From the age of 11, I was forced to learn French in school. Our teacher was a gruff rugby-loving Welshman, built like a bulldozer, who bellowed Gallic phrases at us for 45 minutes every week. All of us were convinced his pronunciation was closer to Carmarthen than Calais. Unsurprisingly, that experience never left me keen to hop over The Channel and see how the Kermits live.
However, in early 2007 I happened to be based down in Kent close to one of the Eurostar stations and spotted a special offer: First Class to Paris for the price of Economy. Obviously, I couldn’t resist a deal like that! Sadly, it was only for a day trip but I knew if I left early enough it would give me the chance to see a handful of the most famous sites. I managed to squeeze into eight hours a visit to the Louvre, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and a walk down the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe.
Interesting experience window shopping in the posh boutiques. The staff there must be psychic. Because they clearly knew I’m penniless and basically blanked me and instead lavished their attentions on the obviously wealthy clientele instead. I’m not upset though. For a few hours, I got to feel just like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. How many people get to say that!?