Postcard from... Paris


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The Independent Online

Parking on the street in Paris has always been tricky. It is becoming an expensive nightmare.

With a resident’s permit, you used to be able to park your car for a week for just over €3 (£2.15). The charge has just been trebled to €9.

Not too bad? Yes, but first you have to find your parking place. I spent 40 minutes touring my quartier looking for a space after driving back from Lille the other day – a new personal record.

Successive Paris mayors have eroded the number of on-street parking places by turning them into stations for Velibs (the mother of the Boris Bike) and the new self-hire electric cars. There is also a Putin-style furtive colonisation of the streets by yellow-painted “delivery” places.

Ordinary motorists are allowed to use them between 8pm and 8am – but only the ones with yellow dotted lines. The ones with unbroken lines must stand empty all night. After driving my daughter to Orly airport the other day at 5am, I returned to find a big, fat, empty, legal parking space close to where where I live. Oh joy. Oh delight.

Two days later, I returned to find that some passing speedster had ripped off the front bumper of my car. A note had been left on the windscreen with a phone number.

I tried to call. The number did not work. I checked. It was part of a batch of numbers issued in the French West Indies. This one seemed to be a fax number.

In other words, the assailant of my bumper took the trouble to stop his car to leave a false number. Oh rage. Oh despair.