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11 years in EU

Belleville Paris

France, New Year's Eve 2003

Street market, Belleville, Paris, France

We were looking for a tobacco shop, where we could buy a card for the parking meter. In Paris, that's the only way to pay for street parking (or was [according to what somebody told us.]) So we were driving around.

Kim saw a parking garage across a median. We turned back. It would cost €95. We drove on, and came to a tobacco shop we'd passed and not seen. Kim got out. I went and circled back to find a spot to park.

That's where we left the car.

After I parked, I went into the shop; it was just across the 2 streets and median. Kim had purchased the card (€5, good for 5 hours at the parking box we'd seen.)

Then I wondered, and wanted to find out how late we had to pay for parking, so we went back into the shop. There was a guy there stocking some shelves, and Kim asked him in French if he speaks English. (It helps to know "parlez-vous Anglais?," as a matter of diplomacy) We spoke with him in English.

He said that you always have to pay for parking.

The woman at the cash-register said something to him, and explained a bit. "Oh, yeah," he said. In Belleville, you don't have to pay. "Yeah, it's kind of a... special district..." He kind of made a cute smiling face and a shrugging gesture.... It was ambiguous....

"As long as your car is well-parked."...