Four or five semi-concentric lanes of traffic circle the Arc de Triomphe. Messy circles. With vehicles moving in and out of these undefined lanes with alacrity.

It’s a roundabout on steroids.​

​The first time we drove through it, I was utterly terrified. I was ready to take back every nice thing I ever said about French drivers.

Walking around it, I looked at the maze of vehicles and thought it looked like an impossible knot. Yet, cars weave in and out, threading their way through, with motorcycles zooming past into ridiculously tight space, and buses zooming right along with them.

It’s a crazy place.

Last night my brother asked our driver what the record was for number of times around the Arc de Triomphe without an accident. The driver didn’t answer. My brother-in-law began making up rules for such a contest.

“You’d have to change lanes each time around,” he said.

When they were talking later about the Tour de France ending at the Arc de Triomphe, I thought they were kidding. Shows how much I know.

But I guess it wouldn’t be such a bad place if you removed all the cars.

Paris, your drivers are amazing to navigate such a place! 

But give me Normandy — with its cows and fields and lush greenery and slow pace of life — and I will quite content.

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