs convoyed through Paris on the 50th birthday of the 2CV...
we followed the car,
that followed the car in front,
that followed the car in front,
that followed the car in front,
that followed the car in front,
that followed the car in front,
that followed the Dutch car that that had got lost and was following a contour!
Those that didn't went round the Arc on open roads... the police had stopped all but the convoy route.

They gathered on the Champs Elysees, which is where we found them, and 3500 2CVs and other A-Series Citroëns... along with a handful of HY Vans and a goodly number of Célestine's relatives... caused absolute chaos in the middle of Paris on a Friday rush hour. Just to aid the chaos, we stopped for about 15 mins at all the main tourist spots... the only place where other traffic was allowed to flow through a restricted artery was the Place de la Concorde.

And the gendarmes, being vigorously "Honked" by other impeded motorists because they were just doing there job.... just shrugged and waved us on!

It is the only time I've driven in the heart of Paris... and as far as I am concerned, having accidentally got as far in as the Terriferique... will be the last!!