Well, just when we thought our wild travel adventures in Paris where over for this trip we discovered Murphy had other plans. In essence he put us in the middle of one of the largest traffic jams I’ve ever seen on the Place de la Concorde.
It started innocently enough. We took a bus to a designer boutique in Places des Vosges where Sherry had seen a purse she liked. Then it was to another bus, which runs straight down Rue de Rivoli to Concorde. Our goal this time was to stop at Angelina’s to pick up a Christmas present. Both of these trips went off without the slightest hint of what was to come.
After Angelina’s the plan was to have lunch at Restaurant Voltaire. This required crossing the Seine which should be easy enough. However, this is where the Louvre and Jardin des Tuileries are located so there are fewer bridges. Our best bet was to finish walking towards Concord and catch the bus from there. Incidentally, this is the same bus we took home on Thursday.
Our first sign of trouble occurred as we walked by the Hotel Le Meurice. There were lots of police and black sedans indicating that some dignitary would be traveling soon by motorcade. This is not a big deal since dignitaries stay there all the time.
Then we arrive at Place de la Concorde. What a frigging mess it was!!! There were cars trying to go every direction and police every where desperately trying to direct traffic. Soon, the reason for all this chaos became crystal clear as motorcade after motorcade after motorcade made their way around the traffic circle heading towards the Presidential Palace.
When we get to the bus stop you can see they are not letting buses in to that area. So, we walk to another stop that is also blocked. Finally, we walk across the Seine because traffic was going nowhere while police motorcycles with full sirens blaring seemed to be everywhere.
Across the river we managed to flag down a taxi. When we told where we wanted to go he just kind of laughed and told us good luck with that! The traffic in Concorde was impacting traffic in all directions for miles so he felt confident that no driver would try and take us through that mess.
So, we caught another bus for home, moving away from Concorde, and ate at another bistro we know that has great food. Once seated, I realized that it had taken us nearly 2-hours to get from Angelina’s to our table by the window at Bistro Relais Odeon.
Once we were back at the apartment I did some surfing on the web and discovered the cause of it all. The headline reads - French President François Hollande on Friday hosts nearly 40 African leaders at a Paris summit on peace and security. Yep, that’ll do it.
It was not the way we planned the day to go but in the end we had a great meal in Paris so I’m not complaining. It’s just another example of being willing to roll with the punches in the City of Light.