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Week 100: Paris

I sold my car. It feels good to own zero automobiles.

We went to Paris for three nights to celebrate both our birthdays. We stayed in a hotel near Bastille, and wandered around for four days without much of a plan, visited a few museums and galleries, ate a lot of good food, and had a very relaxing time.

A giant purple tentacle hangs in the centre of a stairwell. The stairs curve round and round below. The stairs and walls are covered in painted designs and stickers.

The staircase at 59 Rivoli

If you want to feel less bad about your own unfinished projects, I recommend visiting the Musée national Gustave Moreau in Paris, where you can see dozens of his half-finished paintings.

It’s been so long since I spoke French that I felt really unconfident about doing so, but it was actually fine, and I can still understand and make myself understood well enough in most scenarios.

Eurostar at St Pancras is a disaster post-Brexit. It’s horribly crowded, and the multiple layers of passport control are poorly signposted, confusing, and slow. I got through passport control with my EU passport more quickly, but L—, on a UK passport, had to queue for about three quarters of an hour and an extra rubber-stamping stage. If the train hadn’t been late it would have been very tight. I imagine things will improve whenever ETIAS is finally introduced and bedded in, as there won’t be a need for segregation by passport type or for physically stamping non-EU passports.

It’s better at the French end.

I found a phone in the street as we were walking back from the station last night. I did a double-take when I realised there was a glowing screen in the middle of the carriageway.

I picked it up and could see Instagram notifications on the screen. Because there were multiple accounts, each notification was helpfully prefixed with the name of the account. I looked them up: one was an account for a couple of hamsters; the other was an actual person.

We had a contact in common, who also lives locally. I sent her a message, asking if she knew the owner of the phone. She did: she lived in the building next door to her! I walked over there and the phone was reunited with its owner in less than half an hour.

The phone had been stolen from her hand while making a call, but the thieves had apparently then just thrown it away in the street. I don’t understand why. But the phone wasn’t damaged, and it all worked out well in the end.

This is an interesting list of 52 facts. The “hog hotel” sounds horrific.

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