Tonight I was waiting for a taxi with some other people when a tall, well-dressed man about sixty came up. We waited for about five minutes, and then he said, "Would anyone like to share a cab?" We wouldn't have minded, but no one was going in his direction. After exchanging a few sentences, I realized from his slight accent and button-down collar that in spite of his very European look and excellent French, he was American. The next taxi didn't come for a long time, so we griped about the mayor together. We agreed that Paris was the worst major city we knew of for finding a cab-- there are never any taxis when you need them, like in the rain, on weekends, after ten o'clock at night, and especially after the metro closes. There are fewer Paris taxis now than in 1920. Merci, Monsieur Delanoë!
The man said he had lived for thirty years in Paris, although he doesn't any more. By accident, we came to the same subject that I wrote about a couple of days ago, the requirement to say hello in France before any other communication. He was funny and had the truculent attitude some long-time expats develop. He said that when he gets in a taxi, he just gives the address where he's going: "16 rue Chaillot," for example.
"But some drivers will then turn around and say in exaggerated fashion, 'BonJOUR!' --I call them 'les Bonjouristes.' After waiting for twenty minutes for a taxi, I'm in no mood for that. I say, 'Vous allez me donner des leçons de politesse?' [Are you going to give me lessons in politeness?]. It usually degenerates from there."
If I had to guess, I would say he had a French wife he's now divorced from. Cela explique tout!
A taxi finally came and we said goodbye. This photo was taken about 8:30 tonight, just at sunset, looking towards Invalides from the taxi window. Isn't this a beautiful city? The driver was a West African whose phone played Haydn when it rang.
We had to wait at the bar at the restaurant for a short time. Instead of taking our names to call them out later in public (I always hate that), this resto had found a more elegant solution. Each party was handed a card with the name of a musician on it. Ours was Liszt, which the girl pronounced "Litts," but I also heard Gershwin, Bach, and Mozart. We had a drink at the bar and then heard "Litts! Votre table est prête."